Tag Archives: confidence

Believe Your Own BullShit

We humans are experts at perpetuating our own patterns. For better or for worse. Usually against our own benefit…

So much so that often we don’t even believe ourselves when our true selves are trying to lead us onto a better path.

Unsurprisingly, only two lessons back into riding on a more dedicated level then I have in years and I’m finding philosophical life lessons being thrown at me left and right.

Coming back into the game after a few years off, riding a much different style of horse then what I’ve worked with before, I’m being confronted with all my old baggage.

While I’m not covered in as much rust as I thought I would be, old habits are dying hard. It’s like a Pandora’s box of baggage has been opened and needs to be organized and hung out to dry.

Warming up today the words that floated to me from the eyes on the ground suggested that I am riding like I’m riding a young horse. Supportive, encouraging, trying to lead the way and being overly accommodating. I was presented with an amazing analogy for my go to leadership style. Teacher all the way- lead by example and empower. This style works sometimes for me- but not all the time, and actually as of late- rarely. The words that followed next smacked me in the head with another relatable flow of logic. You need to tell and direct, not suggest and expect.

I’ve seen in the last while that my greatest strength and weakness is seeing the absolute best in those around me. Empath to the core- I can see you’re greatest potential before I even know you’re last name… and that often gets in the way of really being helpful in leadership/teaching/management.

I’m now riding a horse that has the power and ability to do whatever I ask. Tell him the plan and he will get it done. However, suggest an idea and expect him to collaborate on a plan? Not very effective with his archetype. He really is a mirror for many of the other situations I’ve approached with my habitual way of wanting others to empower themselves through situations (be them personal, relationship, or professional).

When I was directed to quit letting him decide where we were going and tell him what we were doing and how we were doing, something clicked.

Through all my confidence and leadership ability- I do indeed have a tendency to defer decision making. I personally learn through experience, and want every else to learn about themselves in a similar way. In a past relationship I did exactly what I was doing during this ride.. deferred direction to the other, assuming growth would occur from them having to figure things out and allowing myself to follow in their process. While growth certainly did happen, a lot of unnecessary time was spent being “dragged around” so to speak.

Unsurprisingly, the theme of power has come up frequently in meditations lately. It seems that a voice within me and situations around me keep telling me that I have some work to do around believing in my power, speaking that power, and becoming that power. Power– so many of us attribute it negatively. Is it though? When used towards our higher purpose and used to navigate ourselves and others towards a fulfilling destination?

I’ve sacrificed the idea of power and replaced it with the ideal of service in many contexts, especially in close personal relationships. I learned a lot. And I’m grateful for those lessons. Yet, I also experienced so much anger and frustration at that sacrifice. Was I truly serving anyone for the greater good? Or just playing nice and hoping.. hoping for the ‘right’ outcome, not even truly knowing what outcome that should be. I needed to experience that anger and frustration to learn what standing my ground meant. Where I thought it might mean losing something I valued, it really only demonstrates what is actually of value. Speaking from a place of inner power/value/purpose takes out the unnecessary and clears the path for the next step. What gets lost becomes less valuable and powerful then you once thought it was, and what remains is what is worth cultivating.

In my businesses- I can forge ahead and get so far ahead of myself and the team that I come off as intimidating, and I’ve often slowed my own process by getting caught up in wondering why nobody else sees my vision– instead of just directing and explaining the steps to accomplish that vision to the others involved. As I get more clear in my direction and communication- I’m seeing what I want to see happen in those around me. They become empowered, they communicate, they inspire and push harder towards the direction I lay out. There’s no equality, only motivated collaboration and new growth as a result.

I can motivate, inspire, and direct others… but if I take my leg off right at the moment where the next navigation is needed, less then optimal results come through. In reality it’s just miscommunication, confusion, and stutter steps.

Similarly, if I am too accommodating in my direction and collaboration, we don’t get anywhere. One party is happy to plod along and the other is aimlessly encouraging. There’s no connection.

My favourite line from this morning’s philosophical ride through a jump course/life was “believe your own bullshit”.

When you think you’re right, but doubt your correctness and don’t follow through with a direction/intention/cue.. it creates the same results as above. You’re bullshit, or your gut, or your inner thought- is almost ALWAYS right. Believe it. Even if you think it’s bullshit. Ride through it. Don’t play nice and let him (the horse)/life/another person lead.. you’re right. Direct the situation, even if it feels like you’re full of it.

Riding has always been a mirror for me. Just as yoga, meditation, and other things are as well. Riding doubles as having a physical, 1300lb, living breathing mirror to nail home it’s point. Returning now has unveiled many insecurities, blocks, and patterns in my psyche for review.

As I drove out to the barn this morning I was washed over with gratitude. For my mother who always sacrificed where she could to make my riding dreams a reality. The coaches I’ve been blessed with all the way through, all with their own philosophical roles in my growth and development in the saddle, and out. My high school principle who allowed me to use my spares in senior year to go to the barn and train. The profs who let me persist in being the “horse girl” and do any project possible focused to the equestrian. The opportunity to ride this horse I’m on now. The riders who participated in my early projects and those who came on as clients as I grew my understanding of changing how we develop athletes in this sport so many of us are addicted to.

Leaving the barn after the lesson I was blasted with reflections on situations gone by. How I played nice and hoped that the person or group involved would learn, choose themselves and see the collective vision– usually sacrificing myself in the process– where I could have stood my ground and navigated with some gumption instead. Sure, maybe the outcomes wouldn’t have changed. I obviously needed to experience all these events in the sequence they’ve occurred to get to where I am now… and boy, am I soaking up each and every experience.

We have the amazing ability to create our own realities. In this day and age, almost nothing is impossible. How many of us actually take initiative and choose to navigate towards the reality we want? How many of us can sit with our own bullshit and see the possibilities that lie within it?

Put your leg on, sit tall, and ride on through. The power is there, you just have to direct it.

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So here we are.

