End of the month

My unspoken goals for this month were to have three posts and to ride at least once a week. I wrote twice in both January and February, and thought some consistent riding would help the aforementioned sort itself out. While it didn’t feel like that happened after missing a week, I ended up with four rides this month, which technically rounds out to what I wanted.

And that is enough. Even though I easily could say “but… I could have done more. If I would have done x, it would be better.” What is “better” anyway? To whom? Why am I focusing on how I could have been better in the past, instead of how I can just try my best as it comes? It brings me back to my original idea for the year, the whole mindset thing, which I haven’t actually written out before (though I’ve discussed with several people). My modus operandi (one of many) has been to set a goal and either smash it (i.e. do too much) or wiggle around avoiding it so that I can then beat myself up over having not met it.

I’m trying to change these little mind patterns I’ve got going on because they don’t serve me anymore. So, the mindset could be described as:

  1. holding space for myself by setting boundaries
  2. practicing gratitude
  3. aspiring to curiosity regarding feelings/emotions (both of which I suck at)
  4. including my body in my sense of self
  5. learning my authenticity, connecting with others as I continue to find pieces of it
  6. practicing seeing people as doing the best they can (includes me)

And ya know, I’ve actually made some decent progress on it. I’m purposely excluding a deadline because I’ve lived and died by the “due date” for years and this is more about building long-term habits (and dismantling equally lived-in routines).

So while I did manage to achieve both of the number-related goals at the beginning of this post, I think it’s more important for me to note that I read a ton of blogs this month – more accurately, I read peoples stories – and then put myself out there a bit and engaged with some of the stories I’m reading. This is significant because I went through the phase of horse RPG and SIM games that seemed to be EVERYWHERE in the early to mid 2000s; the kind of community that was contained and everyone knew the rules and goals of (and drama. there was always drama), but when I started reading blogs around high school, I stopped participating. I thought people had to come to me. Of course, over the next 8 years I just plain busied myself until I didn’t have time to sleep, let alone keep up with my own or anyone else’s writing.

While I’ve now had the time to participate for almost two years, I find it interesting that I’m starting to engage more or differently – in this undefined community, in other positive groups I’ve stumbled upon, and in real life – just as I’m starting to really buy into more positive cognitive habits. I don’t think one is responsible for the other either; it’s more like a wave where I put some effort into an area and the benefits swing elsewhere, then I feel encouraged to invest there and the benefits show up where I wouldn’t expect, and so on.

I think right at this point that’s more helpful for me than numbers-related goals (both in horses and work, relationships, money, whatever), especially as April’s going to bring challenges like surgeries, time off, work changes, and travel. Right now I’m in a good place with all of those, but that’s sure to change (and change again), which according to my whole mindset thing is a-ok (really!). I’m trying to keep doing what I’m doing, because so far I’m handling the curve balls better than I ever have (acknowledging them, for starters) and am more consistently content.

I’d be curious to know what others’ mind traps were, with horses or otherwise. Am I the only one learning how to be content with where I’m at or spending a lot of time just trying to figure myself out?

 

Lunge Lessons

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the weather was weird the other day, even for Indiana. more backyard to follow…

The Thursday before the clinic- so, three weeks ago now – I had a lesson on Jillie and was discussing current goals with trainer. Recent instructors have focused on how the horse underneath me is going, so if I ride better –> horse goes better.  This is well and good, but I don’t know what I’m doing, body wise, when I get that result.  When I’m riding something where I don’t stumble upon what makes them happy/willing, this obviously creates issues. We’ll get through a ride, but I’ll get off wondering where my miscommunication was. General endurance? Hands? Legs or seat? Shoulders and back?

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it then started hailing…

What I really want is an independent seat – improving my position and using that to be more effective/efficient with the aids.  Following this, trainer asked if I wanted to do a lunge lesson, which I enthusiastically agreed to. Letting someone take control of your horse is great for getting an idea of where each of your parts are at, and of the few I’ve had, the last was 10 years ago now. One with my very first instructor, and then a handful during my Arabian days. While initially writing this, I wondered why that trainer hadn’t worked more on details with those sessions, but I’m realizing it’s not because we weren’t going to, it’s simply because I wasn’t there yet. And what better way to instill balance than putting a sheepskin bareback pad on a barely-broke squirrely Arab mare? Because if I slipped, that pad was going with me.

