Tag Archives: frustration

Totaled

Last Tuesday I had a bad day. It wasn’t an RA flare, or just being in a bad mood, and I know that attitude really effects how we perceive things. But I think this counts as a genuine bad day; not that I don’t see a few positives. I will get there, just bear with me for a bit. But let me tell you what happened:

 First, I set my alarm clock one hour late on accident. I plead that when I set it after 11pm the night before I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing. As far as why I was up that late the night before- that is a longer story but suffice it to say my schedule right now is pretty rough. Sometimes I think we get cosmic foreshadowing of things to come. Perhaps my having all of 2 minutes to get dressed and out the door to have any prayer of getting to work on time (I usually leave before my alarm even went off that day) should have been a good clue that staying in bed that day would have been the better choice.

Miraculously, I made it to work on time and work though less than fun went as well as it usually does- nothing remarkable there. I managed to leave nearly on time for my dentist appointment that afternoon. It was a bright sunny day, I was just heading in for a cleaning, and really things were going well after such a rough start. Until I went to get on the interstate. For those of you that aren’t familiar,Coloradohas relatively speedy interstates. The speed limit in many sections is 75mph, but many people go 80mph and merging can be interesting since often drivers are less than kind about allowing people in. I was driving on an on ramp with a tight curve, and to my awareness, I was suddenly swerving out of control; every correction I made to try to gain control just made the situation worse. I hadn’t been going very fast, since I drive that on ramp all the time and know the turn is tight, but I slammed on the brakes and pulled my car into a skid away from traffic. Good idea, right? Well it was until the skid took me into a pole sideways. Ears ringing and vision returning after the side airbag deployed, I sat there in disbelief. I have never been in a real car accident (that is qualified by the term real because I did have a minor one once but someone essentially backed in to me from a stop because they took their foot of their brake), and at the time I couldn’t figure out what had happened to cause it. I was dazed and shaken but otherwise ok. I got out of my car and glanced over it. It looked remarkably fine considering, and seeing the interstate a few feet away made me grateful that the situation hadn’t been worse. A driver that had been behind me stopped and made sure I was ok and I took a minute and gathered myself. I looked at the time, well, I still had plenty of time to make it to the dentist, even if I went slowly.

I eased onto the interstate and my car felt a little odd but ok considering, or so I thought. I got about a mile down the road when it swerved a little again and then I heard a distinctive sound. I admit my first thought wasn’t particularly printable. I pulled over, and got out and started attempting to change my tire which was rather flat. I was beyond shaken at this point so I really wasn’t making good progress. I had the jack out but couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to put it together all of a sudden. So, I am fiddling with pieces of the jack when a Colorado Department of Transportation truck pulls up. The two CDOT guys were amazing. They had the tire changed so quickly I hardly knew what was happening. Thankful for my full size spare, I was on my way again, if rather slowly, since by this time I was quite terrified to drive. I got off the interstate at the next exit and took a back way to the dentist’s office. I made it just in time for my appointment somehow, so I was lucky enough to find out I need more dental work done. (I have major jaw problems so though not surprising the vast amount of dental work I have had and how much trouble it is for me makes it an ordeal.)

 So, I readily and hastily submit that I am grateful that I wasn’t hurt beyond a bruise from the airbag deployment. I also am rather glad I had switched insurance companies a few months ago and have much better insurance than I used to have. Bythe next afternoon I had a rental car, covered by insurance, and my husband was steadily working through the insurance claim process. So it was pretty bad as far as days go, but it seems like things are working out. Unfortunately, per the insurance company, my bug is squashed, or rather, totaled. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. One point of relief though, was that even in a rental car, Strider still comes up to the pasture fence when I drive up. Don’t ask me how he knows its me, and believe me, I have asked other people if he does that when they drive up and they assure me he doesn’t (so I either have friends that want me to feel flattered by my horse or a horse that is pretty wonderful. Or both.). 

