Changing Up My Plans

Wherever you go you hear people talking about goals at some point. In work. In riding. In life. It’s good to have goals. Something to aspire to. Looking forward rather than backward.

Sometimes while pursuing a goal you’ve set for yourself you realize that your priorities change. That’s OK! You’re not a failure. It’s important to be honest with yourself and be thankful for the time that you’ve spent on one path. But it’s important to get yourself on the path you were on and realign onto the one that will lead to your new focus. It might mean a slight detour or maybe you have to backtrack a bit. Whatever the case, being true and kind to yourself is of the upmost importance. It’s brave to admit you’ve been after the wrong goals.

Over that course of about eighteen months my body’s taken a beating. Two summers ago I damaged my ankle getting off my ATV (The Blade Chronicles: Someone Tell Mom She’s Broken) and it took nearly nine months and a lot of stretching to recover my ankle mobility. Last summer I twisted the same ankle in one fall. Another fall led to a shoulder injury that still flares up from time to time. Finally, last autumn I took yet another tough fall by hitting a tree at the LKTA hunter pace (The Pace That’s Out to Get Me). I didn’t think much of it since I was able to continue riding but when my back began to scream at me in December I began to suspect that perhaps there was damage.

So many injuries combined with seeing photos of a wobbly lower leg over jumps deteriorated my confidence and self esteem. I had once thought of myself as an advanced rider but began to feel anxious at a simple 2ft jump.

My lower leg is swinging back here, my upper body is too far forward. My seat should be over the center of the saddle and my leg should be closer to the girth.

If you tuned in Sunday for the review you’ll know that I found a new book through my instructor. The Sunday Review: Brain Training For Riders by Andrea Monsarrat Waldo. The book is changing my life in many ways. I don’t need to get into the book since you can read about that in the review but I want to share my story.

Brain Training for Riders helped me realize that my brain was working exactly as expected and that it’s NORMAL to feel the way I do. It helped me to acknowledge what was going on in my head and to come up with a path to move forward instead of living in shame. In only a couple weeks of using my new knowledge I’ve released many of my demons and my trainer has told me I’m riding the best she has ever seen me ride.

I am happy, excited, and inspired.

Last summer, before a few of my injuries but clear signs of progress in the position

In reading the book I also recognized in myself that I have a LOT going on. I was inspired to sit down and come to terms with the fact that I can’t do it all.

learn dressage, hunter pace, learn to trailer, trailer to lessons, go camping, go to equine affaire, buy a new saddle, improve my jump form, work on Tiger’s extension, work on Nahe’s collection, and the list goes on! And that doesn’t even cover the NON horse things I’ve got going on.

I finally sat down and refocused.

  • TRAILER: I am new to owning a truck and trailer, becoming proficient at backing into my driveway is something I’d like to do by the end of May.
  • TAKE LESSONS WITH MY OWN HORSES: As I become proficient maneuvering my trailer I will begin to trailer the horses to lessons, thus giving my experience trailering AND getting the help I need to improve my partnership with my horses.
  • CAMP: Now that I have a trailer I want to use it! Going on AT LEAST one camping trip this year will give me experience and allow me to finally use the trailer for the purposes I bought it for.
  • BUY A NEW SADDLE: I have been doing the woodworking thing for a while now. I’ve had some unexpected expenses this year but if I play my cards right I can still manage to get the saddle I’ve been wanting. I’ve never had a saddle made exclusively for me so it’s something I’d really like to make happen.
  • IF MY PROGRESS ALLOWS: I would love to jump 2’6″ with a solid lower leg. If not this year than next summer for sure.

This year my focus is on myself, my confidence, and my horses. Last year I was so preoccupied with going to EVERY HUNTER PACE I didn’t take time to recognize that maybe I didn’t have to. This year I may or may not go to a hunter pace, and that’s ok. If Equine Affaire happens I’d still love to attend, but that’s still up in the air. I will certainly jump and do some dressage. By writing it down I was able to make sense of it. No longer does it feel like a whirlwind of desires; now it’s become a plan that really works altogether to incorporate many of my goals into a bundle.

In addition to the horse-centric goals I also have a few personal goals in the making:

  • Adjust to a new schedule (I’m going to days!!!)
  • Make enough in my woodworking to pay for the new saddle
  • Improve my health by addressing my back pain (I have an appointment!!!)
  • Lose 25 pounds By November

By the end of this year I want to feel confident in loading my horses up and going somewhere and riding well…and with confidence the whole time. I’m going to learn a lot this year and I’m seriously inspired!

My horse goals aren’t entirely ambitious but that’s not what this year is about. It’s about my physical and mental well-being. It’s something that I’ve been needing to do for a while now and thanks to Brain Training for Riders by Andrea Waldo I finally have the tools to go for it.

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4 Comments

  1. You go girl, It can take a while to get our brain into gear cant it. lol. Great photos, I’m so glad you are in the process of looking after yourself. I hope your appointment for your back gives you relief & answers. Have fun with the trailer reversing & towing from what I have seen us girls are talented more so than the boys, we rock. haha

    Liked by 1 person

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