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.