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.