“So here we are, in our rags, walking down a road we’ve never seen before with the mark of our wild nature glowing through us. It is fair to say that conjunctio is insisting on a revision of the old you. Conjunctio is not something that goes out and gets. It is something that occurs because hard, hard work is being done.” CPE, Women Who Run With Wolves

I wrote last about exhaustion and faith. Of clarity through the fog.

Conjunctio- a theme that appeared in my morning read of Clarissa Pinkola Estes “Women Who Run With Wolves”, is a term coming from the practice of alchemy meaning a higher transformative union of unlike substances. A process of conjunction and pressure of dissimilar elements inhabiting the same space where insight and knowing are made. The part of the book she brings this up in is after the description of the “devil” aspect of our psyche, where a dual nature is symbolized within the psyche. A nature that both badgers us for something and heals us simultaneously. A process where something is lost or transmuted into the combination becoming more.

My dreams a few nights in a row now have been frequented with images of my time in New Zealand. Mostly periods of time spent in contemplation. Which, looking back, was a large theme of the trip (after coming face to face with myself for the first extended period of time distraction free). Long bus rides, long walks, long walks fronting for escapes from a reality I didn’t like. Time to mull over my emotion (at the time, I’m not sure I realized this is what I was doing) and time to prepare myself for the negativity I was keeping myself in during that brief period. Monotonous days made monotonous only due to the fact I was running from the truth I was feeling so strongly within. And, after this period, snapshot style images floating through my subconscious dream-state of even longer times of sitting with my surroundings (internally and externally), digesting, observing.

Through the last couple weeks I’ve been hit with many realizations.

The things I used to describe my ideal life by have become truths of my everyday ventures.

Last weekend I ended a week of clients with a day spent at a sporting event promoting my business while offering services and medical coverage to athletes. This day filled with being thrown right back into the field and having a line of up of sweaty, battle-worn athletes that needed everything I had all day was like reliving the reasons that drew me into this career in the first place. I took a short break away from this event to teach a class under the RideWell heading- where another group of dedicated athletes encompassed the other portion of why I love what I do. Teaching, educating, empowering those who are ready and looking for what I can offer.

After all that I hopped on a plane and flew to a city quickly feeling like a second home, Calgary. Here I spent 3 days enveloped in new professional and personal focuses. From old connections to new, the whole time I spent there I was continually surrounded by the calmness that I described in my last blog. A faith so strong that it’s next to impossible to imagine things not working out or aligning just right.

Indeed, through conversations had while in Calgary- it came to light that things I’d been saying for years, or had in the back of my mind as “eventuals” were seemingly already occurring or about to. Needless to say, it is not hard for me to find and create opportunity out West.

A life lived in many facets has always sat well with me. It’s what I’ve looked towards. Endless opportunity.

Since beginning a slow return to riding myself I’ve noticed a shift back into what I think of as “athlete mind”. Something that can be a trickster for us who work with athletes, but a trait that sets many apart on their journeys nonetheless.

As thing seem to align West, the little irritations or blocks I’ve noticed home in Winnipeg seem to be more.. synchronistic. In that, as I trust and direct my energy towards what feels right, everything else seems to solve itself. The practice I’ve built here is becoming more observably more then just myself. The idea of me creating a self-sustaining (to an extent) opportunity for clients and practitioners to thrive within while I pursue endless other ideas is all of a sudden much more realistic and timely.

RideWell (new venture) is heading West to networking at Spruce Meadows this summer. Integrative is moving into new, open space with a strong team within it. Making it logical for me to let it grow into the vision I’ve set for it, while I create avenues leading away (and back to) the original brand.

The idea of my equestrian focused practice expanding to a larger market all of a sudden is pushed into gear as I put some vested energy into opening the door I shoved my foot into West of MB.

Did I think these motivations and ideas would be brought to light so soon in my career because of a sporadic decision to fly to another province for a date? Absolutely not, but would it be me if there wasn’t a hint of wild adventure along the way?

Energy flows where attention goes, and lately I’ve had to stop and contemplate the strange way my motivation has moved and drawn me towards what I’ve always said I wanted.

Unsurprisingly the theme of my meditation this morning, and the tarot card I drew for myself was a card of contemplation.

Imagery wise, seven pentacles (symbol of material possessions, career, etc) aligned in a diagonal row- with symmetrical lines forming square points at each circled pentacle. An orderly, curious image- all at once.

The last few years I’ve seen myself move away from a intrinsically hyper-motivated athlete mind to a “go with the flow, let go, recovery” state. Partially due to injury and illness, and shifts in focus. It’s nonetheless been a beneficial state.. and now, things are moving back to operating for high performance (this doesn’t exclude periods of the above recovery minded state). The win being whatever the f I want it to be in the short and long term.

It often takes a minute of stepping back, counting the things lining up and the possibilities behind each, taking in the larger perspective to really note what is more valuable: wandering along or a intentional direction.

When I look back on the last two years I see a intentional direction with a unintentional lack of long view purpose.

In the last 6months I’ve seen that purpose align and clarify.

In the last 3months I’ve become confident in that purpose and noticed other doors open.

Behind each door is more reflection, more contemplation, more energy to direct.

As I observe that process I am noting that I’ve only begun to tap into my potential, and the potential of my ideas. I am so much more then what I am right now, and I have already proven that in looking behind at the chapters I’ve written.

The fascinating thing about creating a business (or two+) out of your dreams and ideas is that it is a tangible measure of your personal development and commitment to your purpose.

Every step forward comes with the acknowledgement of a reflection shining back at me from some other aspect of my life. A person, a memory, a emotion I can’t quite place, a connection or disconnection that’s stuck with me. More then ever I’m aware of inconspicuous guides surrounding me. Often in the form of fellow humans entering (and exiting) my life as if right on cue.

This is all a reminder of staying focused, but not too focused on it all. Often the most subtle, only seen in the peripheral (or hindsight) are the things with the strongest meaning.

“The psyche of woman must constantly sow, train, and harvest new energy in order to replace what has been worn out.. there is constant living, constant death dealing, constant replacement of ideas, images, energies…” -CPE, Women Who Run With Wolves

A period of contemplation, indeed. The soil is fertilized and ready for spring, now which seeds to plant and how to nurture the growth?

