Thursday, February 28, 2013

Back in the Saddle Part Deux

I'm taking the afternoon off from life because I'm feeling fatigued, achey and just plain bad.  I'm pretty sure I'm hormonally challenged and it's quite bad this month which is probably due to my age.  Which is disturbing.  I'm one of those old ladies that probably needs to pay attention to those commercials about menopause.  Good lord.  That might be why yesterday was more difficult when riding Maiden.  And why my husband woke me up at 4:30am standing over me holding the cat and said, "I was just about to lock the cat in the laundry room and I heard yell from all the way out there "Get the fuck out!"  You were having a nightmare."  Yikes.

I went out to the barn after work yesterday to see Maiden with plans to ride her again since today is officially six weeks of stall rest for me.  I got her all ready and was feeling fine until we got out into the arena.  It was different from Sunday because Trainer K. and M. were in there on Sunday and I could ask M. to hold her while I got on.  Not that she's ever had a problem with me mounting her, but since that's when I came off when I got hurt that's when I get most nervous.  And the last time I'd gotten on her alone in the arena I had ended up in an ambulance a half hour later.  Of course it was different circumstances than yesterday but my emotions weren't being so logical.

We walked over to the mounting block and Maiden seemed nervous and I started feeling nervous.  So, I got up on the mounting block and leaned over Maiden's back to see how she felt with pressure on her back.  This made her nervous (since it was not the usual mode of business when Mom is on the mounting block) so she darted away from me.  This of course made me more nervous so I dragged the mounting block to the softest looking arena and did the same thing.  This time Maiden looked back at me like she was wondering what I was doing but she figured I hadn't hurt her last time I did that so this time I wouldn't either.  Since she seemed to be fine, I hopped up on her back and immediately had a panic attack.

Maiden was being very sweet though and just stood there.  I had to consciously keep myself from hyperventilating and was trying hard not to shake.  Intellectually, I knew that I was pretty darn safe, but my whole body was shaking and my eyes were tearing up and it was all I could do not to cry.  Part of me was thinking, "What are you doing? You're going to fall off again and get hurt even worse this time! Are you insane? Get down this instant! You're nuts to be doing this!"  But I knew if I listened to that part of me and got off the horse it would be a thousand times harder to get back on her again and I may not actually do it.  So, I walked her around the arena a few times, shaking and tears running out of my eyes and telling myself not to listen to the part of me that was telling me I was nuts for riding her and kept repeating to myself, "I have to stay on if I want to ride horses.  If I get off now because I'm scared I am done.  Do you want to be done with horses forever? Because if I get off now I will never get back on and it will all be over."  I decided that I get too much joy and health benefits (exercise, fresh-air, commraderie, happiness) from horses so I was choosing not to get off.  Of course, this meant a few more minutes of hyperventilating, shaking and wanting to cry until I could calm myself down.  But I did calm myself down,  And I did start to feel more confident.  And we ended up having a very nice ride!

Maiden was very docile and sweet while I was having a panic attack, but as soon as I started to feel like myself again she decided to balk and plant her feet into the ground and become the immovable force which is Maiden.  Trainer K. has been reminding me to use the inside of my ankles and not my heels when I signal her to walk.  Not that I kick her, but instead of wiggling the inside of my ankles on her side I have a tendency to tap her with my foot (bad habit).  So, this time I did exactly what Trainer K. said and Maiden started walking immediately.   Of course once we started trotting she tried to do her old trick of weave into the center, but corrected herself quicker than in the past when I asked her, and she kind of half-assed tried to scrape me off on the wall (another old trick) but didn't seem too motivated to do it and corrected herself quickly when I told her not to do that.  Then she balked again and planted her feet into the ground and refused to move, so I gave her a little wiggle with the inside of my ankel.  Nothing.  Harder wiggle. Nothing. Harder wiggle.  Nothing.  Tap with my heel.  Snort - scoot backward.  Sigh.  So, I reached back with my hand and gently tapped her on the butt as she was scooting backward - just a flutter of a tap like I would've touched her if I had a dressage whip with me, and she instantly stopped going backward and shifted gears and started walking forward quickly as though to say "Ooops! Wrong direction - sorry, Mom! Got it now!"  I know she was being a brat by going backward but she tried to play it off like "What? No - that was just me being dingy and forgetting which direct to go! Really!"

Then she did great,  walking with her neck stretched way down to the ground,  relaxing her body, lifting her back, letting out those happy, relaxed sighs when she's feeling good.  She still throws her head up defensively when we start trotting like she believes I'm going to yank on her face really hard with the reins, but since she's been in training with Trainer K the last couple months it is much less extreme and she relaxes more quickly.

I gave my notice at this barn yesterday though and it breaks my heart that Trainer K is too busy to come and train at my new barn right now.  Maybe in the future.  The (female) Trainer J. asked me yesterday who is going to keep my horse tuned up for me and I said I was just going to have to wing it for awhile and try to do everything Trainer K. has taught me, I guess.  It's not my first choice of options but at least I have homework to work on and am not just blindly going to be messing around in complete ignorance.  I was dreading giving notice and starting the ball rolling toward change but now that it's done and I told the woman at the new barn I'm moving in, I feel like it is the right move for me and Maiden.

Well, off to make dinner for the husband.  It's his birthday so I'm making one of his favorite dinners - spinach lasagne and then making a dark chocolate cake.  Ok, the cake is not from scratch like the lasagne is, but I don't trust my baking abilities to try and pull off a cake completely from scratch yet.  Ok, and the lasagne is only mostly from scratch.  I still haven't achieved being able to make lasagne noodles that doesn't end up a sticky, glump of goo that doesn't cook correctly.  I'm still working on that.

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