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Cindy Adcock

Achievements

About Cindy Adcock

I am a 59 year old Adult Amateur Beginner Novice Event rider. I have a 16 year old RID mare - Bridon Loughlara (Josie) . She is my red headed mare and has my entire heart. She has given me wings.

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Eventing Granny: It Is All About the Journey

Cindy Adcock, creator of the blog Eventing Granny, describes herself as a “legit” Beginner Novice eventer; her partner-in-crime is Josie, a soon-to-be 16-year-old redheaded Irish Draught mare. “Follow our journey to AECs 2019 in Kentucky where it will also be my 60th year on this earth. I am having a blast as a late to life eventer!” Read more of Cindy’s EN Bloggers Row posts here.

Photo by Cindy Adcock.

Here is my story. I am a 59 year old rider. The discipline I ride is not as relevant as to what I have found out about myself and what I hope others can learn from my story. But,  I am an eventer – a legitimate Beginner Novice eventer. The great part is that my story continues to unfold. I rode as a kid, stepped away from it for a while and then came back to riding in my late 40s.

But even when I was young, I never learned to jump. I just rode. Jumping was on my bucket list of things to learn. So, when I hit my late 40s the horse bug bit again and I found a horse, found a trainer and muddled about. I had dreams but that is about the extent of what they were — dreams. I tried to have goals and I put dates on my goals but I always got in my own way a bit and these dreams remained that, simply dreams. I did not have faith in me. Where that went? I honestly do not know but I became a fearful rider. Fear and doubt are soul sucking and they sits on our shoulder and whisper — what are you thinking? You will NEVER be THAT person. And I listened and let it get the best of me. Fear and doubt  keeps us from finding our true selves. Fear and doubt allow us to settle.

I had friends that did not just dream, but they achieved. They did “things!” Things I wanted to do, yearned to do but never truly believed that I could. I was the outsider looking in, the support person while my friends did the things I wanted to do. And, I hated it and I while I wanted it, the whispers continued — why dream? You will never achieve. Now, do not get me wrong, I tried! But, I never go to the place I wanted to be. I was never at a three-day event with my friends, feeling the excitement of walking up to the start box and hearing the best phrase in the world: the countdown followed by “Have a great ride!”

So, what changed? Where and when did the switch get flipped? Well, here is what I learned. We are limited only by ourselves — nothing more. My mare Josie (16-year-old red-headed Irish Draught) got injured and had to have surgery for bone chips. This caused a move on our part and a change of focus. I found a new trainer who believed in me. I rehabbed Josie and began working with Beth.

Beth Stelzleni is and has been a Godsend to me. I remember having “the talk.” The talk of, here are my goals and are they truly obtainable. Her words? Yes, they are and you should have already been doing them with this horse. You are the only one that has prevented you from achieving these goals. She also said, trust me and do what I say and you will get there. So, I did. Now, the goal was not to WIN but merely to DO! I decided that I would no longer have woulda’, coulda’, shoulda, moments in my riding life. I was no longer willing to settle. I wanted to “do” things. I decided that I would no longer let fear and doubt rule me.

There are quotes and passages that I remembered as I began this journey. There was a blog post from Jane Savoie who said we should look at fear as a positive — “Fear means you’re growing. Every time you stretch yourself, aim a little higher, or take a risk, you’re going to experience some anxiety. So fear itself is not the issue. Fear doesn’t make you a coward. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid.”

From Simon Sinek on nerves vs. excitement, he said in his TED talk, “how everyone deals with situations where we face pressure, and the tendency is to think we are nervous. The body reacts with an increased heart rate; we get tense and maybe a bit sweaty as we anticipate what is ahead. Interestingly, these are the same reactions our body experiences when we get excited. The difference involves learning to interpret the signs through another type of lens. Instead of thinking we are nervous, we need to view it as a level of excitement.”

Photo by Cindy Adcock.

I will NEVER forget my first lesson going cross country. I had a 45-minute trailer ride to Ashland and the WHOLE way there I went – I am excited, I am excited, I am excited. And when the lesson was over? I WAS excited and so happy and proud! Fast forward to competitions and we DID things. At each one I was pushed a bit more than the last. I was told, you WILL canter this whole stadium round. You WILL canter cross country. And, I did!

