First Rides

We did it. We had our first ride off property in almost a year. I tried to play it off like I wasn’t nervous, but between being a raging *insert bad word here* the night before and then proceeding to dry heave in between mounting attempts, you could tell.

I know that once I’m in the saddle I’m fine, but it’s just that process of putting my foot in the stirrup that stirs up every anxiety ridden piece of my body. You’d think, “But Maddy… I thought you were okay when it comes to dying.” Well yes, obviously we know about my mental instabilities but the fear is involuntary. It’s like something just takes over my body and there’s nothing I can do about it even if my brain well knows everything is fine. I think a lot of it has to do with not wanting to cause Brantley any additional stress either and always wanted to give him the best chance and set up.

If you know, you know. If you don’t, I’m happy for you ^.^ I finally swung my leg over and we were off on our first hunter pace since June of last year. Short, sweet, and full of mini adventures. He was a super star and I even ended up hopping off to save his boot and ran a bit of the way because there was no spot to get back on. We found a little wooden bridge I used happily as a mounting block and we finished the pace coming in third. Winning? I think so.

Having W and Elijah at the barn has been so motivating and I am beyond grateful. Even though we work almost completely different schedules, knowing that I have someone has made all of the difference. I’m back to riding at least 3-4 days a week and it gets harder to fall into the “ugh I’m a little tired” trap. Sometimes you forget how physically exhausted you can get when you’re mentally exhausted. But I know if I work with the horses, I will feel better. Dopamine man… Dopamine.

I’m working on some new skills and trying to make tiny changes to my day. Little goals for little spurts of mental success. I’ve found that I get these big ideas and set expectations for myself that are a bit overkill and ultimately causes a shutdown where I just end up being a disappointment to myself. So I picked up a journal, because I don’t already have a million, and I’m going to start a “brain dump” habit. Will it work? We’ll just have to wait and see.

I’m feeling really good about Dylan this year and I think that we’ll make it a goal to do at least one hunter pace by the end of the season. I’ll obviously be open to one sooner but once again, setting goals, but realistic and not time-sensitive goals. The plan is to get him out to Arcadia for some long-trotting in the next couple of weeks and get a feel for where he is at. All I need are his mega brakes that he has in the arena to stick with him when we’re in the woods and we’ll be golden. He’s just amazing, baby shark attitude and all.

Today I feel good… I feel positive and hopeful for the future. So I’m writing it down to remember that today I felt like this. It could change in the next few days… it could change in the next few hours. But right now is what counts.

xo Maddy

5 thoughts on “First Rides”

  1. I think everyone knows about that anxiety to some degree and I wish more people would talk and be open about it. I ride all the time and off property multiple times a month and still get that way. Glad y’all got out there and had fun! WIN!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It didn’t help that they had us a park in an open parking lot and the only place to mount was on the black top haha. But it’s really nice to have a friend with you that has seen some of the sh!t that you’ve been through and understands why your head is in between your knees as you dry heave before you get on hahaha.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anxiety is such a funny thing, isn’t it? Mine is a whole lot better than it was 3 years ago, but every once in a while it pops back up when I least expect it and seemingly for no real reason, but obviously my (lizard) brain thinks we’re about to die…like when T asked me to canter in my lesson on Sunday. I wanted to do it! My body was feeling good, I wasn’t gripping, I didn’t feel like I was sliding all over the place, etc. So, was it the surcingle and not being able to brace on my stirrups in self-defense? Was it cantering in general? Was it pressure I’ve put on myself over the years to get it right and do it fast? Who the hell knows! All I know is it cropped up and she basically ignored us and let us continue to walk around until I got it together mentally and got my heart rate down so my horse would stop jigging, and then told me to ask for the canter. It was a beautiful transition and it all went just fine. I wish I knew what it was all about. I am not sure I will ever understand it fully. I have some inklings as to where it stems from but no concrete way to know for sure if that is all there is to it. All that to say — it’s hard. It’s unpredictable. It’s annoying af sometimes. But it’s so gratifying when you are able to push through it or get past it, even if it’s just for a moment — to get to the other side and find the joy again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you were able to push through it and I think honestly that’s exactly what we have to do. I feel like if we just go about and ignore how we’re feeling, it will get worse and more active. But if we acknowledge it, be honest with ourselves, we can work through it and only get better. It’s always going to come up like we’ll always have our insecurities, but we don’t have to let it hold us back. You’ve got this ^.^ and I’m proud of you for taking a second and then nailing that transition.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s