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For You

I skied in the mountains for the first time in my life this past week.

While I’ve skied once before as a teenager on some lowly prairie hills, skiing is a fairly new skill for me.

Luckily, I had a professional ski coach in my party of travelers (this was an after retreat week to a series of national level board of director meetings) to get us novices set up. The first instructions he gave me on technique were essentially the same goals you would set for good hunter riding technique. A sport I was competitive in for a large section of my life. It got suddenly easier to coordinate after that skill transfer took place!

As I was going down the slopes I noticed fear.

It crept in with every new feeling under my skies.

The more it crept in the faster I seemed to go and the more I lost control. The faster it all came at me and the more unbalanced I felt. Which made it even more of a “shit shit shit” moment.

Until I listened to the little voice saying “chill the f out” (my intuition only continues to get blunter).

The last few years have brought me so many moments where the “simple” act of letting go of something (emotion, fear, people, history, expectation) has brought the pace back into control, clarity to my path, and coordination into actions.

Connecting the dots this week made me think of all the people I meet so stuck in fear.

Pain, depression, health problems, regrets, negative stress… all can be related back to fear (scientifically, for real).

Fear is engrained in our dna. We depended on it for survival, but now fear has taken on whole new meaning. No longer do we use it to spur the fight or flight response- we LIVE in a constant fight or flight state which creates paralysis.

Human nature is linked with shared fears.

Fear of being left behind.

Fear of not being loved.

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of what haunts us.

Fear of losing control.

Fear of FEELING, of discomfort, of pain.

That statement encompasses physical, mental, and emotional progress for so many people.

At this point in health we KNOW that emotional and mental states directly impact our physical states.

I used to be ultra competitive. When I was riding competitively my life revolves around pushing to be better physically and mentally. This went along with being a university student too. Life was constant motion. Intense exercise was therapy, riding was grounding, and school was terrifying in a good way. Working during this period was survival and sacrifices to my time and energy were the ingredients.

I had a chronic back injury that became so engrained in my competitive state it was anxiety inducing to not have it around when I was competing for a while.

After I graduated and had sold my competition horse (weird correlation in these couple years) I entered a awkward in between phase. My motivation behind intense exercise had disappeared and my mental drive turned towards finding new ways to survive in a way that didn’t drain me.

I found it. I started a business around it, and began building.

A different kind of stress.

Now survival wasn’t about structured sacrifice (work this schedule, complete these courses, intern at this location for x amount of hours), rather- it was a new level of pouring everything into my ideas with the complete understanding that I may receive nothing in return.

I understand now why many small businesses fail in the early stages.

Skills are one thing but having the resilience and blind faith to keep going with absolutely no guarantees of success is a whole new level of looking fear in the eyes.

Mid way through Uni I had a concussion that taught me depression and anxiety in a whole new way.

That experience showed me that giving name to our worst nightmares makes having a conversation with them easier.

Then you add in messy relationships, sacrificed social life, and an already rocky phase of life..

I broke my leg, I got so sick I was bedridden for a month and unable to handle any stress for a year after. I had to learn to be still.

I went through the pain of heartbreak on so many different levels with one person again and again.. and in that continued to go deeper into my fear of not being good enough, my deep desire to see others live their truths, and the realization that no matter what you do within yourself or for others it will not matter to anyone else until they’ve done the same for themselves.

In the end it’s all a mirror, and sometimes that reflection won’t change no matter how hard you look at it.

And that realization and act of release does not under any circumstances devalue the significant feelings you once had, and have for the history.

If anything, it honors all of it.

Remember with gratitude and send love to the pain inside yourself and in others.

(Absolutely no coincidence here that my broken leg and nerve damage healed at the same pace my emotional scars healed).

My motivation got stronger but in an entirely different way. I learned to let go of so many things and in those acts of letting go I had to let go of a specific way of pushing myself.

It wasn’t enough or functionally anymore to push harder and harder. I would get sick. Burn out. And my mom got sick of me calling her in hysterics bi-weekly.

I look at how I used to be obliging. To myself and with other’s expectations of me. Whatever was asked I would do it and do it competitively. It worked for that phase of my life.

Now… now I am motivated by potential but not by others and often not even by my own intrinsic words- not in the same way, anyway.

I’m more rebellious now. More apt to set impossibly high standards of others just to see if they will make the effort to reach for them. More likely to do the opposite of what someone says I “should” do. I did a complete sideways leap and had to learn how to get myself motivated differently.

I’m still competitive but my strategy has changed drastically.

I still work harder mentally and physically but I’ve gotten efficient with my energy.

I outsource to others to assist with pushing, healing, organizing, and brainstorming.

I am secure within my value, but in that realization I know that I can’t do it alone.

You can ask for help and not have to rely on others.

Where I used to pull from physically discomfort to ground me- I draw on all spectrums of uncomfortable now to learn from.

Fear doesn’t scare me anymore.

But I am grateful for experiencing paralysis due to fear, when it has.

I look at others telling themselves and everyone who will listen how they can’t do something they’ve always dreamed of doing and wonder if they ever think “what if..”.

That’s how it starts, isn’t it. A questioning of something terrifying.

Looking a little longer into that dark shadowed staircase of a “can’t” or “its always been this way” or “the doctor told me..” or “nothing has ever worked to change xyz problem, so I just have to live with it”.

It’s the examination of all those times your gut says.. is this right?

It’s the test that comes when you love yourself enough to walk away from something or someone that you love just as much.

It’s the realization that things happen for you, not to you.. (Ed Mylett quote that should become everyone’s mantra).

That everything in this world wants you to succeed and whatever you want to succeed at- but requires you to open up and run head first into finding that out for yourself. (Read: The Alchemist, no it’s not just fiction- it is truth).

As a movement specialist- I understand how valuable it is to be aware. There are times to push harder, times to let go, and times to remember how to breathe.

As a human just as much a wandering soul as we all are- I see now how it’s less about expectations and reactions, and much more about stepping back, sideways, and forwards to get a clearer perspective and taking what you need from any given situation and finding value to move onto the next.