Here is what else I realized: the fear and doubt never really go away, the journey is about finding out how to deal with them and how to keep the whispers at bay. For me? It involved finding the right horse and the right trainer. The hardest thing for us to do is to realize one or the other is not in OUR best interest. It does not mean that the horse we have is bad or untalented, it just means they are not suited for us. The same with trainers.

Find the trainer that builds you up, but not in a false way. Beth calls my hand on my faults but does so in a way that continues to support me and my goals. I asked her once why I was so dependent on the neck strap – she said because I did not have faith in myself or my abilities. She was right. When I stumble and struggle with an exercise (grids) she will tell me that either it is OK because they are harder or she will say she is surprised I struggled with a particular one. Either way, I know I am progressing. I also know that progress is not a straight line but rather one that has it ups and downs. And, I am OK with that.

My advice is to find a program that works. If a horse or trainer takes from your cup, move on and find a trainer and a program that becomes your tribe. I am so blessed with the people in my life who build me up and support me. My goal is to do the same for them. Find a Josie, find a Beth, find the Holly’s, Jamie’s, Dawn’s, Danielle’s, Amanda’s and Kloie’s in your tribe. The funny thing is? My tribe runs from 11 to 59 and I learn from each and every one of them. Again, we are only limited by what and how we choose to limit ourselves. My other advice? Get in shape and do the work that you are asking your horse to do. That is my current quest and I am on the right path for that as well.

Photo by Cindy Adcock.

My goal? AECs in Kentucky in 2019. I will be 60 and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my 60th year.

Fear as Incentive

Photo by Cindy Adcock. Photo by Cindy Adcock.

Cindy Adcock, creator of the blog Eventing Granny, describes herself as a “legit” Beginner Novice eventer; her partner-in-crime is Josie, a soon-to-be 16-year-old redheaded Irish Draught mare. “Follow our journey to AECs 2019 in Kentucky where it will also be my 60th year on this earth. I am having a blast as a late to life eventer!” Read more of Cindy’s EN Bloggers Row posts here.

Photo by Cindy Adcock.

I need to start this post with an admission and a realization. I can be a chicken-you-know-what rider. What I have realized by that statement and from my, newly found, search for me is this. That is how I have chosen to define myself. No one else puts that exact label on me — I do. I have been told, by my friends, that I am NOT chicken. My trainer tells me I am my own worst enemy and that when I #actuallyride I indeed, actually ride. The phrase – get your head out of your ass and ride – might have been uttered a few times under her breath and not under her breath.

So, why do I hold myself back in my riding and in other aspects of my life? I am coming to conclusion that it is because of fear. And not necessarily fear of getting hurt or fear of failing. Heck, I have gotten hurt (thankfully not seriously) and I have failed (check out some of my scores). I think, in part, it is fear of fear, fear of the unknown, fear of expectations,  fear of having to do the actual work involved to be successful and lastly, the fear of success and having to maintain THAT. With this realization comes the realization that there will always be some fear. It is not the fear that controls us, it is how much control we give that fear.

My own personal fear comes from lack of trust and faith in myself. The trust in my abilities and faith that I can actually do the things I need to do to become a better rider. I originally titled this “Fear as Motivation” and hated that title. I think the actual word “motivation” is BS. “Waiting to be motivated” has never gotten me anywhere. It has not helped me get fit. It has not helped me lose weight. It has not helped my riding one iota. The only thing I have accomplished by “waiting to be motivated” is to kill time.

Photo by Cindy Adcock.

Here is what HAS helped me. The actual doing of things. The actual making the phone call to a former personal trainer I worked with and saying “I need you back in my life to help me get fit (and white breeches worthy).” The actual going to clinics and taking lessons and pushing my fear envelope just a bit more each ride.

When I think back to the lessons that were not so successful I realize it was not because of Josie but rather me. I realize that our success is governed by me actually riding and not simply being a passenger. When I get mad (at myself, seldom at Josie) I do better. When I call myself out on my own BS I am better. Be it riding or be it life.

