Thursday, February 13, 2014


I know, it's Thursday and I should be doing my next installment, but I don't have the energy. Maybe tomorrow.

For today, I want to talk about last night in particular, this week in general, and life in all its glory.

  • I'm still sick. As much as I would love to think I can just bounce back from any illness, this particular bug is kicking my ass. I feel lethargic (which I hate), like I am sunk in deep mud and am struggling to move my arms or legs. My eyes hurt and I am achy.
  • Riding is less fun when N and Cali aren't there. That, combined with the ever-present fear that Ashke is going to develop the sinus infection (or whatever) that Cali has is making me grumpy.
  • I'm so ready for spring. We have done a couple of very short rides out of the arena since the first of the year, but really, it's been since mid-November that we've managed a real trail ride. Ashke has been such a great sport, but we are both at our wits end. I'm really sorry to all of my dressage and jumping friends, but how in the hell do you spend all of your time in an arena. I am almost bald headed, I've pulled so much hair out.
  • My horse is such a sweetie. He didn't understand why I was getting more and more frustrated and angry. He reacted to my emotion and it wasn't fair when I popped him in the mouth for being anxious. I did recognize that I was being an asshole, got off and exited the arena. Once we were outside, I mounted up again. Ashke was wonderful and cautious, and although a little tentative, he went where I asked with a willing manner and no protest. For our first ride outside after dark, on ground covered in either mud, ice, snow or water, around the barn to the other side and back was more than I could have hoped for. Granted, we only walked, but it was a walk outside, on easy contact, over what was really treacherous ground, because I couldn't handle being inside another moment.
  • The temp on Saturday is supposed to be 64 degrees. Please, to the powers that be, please let the wind not be blowing on Saturday or Sunday. Either way, we are riding out even if it is just the two of us. I've done that before and am willing to ride by myself again. I have an idea about a place where we can do trotting and maybe some cantering up a smooth dirt road, provided the ground has a chance between now and then to dry out. I'm hoping J and I can do a trail ride together on Saturday, but we will have to see how she is feeling. 
  • When I feel bad, physically, it is easy for me to start self-hating. (And please don't talk to me about affirmations because they don't work for me.) I start seeing all of the things about myself that I dislike, which blows them completely out of proportion. I struggle to find my equilibrium, my center and my balance. I have a hard time remembering why I am worth being around, that I am a good parent, that my weight or thinning hair don't define me: they are just cosmetic. I think struggling out of that pit of self-hate and despair is hard. Very hard. I always know I am there when I start thinking of getting rid of my horse. (It is so much better than it used to be thanks to therapy and self-control, and I no longer slip into thoughts of suicide when I get like this, so progress is being made.)
Final thoughts: the new Hunter/Jumper trainer is awesome. I watched part of a lesson last night and I think she is going to have a huge impact on the Adult Amateurs at our barn. She actually used cavaletti and a bounce sequence to work on pacing and timing. She incorporated a half-halt and halt before and after the jumps to get the horse to allow himself to be rated (after watching all of the other jumpers rushing around with their heads in the air and mouths wide open in between jumps it was nice to see.) Standing there, not knowing much about jumping, I could see the exact moment when Fawkes went "oh, I see, I have to think about what we are doing and allow you to tell me what I should do." She also talked about seat, leg position, body position over the jump, where the riders shoulders were. . . . gosh, like a real trainer. (N is already planning on the two of us taking a couple of lessons with her. I think some basic jumping would be good for me, for when we are crossing down trees or creeks and Ashke decides to jump rather than walk.)

Ashke coughed badly both times I asked for increased speed last night. Please don't let him be sick. Outdoor air will be great for him!


  1. It's always easier to ride with a buddy when you're unmotivated. I go through that a lot in the winter. I need to ride solo if I want to work at a faster pace to condition for endurance, but it's so much more fun when you have a good friend to talk to and your horses like one another. And I hear ya on getting bored riding in the arena. I did it for the first year living in MD because Lily was so unpredictable on the trails after the move to this area; I was ready to sell her because I couldn't take being limited to the arena for one more second!

    The new trainer sounds amazing. Correct work with cavalletti and ground poles will do as much for a horse as dressage; I think lessons with her will just add so much more to the work you are already doing with Cassandra! Very excited for you!

    Being indoors will irritate horses' airways, so it is totally possible that Ashke's coughing is due to that and not necessarily due to contracting Cali's respiratory infection. At my previous barn they had a tendency to keep the horses locked up at the slightest provocation during the winter, and all the horses went through coughing episodes. It didn't help that the indoor was always dusty and connected directly to the barn.

    I hope with all my heart that everyone is feeling better soon and that the weather cooperates so you can get outside to ride this weekend!

  2. Riding solo when it's awful out AND you're sick is virtually impossible. Rest, get better, and fingers crossed that the weather this weekend is lovely! Sending good thoughts your way. :)