Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Gloomies

 After going to Renegade over July 4th weekend (post still in draft about that) I just had a succession of bad things. 

My truck's transmission died on our way home from Renegade, thankfully after dropping Gwyn off, so we were close to home and while I didn't need a tow in the end, I definitely limped it home and limped it to the dealer a few days later. The chunk of change to stick a new transmission in the vehicle meant that my retention bonus from work could not be used for fun things like a new saddle, but instead, paid for most of the transmission. 

I haven't hauled since. I think I'm scared now. What that means is that I haven't been out on a trail ride. 

I made this at Pony Club Camp as a teen (CT)

Immediately after Renegade, we had a client audit at work, so I was super busy with that and as soon as that wrapped up we were notified that the FDA was exercising a surprise inspection for two weeks (!!!!) so work craziness continued and I barely saw my horse. 
Where I spent most of my teen years in the winter (CT)

Then I learned that Jane passed away and panicked about the cost of plane tickets to fly to Connecticut only to be reassured by the Best Wife that I should shut up and buy them because I obviously needed to go. I proceeded to feel unnecessarily guilty and awful about regret as I grieved, and that definitely impacted me wanting to go to the barn.
And where I spent most of my teen years in the summer (CT)

As soon as the FDA inspection was over we dove into performance qualification of the HVAC system for our new manufacturing spaces. Today was the end of week four, we have more weeks to go. 
The gateway to paradise (CT)

Looking up to the upper pasture and the 'riding ring' I used (CT) 

All of this to say... Gwyn has been neglected in the attention department. I hit the weekend so exhausted that every time I've thought to plan a trail ride, the idea of hooking a trailer up and packing to go anywhere is just exhausting.  Most of my rides lately have been in a hackamore, which was absolutely a dopamine purchase and I HAVE NO REGRETS.

Seriously, so cute.

The lavender with purple overlay is *chef's kiss* perfection

Some times I've gone out just to groom because mentally that's all I have the energy for. 

Even the kids helped

I have been consistently attending physical therapy for an hour, every three weeks or so with a lady who specializes in riders. This is to address knee and ankle pain. As I fix one thing my issues seem to migrate to the next adjacent body part (helloooo hips).  However, I've been fairly diligent about my at home exercises and I have noticed improvement in riding and generally in how I'm moving. This has also now led to me adding in pelvic floor therapy because let me tell you, it's NOT fun to have to worry about peeing any time you sneeze or... you know... half halt or try to relax and ride into a canter that's absolutely giant. Until that first appointment, I've been adding in hourly kegels throughout the day. 

What was fantastic tonight, however, was coming into my riding lesson with Ralph.  I told him upfront that I was hoping to have a lesson where I could walk away feeling like I had a win. That work had been shitty and stressful, and I needed tonight to forget all that shit.

So we worked on Gwyn's weak side canter departs. 😂😂😂😂

But you know what? She was the Best Mare Ever. 

She was lazy at first, offering the most western of jogs until Ralph told me to wake her up with some canter. I disagreed, and pointed her at one of the numerous cross rails scattered across the arena. That did the trick, hahaha. 

She's still anticipating pain on that left stifle and hock so achieving that left lead canter has been hard for me. What it took was counter flexing to the outside, really booting her butt to the inside and just pony club kicking. By the end of the night I was able to soften that cue, and the goal is to not have to so obviously flex to the outside eventually, but she needs to learn to actually canter on the left lead when I ask. The right lead was better and that was where she really found her motor. 

What was amazing to me was that it felt easier to ride her canter than it had before I started doing my millions of kegels. It was easier to sit up and not fetal position or go into two point. She really needs me sitting balanced and on her, not off her back at this point. 
It is hard to get a selfie with her whole head.

Ralph described it like a game. She likes playing the game and getting  the right answer. She was BIG MAD when she wasn't getting the right answer, but she also likes to win the Game against me, which is often her dropping her shoulder or ignoring my leg. At one point she was blasting through my inside leg down a long stretch in power canter and I was asking her to rate a bit and stay on the rail. She was aiming instead for a small vertical so I decided, "Okay mare, you want to aim for a jump? We're gonna jump." 

Ralph said afterward that it was like her eyes got real big. She was not expecting me to still assert that I had influence in what we were doing. The next time we cantered around that long side she was very respectful of my leg and where I was aiming. 😁 After that it was more like a partnership between the two of us. She had to get over her "game time" and really get down and focus. After drilling the left canter depart (again, her weak side), she started offering it as counter canter when I cued going right. So she was trying so hard to answer the question. Goober got lots of verbal praise and neck scritches. 

We did a lot of breaks to jump in between the canter and it really felt like I was getting my sea legs back, so to speak. As a kid I was fearless. I'd drop my stirrups, knot my reins and just point Clyde at a set of gymnastics and go through hands free. It felt so amazing to do. My body knew how to fold and I could feel the line. I felt that again tonight. It's getting easier to trust that Gwyn can jump with me and thus I can release and keep my eyes up. 

I won one of the saddle covers in a giveaway from Bel Joeor and this has to be my favorite embroidery design, seriously y'all

Anyway, a lot of what I talked about body wise and biomechanically is stuff that I've been discussing and working on with my physical therapist. And I'm just buzzing with happiness about how well it's tied together tonight. And how much I can feel my body being more capable. It's such a nice change from where I was. 

Anyway, it's been a wild mental swing for me this week. I'm just happy to have some good brain chemicals, rather than awful brain chemicals like yesterday. Huge difference. Enough that I had energy and motivation to actually BLOG ABOUT IT. Whaaaaaaat. 

What wins have you had lately? Let's celebrate the wins!