The rest will sort itself out if your intentions TO YOURSELF are authentic.

If you don’t know where to start, start by reading books of any sort, spending time outside of your routine (go to the woods if you sit in an office all day, walk around the city if you spend all day in the woods), and spending time with people who challenge you to be better. Those you admire so much you almost want to run away from them. That TERRIFIED feeling is telling you something. Do not ever be afraid of yourself.

Intuition is only developed by listening without judgement, and inquiring honestly internally about everything.

I am far from fearless (nor do I ever want to be), but I am willing. The answer to how I do it?

I just do.

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Powerful

“You don’t even know how powerful you are yet”

A friend told me that, earlier this year.

They were right.

This whole year I’ve been in a power struggle with my own being.

I started the year on the fumes of a year full of a “let go” theme. I rolled into the New Year set on shedding and grooming my self care. And in that new routine practice I found a voice that had been waiting.. waiting for a chance to speak.

That voice came out with friends, in self talk, with clients, in my business, and in networking.

It scared me. Often.

Then I noticed.. it only was scary when I tried to hold it in, or didn’t trust it.

The more I got comfortable with speaking the truth pouring out from within- the less terrifying it became. As I learned how to express tact with honesty I saw how my words created power for others.. empowered their own inner dialogue to shift.

In that process I began sensing efficacy in that inner fire. The inner power.

I realized that for so long I associated power with ego, and ego was something I’d worked so hard on releasing attachements to.

But.. are power and ego the same thing?

Not essentially, no.

“You haven’t realized how powerful you are”.. no.. I haven’t. But- I’m learning to experience power and not judge it for inspiring ego. Ego comes with being human- but observing it as part of our being enables it to let go of it’s hold on us.

So I continued to let go, to allow a flow to occur. Things, people, places- they come, they go, they call, they don’t call. It all ebbs and flows.

The pace of our lives sometimes carries us and sometimes we have to exercise control to gain perspective.

Where I sit now I sit in extreme accord with the voice that resides within and the fire that creates action. However I also am at peace with sometimes sitting and letting that voice mature.

My recent trip to Spain was the first travel experience where I honestly didn’t feel the need to reflect, examine, or exercise personal growth tactics.

I just was.

I came home with ideas and thoughts and progressions that I”ve been able to enact with new energy and a stronger voice then before.

I’ve had meetings and experiences since that have caused me to question everything about my experience so far, and how I want to use that experience to create new endeavours and what my purpose is.

I’ve seen love change forms in my life only to strengthen in it’s diversity. Expectations shift from set in stone to malleable elements serving equally those involved. Realities shift from what and who we are taught to be to understanding who we truly are, deep down, and exploring the purpose we all arrive with. Allowing that purpose to take on varying forms.

My life as it stands is wonderful and I look on it every day with newfound gratitude. For the opportunities and the power that resides within me- to give back, to create change, to build the reality I want to exist within.

True unhappiness or unsettledness stems in ignorance of self, distrust in the inner voice.

We learn to listen to that voice through experiencing the smallest moments life brings to us. A client planking for the first time in their two year history with you- and rocking it. A group fitness class that shows enthusiasm for the changes they are ready to make. Listening to an inspiring person in your life speak and feeling blessed to have them in your life. Seeing a friend break through their own internal struggles and let light into their being again.

All these small things are why we are here, and they are only found once we let go enough to let them shine through.

 

(Thank you to Jenaya Larisse Photography for the wonderful portrait 💖)  

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A confidence parallel

You may have noticed a theme of confidence in this summer’s posts (although few). Be it from recovering from my riding accident 6months ago and dealing the residual fear of getting back in the saddle, to transitioning into the jumpers from my oh so comfortable hunters- I am seemingly constantly confronted with the trials of where my confidence levels are on any given day.

My last post focused on how much I was beginning to regain confidence at Beach Party in the jumpers, after a good 3 days of making decent decisions and having decent rounds as a result. After that show I took some time off to do other things. I worked Folk Fest as part of the first aid team (which was awesome), dealt with an old back injury that acted up which took me away from riding for another week,  interviewed with a therapist I will be doing some clinical with, covered the Morris Stampede (professional rodeo) with a professor as a member of the sports medicine team (also awesome), applied for a related scholarship, covered some football, celebrated 6months with the guy, got my back back on track, did some clinical work at MORfit… my first two assessments in I don’t know how long, and finally got back into the saddle for a few rides and lesson before Heart of the Continent which starts this week. My lesson was quite good, although I did struggle with my head a bit during. Thankfully, even though my brain was nervous- I was able to put that aside and tune into autopilot. This made our lesson go quite smoothly, and M&C were quite happy.

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This has been one of the first summers my career/school and riding have really collided. I’ve been trying to find a balance, but in all reality for the majority of the earlier summer riding took precedence. The closer it gets to fall, the more AT focused things I’m beginning to do.. but I’m glad I’ve had the opportunities in AT I’ve had the past few weeks as they kind of reset my mindset towards where I’m at with riding.

Through doing all those other things outside of riding the past few weeks, the more athletic therapy sided things, made me see the other side of confidence in my life. It seems that my career and my sport have switched sides on me. In the past, athletic therapy related ordeals have taken some serious guts for me to accomplish due to a lack of experience and confidence in the area while riding has been something that comes easily for me with success following my experience and confidence levels in the ring. This summer every event I’ve covered as an AT or responder has been refreshingly fun, easy, and not like work at all. At Folk Fest I found myself labelled as the chief wound dresser, after impressing a few people early on with my roller gauze abilities. Morris Stampede brought me using soft tissue release techniques that I’ve never actually had the chance to use in real life since learning them.. but I still rocked it out.

I’ve clicked into a groove in the field, and excel at every chance I get in the clinic. The two clinical assessments I did for Claude were the first in 6-8months, but I found myself running on autopilot and picking up on things I’d read about or seen talked about at the CATA conference. I didn’t stumble through my questions, or forget what came next in the movement assessment.. I just did my thing and did it pretty well.