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That melts, sun comes out, sister and I run an errand and not long after getting home we have near-whiteout conditions. This was ten minutes or so after it stopped

For this lesson, trainer had me start off trotting with my arms out to the side, then at my hips. No problems there. Then I dropped my stirrups and continued to post, first with my arms out and then on my hips. Then she had me sit the trot, which really, did not go well at all. I know what it feels like when I get it right (or close to right?), but I’ve never been able to do it more than a few strides either because I don’t have the strength, or the stability (or both). After a walk break she had us canter a bit and then remarked that “no wonder you don’t fall off, your leg is solid!” which I was happy to hear. Except, I still lose my stirrups way more than I’d like. I can pick them up, but I’d rather not lose them in the first place. I told her this and asked if it was because I was pinching from my knee for stability.

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literally 6 minutes after the last picture. You’re drunk Indiana

She said it could be, and that after this next walk break we’d do an exercise that would help with a few things. It’d tell if I was relying on my legs to keep me in the saddle, help me get a better awareness of my seat bones, and also put me in the right position for the sitting trot. So I put both my legs in front of the saddle flaps, which was definitely a weird feeling at first, but once we got walking I quickly adjusted. Before we started trotting trainer told me I might want to start out holding the front of the saddle. I did so and once we were going I was immediately more aware of where my seat bones were and how I was (or wasn’t) absorbing the momentum. Trainer told me to think about my hips going side to side rather than up and down, and I was (again) able to get a few strides, but not much beyond that. She also had me try cantering with my legs ‘up front’, just to see and I ended up finding that more do-able, to where I was able to take my hands off the saddle. Trainer noted that where my back was in this exercise (which did feel like leaning way back) was more where I need to be on a regular basis. Overall, it seems like I have a decent awareness and center of balance, but I really like how I had this lesson, which exposed the weaknesses in my core and knee, and then had the clinic a few days later where I ended up getting more feedback on my upper-half.

Of course, now going on a week since last riding (and pretty much zero other exercise) doesn’t do much for setting this stuff in. I was going to try today but little sister, who is home from college for spring break this week, wanted to get lunch and make a day out of going to the fashion mall an hour away. Seeing as she’s a senior and her post-grad plans may have her moving away (although who am I kidding, ‘planning’ for her rarely goes farther than the next day), I’m trying to make the most of having her home.

 

Ya know what they say about plans…

Fate whispers to the warrior “You cannot withstand this storm.”
And the warrior whispers back, “I am the storm.” – not sure of source

I really like how L over at Viva Carlos has a quote at the beginning of all her posts. If I had enough pearls of wisdom on hand, I would totally do it. Though given my writing frequency, maybe I would have enough…

When we (I) last left off, I said I didn’t know how much I might write in 2018. I had an inspiring fortune that coincided with how I want to see myself this year (thankfully I’m a big sister, so that part was already taken care of).

And then I start a draft about 2018 in which I decide, very cleverly, instead of resolutions, I’m aiming for a mindset this year. I’m not going to beat myself up about that – I think it’s actually a good idea, and if I’m serious about it, then how convenient that it’s already being tested amIright?

I am right. Annoyingly so, because this week I found myself thinking…

“what’s the point?”

“am I ever going to catch a break?”

“I finally get my narcolepsy under control… and now this???”

The Outpatient

There was a short procedure last Wednesday – my first time having anesthesia since I was 10. That being pre-narcolepsy, I was concerned because there’s a small body of research indicating PWN (persons with narcolepsy) can have more adverse reactions to general anesthetic (taking longer to wake-up mainly).

Thankfully, when using shorter-acting anesthetics (as in my procedure) and when the caregivers are aware of the situation, this risk pretty much goes away. Other than having cataplexy upon waking up, I had no issues. Everything taken care of.

So, what was this procedure? Putting a little stent up in my right kidney, which was giving me irregular bouts of intense pain starting back in September. There were no stones, masses, or issues seen on scans beyond my kidney being a bit bigger than normal. Thus, the procedure to figure out what may be causing it and get the excess liquid moving.