When I look back over the past year I realize that the things that cause fear have changed. The fear line gets pushed a bit back each ride or each thing I do to make myself a bit better. Things that would have frightened me a few months back? Not so much now. This is where I circle back to fear as incentive. I am NOT fearful but rather I have the habit of using fear as my – I just can’t (fill in the blank). That  is just BS as well.

When we actually DO things – great things result. When we let fear rule our lives we miss out on so much.

I can remember when I have let fear rule and when I have kicked fear in the ass. Simple grids can cause fear in me. Maybe it is being in front of others and comparing myself and my ride to theirs (never a good idea). At a clinic we were doing grids and it was just bad. Teeny, tiny jumps (poles on the ground if the truth be known) and we just sucked. I took Josie away and we galloped. One friend asked another where I was. The friend said – I think she took Josie out to gallop and get her in front of her leg.  he other friend looked and said – Cindy??  I don’t think so. It was not that she thought bad of me – but she knew me and knew the chicken Cindy. We came back to the group and we did better. That day? I kicked my fear in the ass. My first canter through water? Kicked fear in the ass. My first #actuallycanter the entire stadium round? Kicked fear in the ass.

The other thing that helps is realizing that the sensations we feel with fear are exactly the same as when we are excited. Heart beats faster, breathing gets faster. It is better to use the word excited rather than scared. This is one I need to remember and hold onto. So, moving forward I will use my “excitement” as a way to motivate. I will also think of the awesomeness of the start box. The countdown before we start our ride and the joy of flying and the big ass grin when we cross that finish line. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 – Have a great ride! When those last numbers are counted down we do NOT hesitate – we just ride.

Three weeks until Josie has last shockwave and rehab begins. Here is to the awesomeness that is ahead of us. Hear is to not being afraid of the hard work ahead to achieve our goals.

Here is to the start boxes of our lives – 5, 4,3,2,1 – Have a great ride!

Eventing Granny: PSA and Current Status

Cindy Adcock, creator of the blog Eventing Granny, describes herself as a “legit” Beginner Novice eventer; her partner-in-crime is Josie, a soon-to-be 16-year-old redheaded Irish Draught mare. “Follow our journey to AECs 2019 in Kentucky where it will also be my 60th year on this earth. I am having a blast as a late to life eventer!” Read more of Cindy’s EN Bloggers Row posts here.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Adcock.

To keep you up to date, we had first session of shock wave therapy. Over 2,000 pulses to deliver healing to my Josie. Two more to follow. We will do another ultrasound to see how healing is going and determine if light work can commence. My vet has a very precise procedure to follow. Ours might be a bit longer as I am going to see if barefoot works for her. At the end of the day, it is all about what works for her.

Forty-five days into this session of rehab and hand walking gives one time to think, ponder, obsess, plan, scheme and worry. You can also become a bit of a pill. Your horse? Unless they are in pain, care not and really might be blissfully happy with how things are shaking out. Josie is nonplussed by all of this. I have no delusions that she longingly hangs her head over that stall door and goes – what? No riding? No dressage? No jumping? Okay, that last one might even tick her off a bit.

For me? I am trying to not be a total b*tch about the entire thing. Possible lease horses that seemed so perfect are not appearing in that empty stall at the barn. I believe that things do happen for a reason, so I am taking it as a sign to get some other things taken care of. I am at that point of – forget the lease, whatever.

I have started my list of things to NOT say to someone who horse is rehabbing. Some are things to say TO the person and there are some things that you just don’t say AROUND that person. Now, the things to NOT say? Well, a couple you can say IF you are willing to actually HEAR the answer. If you are NOT ready for a 15 minute talk? Don’t ask.