How nice it is to be able to do something so autonomously with confidence. All this took me the past year and a bit of working my butt off in class and clinical, and taking myself out of my comfort zone every chance I got. When I started this program I was somewhat shy, quiet, and although eager to learn- completely terrified. I see myself now turning into a calm, confident, knowledgable young professional. I guess that’s where I should be at as I enter my final year of the program before challenging the national exam.

When you stack that feeling of confidence within my budding career up to my long time riding career and my current feeling of not much confidence at all… it clearly shows the effects of a transition year. I most definitely underestimated the switch to the jumper ring as being simpler then it is. While I was plagued by a few unfortunate injuries early in the season, between having to ride very differently around a longer more aggressive course and being on a horse who has just as much experience doing this as I do… I have my work cut out for me. Beach Party proved to me that I am on the right track. But, just like the steps I had to take as a student AT to build my confidence and as a result boost my abilities- I have to do the same and put in the time in the jumper ring.

My goals for Heart of the Continent this week are to remain focused on staying calm, sitting up, keeping my leg on, having fun, and doing what I know how to do.. which is ride. Because while I may be a newbie to the jumper ring, I have been doing this crazy sport for over half my life- the skills are in there somewhere.

In a more general “state of my life” update, I am being run kind of crazy between work, riding, KSA organization, trying to get my current apartment subletting, dealing with subsequent no shows to the scheduled apartment viewings, working with my CMU Basketball teams, prepping for my football team to start up again, and the school year to begin. On top of Heart this week I’m moving in the middle of it, and working evenings. I’m also currently working on a proposal for a directed study on the biomechanics of a rider and how strength training can improve that (I know, I know.. I’ve been on this forever). In the midst of this I’ve had to chase the show boots I ordered in June across the country as I still haven’t received them…. long and frustrating story short.. they got on a plane today for express overnight to Winnipeg and should be here before I start competing Thursday. Here’s hoping I get to wear my boots for the last couple shows of the year!

Writing this all down I’m not surprised I had to take a “sick/mental health” day this morning to both recoup and get packing done for my move later this week.

The remainder of the time leading up to Heart… which is like 16 hrs at this point.. is going to be spent putting my game face on and not stressing about every other thing going on in my life. The move will happen with the help of my man, friends, and parents. My apartment will get sub-letted asap. KSA will be organized in time for fall. I will organized all the paperwork and training schedules for all three teams I’m working (after Heart). I will survive, and August holds some much needed weekends off and chill time before the last year of my BSc. I can do this!

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Rectus Oculosis- How not to think

Okay, so, if you read my last post- you may have noticed that the transition to the jumper ring hasn’t been the smoothest so far.. due to both fluky trips/falls and a decline in confidence for Team Kathlyn and Will. Coming off of Summer Smiles it would be safe to say my confidence was at a low point. With two weeks to prepare for Beach Party, I had a lot of work to do. And work I did. The first thing was to get my body back to a functional point. A couple days of rest, and a date with my AT (and some suction cups) got me back in the saddle and riding like I wasn’t in severe pain anymore. My goals for my horse and I in the weeks leading up to the next show were to work on our transitions, and to get Will moving a bit more on his back end.. He was starting to get too heavy on my hands for my liking. Transition work day after day worked to correct that. Sometimes you have to go back to the basics, even with experienced, trained horses!

In our first lesson after Summer Smiles, C was pleased to see that I was back to a normal riding style.. she noted that seeing me ride at Summer Smiles (with bruised ribs and a stiff entire body) was frightening. I have to admit too that in this lesson, even though we were doing nothing out of the ordinary (albeit jumping some large-ish jumps), I was pretty nervous. I’ve been dealing with somewhat random anxiety when it comes to riding ever since breaking my leg, but this was more then that. This was a fear that I wasn’t confident in my abilities anymore. And as any rider will tell you, confidence in this sport is the be all and end all of success. Thankfully I have coaches that are impeccable at picking up on things that their riders don’t always say out loud. The training I did leading up to Beach party was all about building both my horse’s and my own confidence back up.

Going into Beach it’s safe to say I was pretty stressed. Between finishing spring term the week of (including writing an exam almost immediately after doing schooling rounds Thursday), coming off two challenging shows, dealing with the stress build up of my insane schedule(s), and just having paid all my bills for the month (aka seeing all my money vanish)- my head was in constant chaos. Besides the chaos, I was pretty stuck in a negative thinking pattern. I was sure that I was going to mess up every single thing all weekend, fall off, and do something stupid like break another leg. I was experiencing a severe case of what a prof refers to as “rectus oculosis”.. or.. a crappy outlook. I knew that this was a horrible way to enter a competition, and was really trying to snap myself out of it. All the thanks to my two ever supportive teammates Megg and Lauren who listened to me vent, and constantly reassured me that I wasn’t the worst rider ever. During warm-ups I was actually feeling pretty calm, until I added in the two stride which triggered frustration. I got over it pretty quick and went to write a Intro Business exam (that I studied for 30mins for…yikes).

The next morning started out with my stress levels running high, as my alarm didn’t go off and I was late.. rushing to get on in time for my first class. When I finally got on and warmed up, I realized that I had misread the schedule and actually had another 15 rounds before I went… Cue more self-frustration. But.. when I finally got in the ring..this happened:

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My horse and I were back in sync, and I felt like a rider again. I could breathe after day one at Beach!

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Day two got even better:

20140710-210757-76077585.jpg The rides I had this day felt amazing. While we didn’t pin in anything, I felt like the rider I’ve trained to be. My leg was solid, my seat was efficient, and I was making better decisions on course. Best of all, I wasn’t terrified. My confidence was coming back. FINALLY. My mental outlook greatly improved.

Day three was a fun day, we entered just the .85m and the .85m relay with fellow rider Courtney and her horse Vinnie. This was the first time I’ve ever done a relay, and it was a blast! Definitely one of our best courses all weekend- purely because we were just  having fun and not thinking about what we might do wrong! Courtney and I ended up 4th.