Unfortunately that means that this week will be devoted to dental work, a rheumatologist appointment, and car shopping. I think those are three of my top five most dreaded activities. I am hoping for riding as many days as I can and a knitting night to ease the pain. So far I am at least on track with riding, even if I did mostly stretchy work with Strider last night. We have no more shows this season (I know, we really only had one: between EHV-1 and finances it has been a good season for me to focus on training), though I will get to groom at one, so it is nice to just ride and try to keep improving.

I guess all that to say, I think we all have truly bad days, thankfully, a day only lasts 24 hours and even seasons have to change someday. And horse time usually helps. Well, until next time, RAWR!!!

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Look Behind You

I have a picture on my desk at work of when I first started riding Strider. It was taken at a schooling show literally about a month after I started riding him. I remember I knew it was nuts to take him to one so soon since I could barely even get on him I was in such bad shape from RA and he hadn’t been ridden for a long time. The riding he had before that hadn’t sat well with him (that is a good part of the story of how he came to be given to me- yes I said given…though at this point in the story I was leasing him) and before that he had been on the track. Basically it was silly to do, but I wanted to try. He is the shaggiest I think he has ever gotten, his feet were a mess; the best description I can give of him then is of a rather refined looking mule with ears that didn’t want it enough. Brown horses that haven’t had fabulous grooming and care just don’t look good- and I am referring to the true brown horses that everyone calls dark bay with bleach spots. There is so much wrong in the picture: girth cover because the only girth I had was ancient and had no elastic, Strider isn’t tracking up, mismatched neoprene splint boots I borrowed, my position is atrocious, and I was considerably heavier than I am now. But I love that picture. Strider still wasn’t convinced about me yet, but I was thrilled and it shows. The joy in being able to ride again, even if it was terrible, was obvious.

That picture is also a reminder of how far we have come. I don’t have many pictures of Strider and me, but I know how he looks when he walks up to me in the pasture. I know he trusts me now and even usually will leave his food and his “hole” (that’s what we call his shed ha-ha) when he hears me call him. He is sleek and shiny now; his feet are in great shape (for a TB type horse- no cracks and good wall. His angles are much better and his front feet are up a shoe size.); he is incredibly muscled; his personality is really showing and I think every time I see him I am in awe that I  get to ride him.

So what’s my point aside from that I like looking at a terrible picture and I adore my horse? Well, I think sometimes on the middle of struggling and pushing so hard to move forward and prevail over hard things sometimes we forget to remember from where we came. Whether in dressage, hunter jumpers, or fighting RA sometimes it helps to remember how far you really have come. It may seem at times like we only move backwards, especially when treating RA, I know, because I remember what it was like to be on a treatment that worked. But sometimes we have to remember what it was like to before we were diagnosed, or when we were diagnosed in order to see that, though it may feel like I have no options, at least I have a great rheumatologist on my side now. Or in dressage, sometimes we get hard on ourselves (ha! Sometimes? Maybe always?) and our horses because we can’t seem to perfect a certain movement, reach a goal, or we let our minds get the better of us, but where were we and our horses 6 months, a year, or 2 years ago?  If we look back maybe we can find the hope and faith to keep moving forward; it isn’t a new thought at all, but I know I needed the reminder. Just don’t get stuck looking behind you- you never know when you might run into a wall or a tree or a manure pit or something- trust me on that one.

Until next time- RAWR!!!!!!

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Guilty as Charged- Ambiguous

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”   -Winnie the Pooh

Please read this blog post from the Owl City blog entitled, “You are Braver than You Believe.” I have read it at least four times; I keep coming back to it because each time it catches me in a number of ways. Some are too hard for me to put into words, and some are probably nonsense, but after a rough few weeks…make that months….years….oh heck, I think if we are honest most of us don’t really have easy lifetimes at least in certain respects, it hits home every single time I read it.