  1. How is Josie (or, fill in any rehab horse’s name)? She is healing – I hope it heals completely but I have moments where I worry that she won’t completely heal – do you REALLY want to go down that road with me?
  2. She looks good! SHE is blissfully happy – I feel like crap but putting on a happy face.
  3. Still handwalking?  *As one is handwalking*
  4. Have you tried… Have a plan in place – thanks.
  5. Have you thought of… Google is my friend.
  6. It could be worse…  We know it could be worse.
  7. At least it is not… We say that to ourselves every time we whine about a mere 90 days.
  8. At least it happened while it is so hot. Or so cold, or so rainy – you get the idea.
  9. It is SO hot! I already rode and I am DYING! Really? I just walked my horse for an hour and I am equally hot and did not get to have the same fun you just did RIDING!
  10. I am just not up to riding my multiple horses today. Really? I feel ya.
  11. It could be so much worse! Yes, I am guilty of saying this to a friend. We know it could have been worse. We are grateful it is NOT worse but this still sucks.
  12. How long will the rehab take? Forever. For-freaking-ever…

Here are the things we do want to hear

  1. This completely sucks for you – I am so sorry! Thanks! It really does and I DO appreciate you saying simply this!
  2. I hate that you can’t do the… clinic, camp, lessons you love. Thanks!  Again – just this.
  3. We do want to hear about the fun things you are doing with YOUR horse! Even if I can’t participate I do want to share in your fun!
  4. Call our hand when our whining gets out of control. Are you REALLY my friend? Call out my BS – no one wants to be that whiny cow all the time.

I am grateful for the friends I have in my life that put up with my pity party moments. I try and not have them too often, but they do happen. I know this is just a bump in the road and it will all be okay. The timing is what the timing is. I do enjoy the walks and I do enjoy just that time that is ours. Yesterday, as we walked, she and I were just “there” and Josie nuzzled me. I know it will be alright and that she will be alright. We have our talks. I have explained to her that she needs, in the future, to NOT be so forgiving and to call my hand on some of my BS while riding.

This too will pass and be a memory. We will take our time and not rush the rehab and be back out doing the stuff we love.

Eventing Granny: Feedback Loop – It Can Be Heaven or It Can Be Hell

Cindy Adcock, creator of the blog Eventing Granny, describes herself as a “legit” Beginner Novice eventer; her partner-in-crime is Josie, a soon-to-be 16-year-old redheaded Irish Draught mare. “She is so awesome and the perfect partner for me to do this,” Cindy says. “She loves to jump, hates dressage and takes awesome care of me! I have had her for almost four years and she is SO glad that we are finally doing this! Follow our journey to AEC’s 2019 in Kentucky where it will also be my 60th year on this earth. I am having a blast as a late to life eventer!” Read more of Cindy’s EN Bloggers Row posts here.

Photo by Cindy Adcock.

April 27 seems longer than simply a month ago. But about a month ago was when Josie got injured. Now, the good news? We are 30 plus days into a 90-day rehab and the knot on her leg has gone down. First course of shockwave is this Thursday followed by two more and hopefully a return to work.

The first 30 days of hand walking consisted of me and Pandora. The next 60 days incorporate my summer reading lists of audio books. Here is that list, if anyone is interested.

Braving the Wilderness – Brene Brown
Getting to Yes – Roger Fisher
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Conversations with God – Neil Donald Walsch
I thought it was just me – Brene Brown
The Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
Sacred Success – Barbara Stanny
5 second Rule – Mel Robbins
Playing Big– Tara Mohr
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – T Harv Eker
The Desire Map – Danielle LaPorte
Awaken The Giant Within – Tony Robbins
The Big Leap – Gay Hendricks
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself – Dr. Joe Dispenza
Daring Greatly — Brene Brown

I use to be a huge reader and somewhere along the way, that habit passed. I am choosing audio books because of the sheer amount of time I am on the road with my day job. It beats listening to news channels where, ironically, no real news is given. I am two books in and the second one I downloaded I am listening to for the second time. It is The Subtle Art. I must say, it is epic and very timely. I do think this is a must read for everyone. Whether or not this book would speak to you or not — there are points to ponder.

One thing I find myself do (and am working on to NOT do) — The Feedback Loop from Hell. What happens with this lovely little loop is we find something to fixate on. It might be the smallest thing on the face of God’s green earth but we do it. Then we get mad at ourselves for going down that road because we know it is silly. THEN we get mad that we are getting mad. For me? It is all about my perceptions of where I SHOULD be in my riding. Comparison is a bitch. It is hard to not go down this path. Here is my feedback loop.