20140710-210757-76077321.jpg What a relief to come out of a show feeling like I was grasping the idea of how to ride a jumper course.

This past weekend was a prime example of how much of a mental game this sport is. I know I’m not the first rider in the world to doubt themselves. Every single one of us does it, and we all are very good at telling ourselves that we don’t know what we’re doing. Especially when we’re riding up to a combination and not able to see a distance. Why our brain tells us to take our leg off, fall forward, and stop riding is an unfortunate mystery… but that’s exactly what happens. All those things you can do impeccably at home become the farthest thing from functional in an actual performance when you over-think, lose confidence, and see only the negatives.

It’s very difficult to approach any sport or performance and not let those little negative thoughts slip through your mind. I was one “tears hidden by sunglasses mental breakdown” away from scratching the entire show and giving up. What stopped me? For one I wouldn’t have been any happier not showing that weekend. Sitting around at home being miserable is worse then being in the saddle and mildly terrified. Secondly, I have an AMAZING support team behind me. Every show I am SO thankful for my coaches, my teammates, my mother (who has sat through my legendary freak outs more times then I can count) and supports me regardless.

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Because of all those factors I keep pushing myself to meet whatever challenge came up. This show presented no physical challenges to overcome. The only thing standing in my way was myself, and for me that is more frustrating then any amount of physical pain. I overcame my crappy outlook, and I’m very glad I pushed through it. My thought process after something challenging happens is something I know I need to work on more for future competitions- because I know I’m going to have plenty of challenges to face in the future, but getting through this weekend and reviving my shaken confidence was a huge step in the journey.

Some other fun points in the weekend were entering the bribe your horse competition (Will will do ANYTHING for carrots), entering a team in the Beach Vball tournament (and winning it!!), and watching my teammates kick butt in their divisions. I’m so glad I didn’t quit this weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I lasted 3 years as a Uni student before becoming addicted to coffee…..

I think the title explains the last 3 weeks of my life. However, I will state that it is roll up the rim season.

This is going to be a monster of a post…..A few things to talk about, so I’m going to start off with a contents list so you can skim if that is your preferred method:

1. Midterms
2. The view of the Manitoba Winter Games as a student therapist (spoiler: it was awesome!!)
3. Leg update
4. General life update
5. The general thought/whining section
6. Summer planning

Okay. So it’s been a while since I’ve written an update. I’ve had my hands full, often literally, and been running (not literally) from place to place the past few weeks!

First up, Midterms:

These went shockingly well. Of the marks I have back, anyway. The first one I got back (Therapeutic Modalities) I completely expected to be around the class average (which was..very low.. talking maybe 50-60 ish), but was pleasantly surprised with a 71, which happened to be in the top five or so of the class. Bonus! Then came Ergonomics, the class I really like but am sometimes lost in. Somehow swung an A here. Awha? Sure. I’ll take it! If you’ll recall from my last post, I had gotten my Ex Phys exam moved to this week due to a mystery virus, and had a super fun crazy day on Thursday where I drove back to the city from the Games (see next section) for a day at school where I wrote 2 exams and 2 tests, with classes/labs and a clinical shift thrown in as well. I am still waiting for Ex Phys back, but am not optimistic it was anything amazing. Meh. I also wrote Rehab on Thursday, which I feel pretty decent about. I don’t really remember most of the day though, so who knows. Lets talk about something more exciting..

How about The MB Games experience from the eyes of a student AT?

First off, thank you past self for volunteering up for this event in the fall. Holy guacamole did I learn!!! I worked full days (and then some) in Morden/Winkler covering different events on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. I seriously never wanted it to end (only a little bit because I’m sick of school (see section 5)).

The week started with getting my volunteer badge and medical team shirt (which made me feel super legit, anyone else?).

Yes I realize how old that picture is...

Yes I realize how old that picture is…

The sports I covered for the first couple days were ringette and gymnastics (both male and female, ages 9-14). Monday was just practice for gymnastics, and I hung out there for most of the night after being shown around and bombarded with an ankle support and shoulder assessment within my first half an hour there. It was pretty crazy watching some of the things these kids did on the uneven bars (terrifying). Surprisingly (to me) there was only one injury that day for me to deal with: a gymnast came down during her floor practice off some sorta intense double round-off thing and landed in full plantar-flexion, inverted, and hit the ground crying. Cue my brain shutting off for 3 milliseconds then realising that everyone was looking at me because I was the one wearing the super cool medical shirt..

First lesson I learned: asking the patient questions doesn’t only make you look like you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t), it prompts your brain to start working again. I managed to go through a half decent assessment after getting her off the middle of the mat, and decided that she most definitely needed to go for x-rays; so after breaking that idea to her, and making her cry more, I headed to find the doctor, ice, and crutches. The doctor promptly confirmed the x-ray, and I had to mcgyver a set of crutches (the supply we had was sketchy- the only pair I could manage for her height was one metal and one wood, the wood taped together as there were screws missing…). Then we sent her off to Boundary for imaging, and the rest of the night was relatively uneventful. I did get to tape another gymnasts ankle, after the coach realised that I could actually do that. I got a little confidence boost as this 11yr old watched me tape with wide eyes, and expressed adorable gratitude.

The next day started out similarly uneventful. I taped a few ankles (including the young gymnast from the previous evening, who swore it was making her better!), wrapped a few groins, ate some great canteen food, and chatted. Then headed over to watch the first of the gymnastics competitions. This age group went smoothly, although I cringed a few times with some close calls on the vault. After this I had another couple hours to chat with the other health care professionals about the place, then me and the other student AT headed back to watch the second gymnastics event. With no other events running, the sport med doctor was hanging around with us too. Thank goodness, as not long after the event started a floor routine went horribly wrong. I was unfortunately watching this girl’s feet as she landed, which resulted in me seeing her ankle dislocate and her go down. I 110% froze, and probably said something not school appropriate out loud- and had that great moment where again we realised everyone (and there was A LOT of people there) was looking at us, and then hearing the doctor tell us to “go!”. Matt and the doc headed out while I stayed by the med kit ready to bring it out if needed, pretty much right away got the signal to call 911. I went out onto the mat to help, only to have the coaches lift the girl and start moving her (seriously…. who does that!?). Thankfully the doctor had a good grip on the ankle and we all headed to the other room to carry on. The ankle was most definitely fractured, with what looked like the fibula pretty close to breaking the skin. Needless to say all we could do was splint and wait for transport. So that’s what we did. The poor kid was understandably freaking out. While the other two stayed with her and her parents, I headed back out to the competition, only to find another athlete had thrown up and was looking pretty faint. Her mom quickly explained that she had had a very similar injury last year, and was reliving some of the experience.