First: the Winnie the Pooh quote. Don’t we all want a friend like that? A friend who is so close to us in spirit and in thought that they can see the words we need and speak them and even when they are apart, they are with us in our thoughts, memories, etc. by virtue of being such a part of us. I don’t want this to be a spiritual debate but I feel that if you have faith then of course this should be very much how faith is as well. Recently, upon realizing that a person I had very much counted as a friend really wasn’t one anymore, made me really think on friendship and how it should be. Shouldn’t our friends respect and honor us? Support us but be willing to tell us when we aren’t behaving as we should? No friend will ever be perfect; I know that, but I think at least sometimes we all need someone who sees us better than we can see ourselves to give us a reality check and someone who can cheer us on without condemnation when we are losing perspective. I hope I am that friend to my friends…

The rest of the post is where I become rather convicted. I know that there are so many things in my life right now I am struggling to change, to fix, to improve. I get impatient with my situation; I get tired of fighting battles that, when I am honest about it, I know will not end or if they will, it won’t be soon. I get tired of pain and struggle. And before I know it, I am wishing things were different. It is so easy to lose sight of the opportunities I do have, and the blessings and the reasons for hope. One thought acts like a spark in the middle of a field of dry grass- it is rapidly out of control. And yet it is a waste of energy I am ridiculously short on in the first place and often such thoughts pull me into not wanting to try- to just give up. I know- not a pretty picture.

So what does it come down to? I don’t have a perfect solution unfortunately; I wish I did. But I keep coming back to this blog post- how preposterous is it for me to wish for things to be the way I want rather than the way they are? Who am I to think I have a right to these things I don’t have? What should I focus on? What should I do? What do I actually have the power to control? Why would I have been better off if things were different? How can I presume that?

I won’t say it is easy- I will readily admit that if someone told me that there was a moment in life that tipped the scales as it were and made me get RA, or that I could prevent the accident that changed my sister’s life forever, or any number of other moments, and gave me the chance to go back and make everything different, I probably would jump at the chance. Even though I know it wouldn’t really make me content. But I guess all that is to say that peace, hope, and contentment- they all come when I embrace the life I have instead of fighting it. I just wish I could remember that more often.

So….today here are some things that are blessings for me- to remind me why things shouldn’t be different. In no particular order:

-My husband: and not just because I am married to him and think I need to put him on the list. There are too many reasons to list.

-My true Friend: because there are so few people who get so much about me and don’t think I’m bonkers (or if she thinks I’m bonkers she still seems to like me anyway lol)

-My Family: I include really all my family in this (it is a rather funky and odd family believe me…) as they have either supported me in the past or are supporting me and cheering me on now.

-My Horses: I can’t believe I have TWO still and they are both the best ever. Vanya was my companion growing up and Strider…well…hard to put into word but I will just say he is amazing.

-My Cat and Dog: because when I am not able to do much at all they can still make me smile and feel a tiny bit better.

-Knitting and spinning: few other activities can hold my attention as well, make me patient, and somehow produce something anyone else would want to use! And there is something therapeutic about fiber that can make even the worst pain or stress fade…

-Faith: I am blessed to have a Savior who cares about me, forgives my failures, and shows me by example how it’s done.

-Good Doctors: I have some amazing doctors working to reduce pain, prevent damage, etc. They also take the time to listen to me and make sure we are working towards the same goals.

 I know this was a bit of a deviation from the usual more news type of post, but it had been swimming in my head for a while and finally I decided I should just post it already. Well, until next time…..RAWR!!!

 

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The Beautiful and the…

So last night was a mix of the beautiful and the frustrating.

I went out to the barn thinking life was good, all was right with the world, I had a lesson scheduled with an amazing trainer for today, had everything arranged and was going to be organized and ready. I also had found out that Jennifer would be able to take Vanya, my older gelding, in a pair pace coming up. Everything was just wonderful. I did some planning with some people at the barn for the pair pace and the upcoming show, and went and caught my horse. I admit it stresses me a bit when I have more than one person who wants to ride Vanya in a night, and that was the case again, but I determined a course of action that made pretty much everyone happy (Nicole can ride him bareback while Jennifer works her other horse and then Jennifer can ride him).