Me: I should be further along than I am, I suck as a rider

Me: Are you kidding me?! Look how far you have come! Two years ago? Hell, one year ago you were just “doing” not #actuallyriding. Sweet mother, get your head out of your arse.

Me: Geez, you are right, I suck for thinking I suck.

Me: But look at what so and so is doing, look at them!

Me: Really? Didn’t we just cover this. Geez, you are exhausting!!

Me: Well, now I feel bad for making myself feel bad and putting myself out and exhausting myself.

#mybrainisacomplicatedplace

The good news? I am normal, or at least I hope I am normal! I think we all do this to a varying degree and we are NOT doing ourselves any favors. Yes, there are people who are way further along than I am but there are also people who would love to be where I am. It is how it always is and how it always will be.

Here is something else I am learning. If I don’t fail, I won’t progress. Yes, doing something right is good but failing at something and THEN getting it right? That is a sweet feeling. Beth is constantly telling me that when I get out of my own way I am better than I think I am. The trick is to get out of my way more and quicker. Then I can progress, then I can improve.

I want to be brave and bold. But wanting to be something is not actually BEING something. The question is one for me to continue to ponder and work on. How to be brave and bold? At the heart of that question is another one – how can I be brave and bold if I do not trust myself and my riding? If I believe I can, truly believe that I can do whatever it is I want to do – then I should be able to. That I can’t be brave and bold on a consistent basis speaks more to the fact that at some level I still do not QUITE trust myself and what I can do. I WANT to trust myself – I just don’t. Still working on this answer but I do know that part of the answer is in the doing, in the failing and in the accomplishing. I have to be unafraid of failing in order to be brave and bold.

Acknowledging the feedback loop and finding a positive one rather than the one from hell? That is what the goal is. Well, that and a sound pony…!

Photo by Cindy Adcock.

Eventing Granny: Timing and Figuring out the Why’s

 Cindy Adcock, creator of the blog Eventing Granny, describes herself as a “legit” Beginner Novice eventer; her partner-in-crime is Josie, a soon-to-be 16-year-old redheaded Irish Draught mare. “She is so awesome and the perfect partner for me to do this,” Cindy says. “She loves to jump, hates dressage and takes awesome care of me! I have had her for almost four years and she is SO glad that we are finally doing this! Follow our journey to AEC’s 2019 in Kentucky where it will also be my 60th year on this earth. I am having a blast as a late to life eventer!”

Timing has hit me square in the face twice in the last week and now I get to figure out the why of each.

The first is a gut punch and a wake up call all in one. Josie is injured. Lesion on her check ligament with a minimum of 60 days of stall rest. Why did this happen now? How did this happen now? We were making such great strides and life was good! But, as everyone knows, horses can be fickle and one wrong step can slow down progress or end a career. I knew something was up after Gibbes. I just knew the swelling on her leg was not normal. Was I grateful it was ONLY the check ligament? You bet I was!

I was really proud that I had not gone off on my standard Google search and reading all the worst possible scenarios. Having dealt with a horse with a suspect suspensory injury I knew the fickle nature of that one. My immediate thoughts went to splint (too high), deep digital (please God, not that) and medial (again, please no). So, yes, I am grateful it is the check ligament. This is a totally recoverable, no limitations injury – just do the protocol and we should be fine. Shock wave is in her future after 30 days. For now? Josie is enjoying the life she really feels befits her. No work, a ton of hay and hand walking.

So, here were my choices: rail against the universe, whine and bemoan my misfortune, or move forward. I have come to realize that setbacks are a part of life and it is how we choose to look at them and try and figure out the why that makes us better or worse. As my vet and I talked things out, planning for the next 60 days I decided I could take the 60 days to improve myself. Later, in this post, they why became a bit more evident.  Since Josie has a (as I like to call it) not a  – sweet mother of God and all that is holy – injury. But rather a  – well, dammit – injury, I have decided to take the 60 days to improve myself. Improve my fitness and improve my eating and be a better partner for her. We are now on full preventive protocol moving forward – icing, poultice and wrapping, the whole shebang.