Definitely the worst injury I’ve dealt with so far, and once the adrenaline worse off I had a seriously hard time watching floor routines for the rest of the day. I couldn’t watch the feet anyway. Who woulda thought floor over bar and beam would cause the most anxiety! After that gymnastics ran smoothly, and I spent most of the rest of my time handing out ice bags (snow bags). The next day was much slower, as it was a transition day for the games- so after watching the boys gymnastics, and still cringing during floor routines, I used the rest of my time there to study for rehab and ex phys. My last day at the games I got to cover hockey (female) for the first time, and thankfully nothing major happened. I did get an insight as to how intense the sport of table tennis is- especially when we had one athlete come to us with stomach flu symptoms (which 50/50 could have been caused by the stress being placed on him by his mother and coaches… oh, and the large plate of meatballs, fish, and rice he had eaten.. oh and the dehydration…)- and saw his coach sprint out to get ginger tablets so he could play in the next 15minutes. Between the coach freaking out about her athlete (who was like 10) maybe being down for the count, and his mom wanting to take him to the hospital (for mild stomach flu symptoms..?..)- it was understandable that the kid was a little uneasy about his life.

What did I notice this week? I really noticed myself gaining confidence in acute assessment, and even just standing rink side or event side. As terrifying as the gymnastics ankle was- it solidified that I do have a solid education behind me and I am trained to handle things- even if my brain shuts off. It was sorta neat seeing how people looked to you as you had the most training. Another very cool side to this event was getting the chance to network with athletes, coaches, parents, doctors, nurses, other ATs and fellow students. I was asked so many questions about what athletic therapists do this week, and was able to provide semi-educated answers. People were able to see how competent we are in a variety of areas, and doctors were often looking to us to deal with assessments, taping, and return to play protocols. After injuries, I was able to hang out with the sport med doc on sight and discuss possibilities for what the images would show, recovery, and mechanisms as well as got to watch her do some kick ass assessments. Just watching her interact with patients was a learning experience! So yeah, it’s been a pretty athletic therapy filled week! I got to practice many skills at the Games, that I didn’t even know I needed to practice. Talking to young athletes, for example. Or talking to parents with heavy accents. Or talking to a sobbing kid with a near broken ankle. Not things you get to do or see everyday, that’s for sure. It was such a great week, and I really look forward to continuing to grow as a AT working in the field. Multi-sport events are a fantastic place to learn skills and gain confidence, even if it takes being absolutely terrified half the time. Faking it til you make it is definitely the way to go! People eat up confidence, and acting confident inspires real confidence. It was such a good feeling realising that I know what I’m doing, once my brain caught up with the moment I was in. The week at the Games ended off with a nice compliment from the head therapist, after finding out I was only in P1 she was very surprised and said “You have an amazing skill set for your level! Seriously, keep it up!”. Overall everyone was very impressed with the UW students, so I guess our education is actually getting us somewhere!

Now that we’ve discussed all the injuries I’ve dealt with, how’s my own Injury Progress?

It’s definitely improving. Not a whiff of pain with every day stuff now, I’ve been able to kick in the pool and other then feeling like I’ve never worked out a day in my life- I have no pain. Yay! I’ve been able to up my strength work again too (to.. more bodyweight.. haaa high five for atrophy), and today did a full hour of cardio training (on a bike and elliptical). I’m anxious to get running again, but doing my best to not push it. Because that would likely hurt. I did have an MRI this weekend, so pretty pumped to see what that shows!

I faced a fear this week! I must confess I’ve been absolutely terrified about getting back on a horse. The idea of getting right back on after you fall all riders are taught from day one has legit meaning- the more time that has been passing while I recover, the bigger the fear gets. Stupid, for someone who’s been riding for more then half her life. With my horse being moved back to M&C’s in a few weeks (eeeee!), and me getting the okay from my AT to try riding in a few weeks- the nervousness around the idea only doubled.. So, yesterday, since the weather was finally spring like- I decided to go out to the barn to just reintroduce myself to the environment. I didn’t plan on riding, as frankly it was hard enough to get myself out to the barn. But I did it. I got myself there, and spent some time with Lauren and Megg while they rode. I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous in a familiar environment. Whyyy! I decided then to follow my personal rule of “If it terrifies you, it’s probably a good thing to try.”. And Megg let me sit on her horse for a few minutes. More then enough for my body, and my head. Funnily enough, as nervous as I was before getting on AND after getting off- while I was in the saddle on Justinian, I felt nothing but calm. Thank goodness that learned instinct of focus in the tack is still there. Shoulda just stayed on I think because as soon as I got back off I was apprehensive again. And sore. Very sore. Oh the joys of coming back from an injury.

