Well, here I am again surprisingly close to my last blog. I have a bad habit of abandoning my blogging duties when things get so busy that my computer gathers dust in the wake. Anyhow, I find it quite ironic that my last post was about getting your "ducks in a row," as there is a vital piece missing from that blog entry. It is the nature of our sport and our horses that despite all the preparations, sometimes things can and WILL go wrong. The important thing is how to bounce back from these inevitable setbacks. If you missed the excitement of Plantation CIC last weekend, there was a large collection of horses and riders that unfortunately got to taste the footing on the cross country. I was one of those riders. After having a brilliant ride through the tough water complex in the CIC** on Sunday, Zara and I had a miscommunication that lead to a major spill on the table at #21. Luckily for both of us, as she went down I was catapulted in one direction and she rolled in the other, and neither of us faced any very major injuries. With a well planned fall season for my horses, a now separated shoulder, and question of how Zara and I will tackle our next big table, I am left with the tough work of picking up my pieces.
First on my list, and should be on anyone's, will be to let myself heal! This sounds easy... who doesn't want a few days of being a couch potato, and resting up a bum shoulder. To answer.... ME! I cannot stand being still, seeing my horses have to take vacation when they are so ready to go, and I feel so fit and game. Days off from riding are the very last thing that I want as I hope to do Fairhill International in 3 weeks. I realize that this goal seems unrealistic with my shoulder, but that is my goal none-the-less.
Next, keep the horses going without micro-managing their rides TOO much. All my horses, whether mine or a clients are on very particular programs, and to deviate from this program is like missing your only TV show that doesn't get re-aired or go online. Disastrous, to anyone that watches a TV show. I have no TV shows. Therefore, my horses must be on their programs! Unfortunately for my needs, my horses' and exerciser's welfare must be a priority, so in order to at least maintain their current situations, I will have to make due with modification.
Another difficult step in picking up my pieces will be being flexible. As much as I love my horses, when I get to be back in the tack, there's a good chance the day that I planned to jump, my arm will be trying to escape from the containment of my shoulder, as it feels it is right now. Sadly those days may fall on an important day, but I will have to stay flexible to allow myself and my horses the best possible schooling and healing.
Along with being flexible, to pick up the pieces I will have to rebuild confidence with patience. I know that I am a strong cross country rider, and that I have conquered some of the toughest advanced tracks around America. But, I also must accept that I am not super-human, and am not immune to the possibility of my own guts being shaken up from our dirt-eating party at Plantation. We will have to start small, and minimize negative experiences AND minimize mistakes if I am to accomplish my goal this fall.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, to make sure my pieces come back together in perfect order I will have to LISTEN TO MY HORSE. If we begin getting back to dressage scores and we don't feel we are together, we will have to take a step back and make sure I'm riding as well as I can be for Zara's sake. If we begin jumping and something seems majorly different in her style or mine, again, we will need to step back and evaluate what's going on. We will need to practice with super mentor Sally to help decide where the issues may be and what can fix them. And lastly, I will have to listen to Zara if we are even on those last few days schooling for Fairhill and she gives me an indication that we are not ready.
I do not undervalue how lucky I am to have a horse quick enough on her feet to at least try and land from our disaster jump. And I will not take for granted that this time our mistake was forgiven, but next time our problems may be much more serious at such a miscommunication.
These are my thoughts for the day my shoulder hurt enough that I am just getting out to the barn at 4:30pm. Resting is like torture, but I know I need it if I want my shoulder to be strong enough. Keep thinking healing thoughts fans, and we will be at Fairhill to root on my fellow riders at our tailgate spot whether or not Zara and I are running.
Check out these awesome photos of Zara from Plantation!