I had no plans to go to Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Horse Park this year. But, fate intervened and my wonderful friend Sally offered me tickets.  I said yes, then tried to bail when Josie got hurt. We were set to leave on Thursday but I could not go – vet due on Thursday.  My trainer Beth said, “Go to Kentucky, I will update you on what vet says.” Nope, just couldn’t do that as I had to hear it first hand. Got the news, stopped at Dunkin on my way out of town to drown my sorrows and drove to Kentucky. Knowing that Josie was left in more than capable hands made going a no brainer. Beth and Jaime had my back and getting away was what I needed. The texts and pics of Queen Josie being pampered helped too!

So, off to Kentucky I go. Here is when the why started to make a bit of sense. Now, I am a huge fan of Leah Lang Gluscic. HUGE! I am lucky enough to know Leah and am not ashamed to say that she is my #WCW on a regular basis. She is such a good rider, does right by her horses and can clearly spot a diamond in the rough. Well, her course walks at Kentucky are quite wonderful. She explains her thought process of walking the course and her prep to get there. What she said  when asked about how she gets fit hit home. She does it because she owes it to her partner. She doesn’t feel like she can ask more of them than she does of herself. That hit home with me, big-time. So, yeah, time to change up some things and be a better partner to Josie. Part of it we will do together as she can be hand-walked as much as we want. An hour of walking will help us both. So, there was my first why — I need to change for her and for me to be a better partner. Did my lack of fitness play a part in her injury? Maybe. Regardless, that now will change and by putting it in words, it causes accountability.

Here is where things get surreal. At least for me they do. Me and my friends were at cross country at Kentucky. We had hung out at a few jumps – the hollow, then went by the picnic table and then went to the ditch and wall. There I made a video and chose to do it in slow motion (cause I LOVE that feature on my iPhone). Here comes a rider so I am ready. Little did I know (at the time) that I was videoing Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST over the ditch and wall and then decided to post it online.  To say it was a hit is a bit of an understatement. I have never done anything that remotely went viral in my entire existence but for this one short video.

Now, what are the odds that I would be at that jump at that precise moment to capture this on video? I had not planned to be there to watch Michael Jung go over this – timing! Talk about being at the right place at the right time!! Timing is everything in life and figuring it out can be a head scratcher moment for sure! Current count is 780,000 plus views and going strong. 3,000 plus reactions, 11,400 plus shares and 300 plus comments. A ton of new Facebook friends who are loving and sharing this brief 11 second video. Comments from people all across the world! That one thing could bring so many people together with so much positive energy and just the sheer enjoyment of watching one awesome rider and one awesome mare fly is quite amazing to me!

So, yeah, my journey with Josie takes a pause but I am excited for the pause because I need to be better. I need to be stronger and fitter for my partner. (Thanks Leah!) And, now, maybe some other people will also see our story because of a short video. And maybe, just maybe some part of this blog will ring true to them and give them the encouragement to not quit but to embrace this journey we go on and to develop this partnership that we all so richly deserve.

To be around the people I am around is quite rewarding for me and I hope each of you are as lucky as I am with your village. Mine grew quite a bit this weekend. Enjoy the video again!!

Michael Jung. #enoughsaid #LRK3DE2018 #Eventing #EN

Posted by Cindy Adcock on Saturday, April 28, 2018

Eventing Granny: Feeling Like the Weakest Link

Join us in welcoming Cindy Adcock, creator of the blog Eventing Granny, to Blogger’s Row! Cindy describes herself as a “legit” Beginner Novice eventer; her partner-in-crime is Josie, a soon-to-be 16-year-old redheaded Irish Draught mare. “She is so awesome and the perfect partner for me to do this,” Cindy says. “She loves to jump, hates dressage and takes awesome care of me! I have had her for almost four years and she is SO glad that we are finally doing this! Follow our journey to AEC’s 2019 in Kentucky where it will also be my 60th year on this earth. I am having a blast as a late to life eventer!”

Photo courtesy of Cindy Adcock.

We all remember the TV show in which it was the ultimate utterance: “You ARE the weakest link.” Well, that is what is currently ruminating through my head and trust me, it is not a pretty place to be. Shared the meme with a friend as I lamented my failures related to the past weekend – imagined and real.  She is a true friend in that she lets me wallow — but only for a bit — then we have real discussions on why I feel the way I feel.

