Friday, August 26, 2016

When Mind Over Matter Fails

In my last post, I talked about using the power of mind over matter, and powering through some of my physical tiredness to get everything accomplished during the day. It's largely a mental game... I'd even say it's almost 100% a mental game. I make decisions about myself, about what I am going to do that day based upon how my body feels, and it's up to my brain to sort through those feelings and decide if I need to take care of my body, or I need to push through it and get it done.

But there is a flip side to this. Powering mentally through my days requires my mind to be strong, and healthy. I can make these choices, if my mind is fully functional. But like everyone, I fight my own personal demons, and sometimes these fully override my controls and take me for a completely unwanted ride. I often struggle to cope with utterly crippling depression, which is largely related to my poor stress handling skills, how much sunshine I get a day, and how hormonal I am. Throw these things together at one time, and it's not much fun. This past week in particular, it has been pouring on and off, and I barely saw the sunshine all week. As a solar powered human, this is crippling.

The rain also creates a secondary problem for me. It completely dropkicks my schedule into oblivion. When I am working in barns or in dry covered areas, the weather is not an issue, but there are many places I go that have nowhere to work in the poor weather, so we have to move appointments around. Doing the dance of a thousand reschedules, is what we call it. Last week alone, I missed three heavy days of work in a row due to the weather. We were supposed to be leaving for vacation in Colorado this week. I was frantic and overwhelmed, because I had nowhere to put these people and no time for anything whatsoever.

So, on the days when it was really bad outside and I couldn't work, I stayed in bed. Literally all day, sleeping. It rained for hours on Thursday, dumping a good 4" of rain on us, so I didn't ride. I didn't work anyone. I didn't do anything. I slept. Overnight, it dumped another deluge which brought our 24 hour total up to 10" of rain. Everything was flooded. Everything was a mess.

There was nothing for it. I cancelled my vacation. I opted to stay home and work instead of go enjoy myself camping in Colorado, and I've been full steam ahead ever since.

I've never had to do that before. I've never missed a real vacation because of work. It's a very weird place to be in and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. It was the only choice to be made, so there isn't much to be upset about. It's just... it's weird. I never wanted to cross that threshold, but now I have.

Finding the right balance to life is hard ya'll. I don't think anybody ever really gets there.... it is surely something you just work on, constantly, all the time, your whole life.

Pax and Future Hubs: at 4 weeks, 3 months, 6 monhs, 8 months, and now 16 months. Currently going through an attractive wiener dog stage

Anyway. That's where I've been all week. Just been trying to slog through the mud and the rain and the creeping darkness that I sometimes can't escape from. I've barely done anything but work and sleep, just trying to survive and get it all done.

But the sun has been out for a few days. I dragged myself out of my torpid stupor this afternoon after work and hooked up my trailer. Dylan took his piece of carrot, and followed me back up to the trailer to be groomed and readied. Once there, I tacked up - saddle, bridle, boots, helmet, gloves. I left behind the baggage of the week - still waiting for me upon my return, but not needed for the time being. For now, it was just Dylan, and myself.

Dylan, like many horses, can either be extremely light or extremely heavy and strong depending on how well I am riding. If I am soft and light with the contact, he is soft and light in the bridle. If I get heavy, he leans right back as hard as he can. If my seat is sloppy and flopping around, he is more than happy to run around the arena on his forehand at high speed, but if you sit up and engage your abs, he is completely controllable off your seat alone. He truly has been making a much better rider out of me, because I am free to experiment with all of this, and he already knows and can respond appropriately when I get it right. I am at my best when I am free to think about what I am doing, and then try it and see how it works. Then I can take what worked, and try to make it better. And better. And better.

With Dylan, I am free to think. I have a better awareness now of my individual seatbones than I ever have in my life. I have a better understanding of my core. I looked in the mirror today when we were doing walk work, and saw my right leg, and it was just as pretty as it's ever been, sitting in the best spot it ever has. My left leg will never do that, but it can get close.... it can get better, and it is getting better.

We had an excellent ride. I'm still experimenting a little bit on how best to warm this horse up, and I don't have one concrete warmup I like more than others. Today I chose to walk on a loose rein, then pick up just my snaffle rein only and do some stretching and walk half pirouettes. He was so light and responsive after some back and forth repetitions of this, and maintained it when I picked up the curb rein. He maintained it in the trotwork, and in the canterwork. He felt so easy, and so light, even though he hadn't been worked in a week. I felt so much better.

I'll be riding a lot in the next few days, and intend to break those rides down into more detailed ride posts. I was feeling a bit dried out and uninspired to write over the past week, but a good ride was just what I needed to feel refreshed and ready to get back to life as I am used to. Sometimes you trip on your own feet, but as long as you can find your way back upright again, it's all right.


  1. I feel you about the sunshine. I am desperate for winter to end... and only a good ride can cure those blues :)

  2. Love reading about your rides on Dylan 😀 I've been a fan of him for years!

  3. I also need sunshine to function although whenever I can't get it I take vitamin D and that really seems to help. I can't wait to hear more about your rides on Dylan!

  4. Lack of sunshine combined with lack of pony rides makes me super miserable too. :(

  5. Adulting is the pits sometimes. Glad you have a Dylan to play with.

  6. I'm very similar when it rains as well - glad things are getting better for you.