While I was still slogging through my molasses mind, the urologist briefly told me (I think) that I have crossing vessels and that we’d need to set a follow up. As it turns out, I hit the genetic jackpot and a little artery is making life very difficult for my poor kidney. Said follow-up is about a week away, but what my mom remembers him telling her is that basically my options are to continue having these stents replaced every four months or so, orrr I have a pyeloplasty (fancy or more-denial friendly way of saying they reconstruct my renal pelvis). I’ve been avoiding reading up on it, but the estimate my mom remembers is inpatient for 5-7 days and then 4-6 weeks off work after that.

No Time

Where’s option C where the problem is fixed and I need zero more surgeries? I’ve got one of my best friends weddings this summer, there’s a puppy that’s going to be ready to come home with me in less than a month. I’m supposed to be giving my first presentation on sleep in two; I’m trying to move out this week. I wanted to try and lease one of my trainer’s horses this spring and show more this summer/fall. And be on the lookout for whatever adventures come from that.

I don’t think it’s so far out of left field to be bummed about this and feeling a bit panicky. I’ve got people telling me “why not get it done as soon as possible? You don’t want to spend your summer recovering!” And others saying to wait until summer. Unfortunately, my work couldn’t handle me being gone that long without needed to hire someone else. Working for a small business has plenty of perks, but having extra bodies for when one person’s out is not one of them.

Waiting….

All I can do right now is read up more on ureteropelvic junction obstructions (UPJ/UPJO) caused by crossing vessels, shift and tell my bladder that the doctor said this was normal when it yells every 5 minutes that HEY WE NEED TO GO TO THE LADIES ROOM – and gather small things around to move out. Except, depending on how the appointment next week goes, not entirely sure how long that might last…

From blogspot: SPUR

SPUR was my first introduction to participating in therapeutic horseback riding. I had known it was a “thing” – a couple years prior, I had researched programs around Indiana in hopes of donating my pony Peanut to one when it became clear I wasn’t going to be able to keep her. It had ended with a couple programs I had reached out to informing me they weren’t looking for any horses at the time.

Compared to the program I helped with extensively during college (where the picture is from, though I still look like a child… especially compared to big ol Belle), let’s just say SPUR was more “laid-back.” And by laid back I mean basically nothing they did followed PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) protocol and it was generally a chaotic mess where amazingly, no one was hurt – at least that I witnessed.

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Why yes, I did get that western saddle on myself. And I’m not bending down.

There were no goals, assessments, or tracking beyond who was there and who wasn’t, which makes the rec therapist in me cringe. There was only one person with any prior experience in this area trying to help run the program though, and she wasn’t consistently there each week. Couple that with the barn owner who had little interest in going through the steps to get the program “official” – and with it, possible funding or grant opportunities for participants – but was gung-ho about getting as many people out at a time and paying and it’s easy to see why the program wasn’t terribly successful (and neither was the barn for much longer…).

Still, as they say, sometimes it’s as helpful to learn what to do as it is not to do. That, in addition to the joy participants shared when things were going well, makes me glad I helped out.

November 9, 2011

So I’ve just now got around to it, but last Wednesday was a blast for me! The stable of my job has a therapeutic riding program for handicapped children of all ages, and I’ve been wanting to volunteer. I couldn’t since school started because a) SPUR (the name of the program) hadn’t started yet, and b) I was in my last season of cross country, so my life pretty much has revolved around that since June.

Last Wednesday I almost didn’t get to go out either, but ended up coming late and kind of chilled as gate opener/closer for about fifteen minutes. One of the main ladies had gotten out Gretel – who will eventually be used in SPUR – to give her some practice time in the atmosphere, but she ended up helping one of the kids so the owner asked if I would ride Gretel around for her. Of course! I felt like a kid in a candy shop despite the fact that my jeans were WAY too tight *insert grimace*.

I had a great time though because another girl and I ended up playing “red light, yellow light, green light” with a little boy named King at one end of the arena. Naturally, King wanted to constantly have “green light” = trotting, and his poor helpers had to eventually slow it down because they, unlike him, were running, and having just a slight problem keeping up.

After SPUR was over, I was treated to piggyback onto one of the “greenies lessons” with miss Gretel, who was very sweet to my super-out-of-sync self!

The best part is I’m going again tonight! No idea what I’ll be doing, but hopefully more riding time is in order, and hopefully some pictures as well!