Why do I allow myself to go there? More important, why do I allow myself to REMAIN there. Does it serve a purpose? Doubtful. Yet, there I be and there I struggle to exit the pit of self pity and self indulgence.

The clinic was a three-day clinic at lovely Gibbes Farm in St. Matthews, SC, an eventer’s paradise. Trust me on that. Water, logs, banks, ditch and walls, trakehners — you get the picture. You want a jump? It is there and the levels are from Tadpole to Prelim and beyond. The weather was PERFECT! No rain, no cold and wind was manageable. The company? Again, PERFECT! Some of my absolute favorite people were at the clinic.

The clinic was set up as follows: day 1 was grid day, jumping from arena footing into grass footing so we could get use to changes in terrain and adjusting our horse. Days 2 and 3 were all cross country, starting with basics and moving to small courses.

I am a slow starter when it comes to the lessons of the day. It takes me a while to get out of my head and actually ride. That in and of itself is cumbersome and frustrating. Why do I have to get mad to actually ride? Not mad at Josie but mad at me? She is only mimicking those signs and signals I am giving her (the tattletale). It is ME. We work through my issues and end up having a good ride. As I sit here typing away I am able to focus on the positive while pushing some of the negative out of my head (the struggle is real, people). Were we better than last clinic? Yes. Did I get to the #actuallyriding faster than before? Yes. So, all in all, day 1 was a success.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Adcock.

Day 2: Out to the big field and off we go jumping all the things. Well, all the smaller things – Beginner Novice – hopefully. Here is where the problem lies in this brain of mine. I jump the jumps and do as I am told. Yes, I was able to get my head out of my arse. It took a while, but I did it. I do all I can to NOT compare myself to other riders in the group. I promise! But, I do compare and therein lies the weakest link projection and there that tiny demon lady sits on my shoulder whispering in my ear, you ARE the weakest one out here. But not during the ride – it is well after that she visits.

I despise her and I do all the things I know to do to kick her out of my head. Dang it, woman! Look how FAR you have come in a year! (Backstory for those catching up: I am 59 and a late-in-life eventer. I only REALLY learned to jump about a year ago so yeah, I have THAT going for me.) Last year at this time the thought of #actuallycanter scared the every loving crap out of me. Wait, what?? Canter TO the jump and then JUMP it? Are you mad? But now? Yes m’am – and I am off. We jump everything I am told to jump and I am pleased with myself — THEN….

Day 3: Short lived – Josie was slightly off so off for icing and wrapping she went. Does that play into all of this? Maybe.

Where the demon lady creeps is looking at ALL the pics from ALL the other riders. They fly. There are pics of them in flight over the jumps. None exist of me — I cannot find one and for that reason, the whispering begins. Comparisons absolutely suck. I wish there was a fancier word but for the moment it simply escapes me. Gawd! Do not get me wrong! I am so happy and proud of my friends and what they accomplished over the weekend. Their posts showing their awesomeness were wonderful to read! I was there! I saw it! I embrace it for them as I know their struggles. Ponies coming back from injuries. Ponies who were overlooked because they are snowflakes. I KNOW their struggles and still I compare myself to them.

I know, in my head, that this is my journey and I need to embrace THAT. Embrace my improvements and embrace how each ride my envelope gets stretched a tiny bit more. That is what I tell myself in my head. My heart? That is a different issue altogether. I long to be able to throw my heart over a fence and follow it. I long to totally and completely get my head permanently out of my arse so I CAN #actuallyride.

What pictures I do find I pick apart with a ton of self criticism. Again, why? Why do I do that?? What purpose does it serve? Self critiquing, in my opinion, is not the same as self criticism. One is educational – the other is self defeating. As I work through this, and I will work through this – I honestly have no other choice but to work through it – I am thankful that I have the support I need TO work through it.

I will say that doing this blog does help as far as exorcising demons. Getting it out there is cathartic and will help me work through it. It is all about the journey. Each ride I learn something about myself. Some good, some not so good – but I am better than I was the day before. That makes me hopeful.