I caught Strider and got him tacked up. He was being super affectionate and sweet and as I looked over him when I groomed him everything was great. I took him in to start lungeing him though and as soon as he started to trot I noticed he was a little off. I though he might warm up out of it since he has shown stiffness before, so I did some stretches with him, gave him some more walk time, and then tried again. He seemed a little better, so I asked for a canter. He seemed alright, then he came back down to a trot and it was back. He was off again. I stretched him a bit more and then walked him around mostly on a loose rein since he was very comfortable with that and it seemed to make him happy. I then put liniment on his legs and put his standing wraps on and let him hang out in a stall with his hay bag while I went to help Jennifer.

While I was worried about Strider, Jennifer was having a horrible time with her horse, Dundee. I had suggested she try a flash on him, since I had seen that he liked to gape to avoid the bit. I helped her put it on and made sure it was still pretty loose. His bridle is actually too big for him I noticed so both his nosebands were actually pretty loose, so he wasn’t being overly restricted by adding the flash. However, Dundee definitely wasn’t too excited about this. He was walking and trotting around looking more like a giraffe than I had ever seen a horse look. I could tell Jennifer was trying as hard as she could and doing her best and as I lunged Strider I was trying to giver her help on what to do to help him listen and relax. It was all to no avail. By the time I was done with Strider Jennifer was incredibly frustrated; with good reason. I got on Dundee and got him walking forward on a 20m circle and asked him to relax and bend to the inside and accept contact. It took him a few circles, but he finally did. I had him maintain the contact for a time or two around the circle and then changed direction through the circle and did the same thing going the other way. I really applied what I had learned from my lesson with Jo and focused on staying centered, relaxed, and breathing. Once I felt he was listening, I had Jennifer get on again.

At first she still struggled. I coached her to what Jo had explained to me. Focus on center. Relax the shoulder but sit tall. Follow with the hips. Still Dundee ignored her requests to bend and give and accept the contact. She kept at it and I reminded her to consistently focus on just what she could directly control and each individual moment and to breathe and be patient with Dundee; trust that he would eventually listen to her. I explained that she couldn’t impose her timeframe on the horse: she wants him to accept contact now but he will do it when he is ready. Finally she understood. She was still frustrated and was on the point of giving up. Suddenly, Dundee relaxed and accepted the contact and softened and bent. It didn’t last long, but Jennifer was puzzled. She said she wasn’t doing anything at all. She asked him to do what she wanted again. More resistance. When she relaxed and just followed his motion but maintained contact and stopped asking, he accepted the contact and softened and bent. She was baffled. She wasn’t doing anything she repeated. Of course not. Sometimes, when we need to get the most done with our horses, we struggle, we ask, but we have to quiet ourselves and let them be and just ride them as best we can. We may feel like we are doing nothing, just following them, but that may be all we need to do.

It was an important realization for me and for Jennifer. Sometimes, you may not feel like you are doing anything or getting anywhere, but if you are centered, balanced, and following the correct lead, you will achieve what you need. An interesting thought.

I admit I am still really frustrated about having to cancel my lesson for Strider being off, but I don’t want to push it. After had the wraps and liniment on for a bit he was improved but I m worried about him. He has had off days before; it is probably because he is about due for his next trimming as I cannot locate any heat, tenderness, or swelling anywhere, but it still worries me. We’ll see. Since Jennifer had to go, I hopped on Vanya bareback and just enjoyed being with him. He is such a joy and he teaches me still every time I ride him. So, even though last night was frustrating, it was beautiful in many ways- I learned a lot.

Hopefully tonight will be a night I can apply what I learned without the frustration. We’ll see. Until next time…RAWR!

 

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