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The general life update/general thoughts/summer planning sections: School and Work have been good. School is getting old. It’s that time of year where pretty much every student is done with it. My class has continued to keep my spirits up, every week I’ve seen my students greatly improve and am always getting good feedback. Next week is the beginning of another 8-week block, and I’m excited to continue with it! I’ve begun my search for another summer job (keeping MORfit, teaching, Horse Connection), as I recently found out that I was not accepted for the internship at Mayo Clinic this summer. I was somewhat disappointed by that news, but then realized it only meant I can hopefully save some money and ride my horse this summer- which is a plus. As great as Mayo Clinic would look on my resume, I can always apply again and I’m sure I’ll find some other sweet experiences.. it seems to be a thing I do anyway. What does my summer look like so far? About 3 spring courses, work work work, teach teach teach, and, oh yeah! Almost forgot! I got asked to work (volunteer) with another football team! Until a few days ago I was planning on going back to the team I worked with last fall. But on of my supervising AT’s senior students approached me and stated that she thought I would be really good with their team, a team that happens to be a heck of a lot closer to my location then Transcona is (as much as I love them), and a team with a schedule a little more conducive to mine. It was quite flattering to be approached by a senior student (again) and asked to come to their program. Doesn’t always happen that way! That combined with the blush worthy feedback I got from the head therapist at the games, I am quite happy with where I’m at as a AT student! This May brings the CATA conference to Winnipeg, and I’m looking forward to attending that. Of course I’m planning on training and competing as much as I can afford to.

Finishing up this semester is exhausting, between job searching, studying as much as humanly possible, working, and planning end of the year events for Kin and AT student groups- oh and running for student group exec positions for next year (my last year? What?)- my schedule has been nuts as usual. The last two weeks I’ve felt like I’m running on fumes (coffee fumes), but have been surrounded by an amazing group of people, new and old, who keep me going. Whether it’s students in any of my classes, fellow classmates and ATs, friends, family- there always seems to be someone there to study with, rant to, or cook for me after a long day at work/school. I’m very blessed!

I think that’s all I’ll burden you with for now, dear readers. I promise I’ll get back to a regular post schedule now that I’ve gotten back to a semi-normal schedule! End of term and finals are fast approaching, which means so is riding and training- recovery permitting! I can’t wait to see what the 2014 season has in store for me!

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Focused assessment

Holy crap that semester flew by! As of yesterday I was officially DONE all 9 exams, and the first semester of my 3rd year. Half done the legendary 3rd year (aka the year of 9’s). Now there’s time to do not a lot of anything for a couple weeks…

I’m already bored.

I figured since I have nothing really super exciting to write about, since my last two weeks has been completely encompassed by exams and work (aka studying for exams), that I’d take a look at how I did this term on the goals I set at the beginning (in this post).

My number 1 goal for this term was Keeping my nutrition on track. Why was this important? Evidence has shown that I do so much better when I eat right. What’s right for me? All the veggies/fruits, lean proteins, and minimal starch/processed foods (no gluten, minimal dairy, minimal sugar). So, how did I do?

There was a couple iffy points throughout the term.. The first being when I decided to try adding oats (gluten free oats) and dairy back into my diet. It worked great for like a week, until I started feeling like crap again. It only took me a couple weeks after that to clue in that maybe that was why I was feeling awful and tired all the time. Then there was the “I am lazy and I just want to eat all the things” week where I gave up not eating gluten and ate way too much of it. Again, horrible outcome. But then there came the lead up to exams, where I got real serious about all things healthy again (serious enough to basically cut out Starbucks- going from once a day to once every two weeks…), and switched back to exactly what I know makes me function the best. After making those transitions, I was back in the good books with my body- I concentrated better, slept better, had better energy, was happier, and everything fell back into place. So, all in all, I didn’t do horribly- even if it was just proving to myself that nutrition is still important- and this remains a huge goal for me for next term.

Goal number 2… Not over scheduling my already over scheduled schedule. Who wants to wager a guess on how well I did with this?

Yeah, I sucked at this one. HOWEVER. The positions I was outlining in the original post (aka the Older Adults Class) turned out to be one of the highlights of my semester. The other opportunity I said yes to way back then (Horse Connection) also turned into a great experience (and a nice source of extra income when it turned into a paid position). Actually both those turned into paying position, as I accepted a research student position with the Older Adults program and a trainer position with HC. Did I stop at saying yes there? HA. I did learn to say no, too, though. Or at least balance my opportunities better. I learned (the hard way) what burn-out feels like  few times, how to predict it, and how to prevent it. Or at least be proactive about it. So while I did kind of fail at not over scheduling, I did get better at choosing the most proactive way of over-scheduling… Does that make sense?

My third goal was following the work out program I designed. This was a success. Mostly because the initial phase of my program (offseason) was basically not pushing it in the gym. This was easy, as I hardly had time to make it to the gym most of the semester (see above goal comments). I did quite a bit more riding then usual for me during the school year with HC and at M&C’s, consistently went to yoga, and did my best to get to the gym at least once or twice in a week. This is basically exactly what I had designed for an off season program. Chilled out work-outs to recoup from the competition season and stay in shape.

This goal is getting amped up a little for the next couple months, as I’m finalizing the programming for the newest MORfit Training Centre class: Function Conditioning for the Equestrian Athlete. That’s right, I made it into a class and am getting paid for it. Because I have the best boss ever and I love my job. I was amazed by the interest within the riding community I got through my preliminary feelers, and really hope that interest sticks around once it actually gets rolling.

Next was.. Actually using textbooks. Another goal I did not half bad on! And saw some results because of. Of the 4 textbooks I bought, 75% of those I read front to back, and the other one I did read the important parts of. First responder text saved my life, and Assessment (all one billion pages of it) was a huge help as well- same with taping.

I still can’t believe how fast this semester went. And how much I’ve learned in what feels like a very short time. Was it really only a few months ago that football practices were a huge source of anxiety for me? Lets not even talk about how I felt thinking about practical exams earlier in the semester. I started the semester absolutely freezing when asked a question, or asked to do something in front of someone. Now it’s become something I do everyday without a second thought. I’ve managed to become fully comfortable within the things that used to terrify me.

The day before my practical assessment exam, Claude at MORfit had me do a full assessment on a real patient… alone (well, he was in the next room listening and watching my every move). Even a couple weeks ago I probably would have freaked out at him even asking me to do that (he used to joke around about having me run an assessment alone). That night, I somehow flowed right on through a half decent assessment without any problems- and my exam the next day went quite similar. If you had told me three months ago I’d be designing a class to teach this winter, a class that I’ve been dreaming of designing for years, I would have laughed at you. If you had told me that I would feel confident dealing with injuries of all kinds both alone and in front of peers (this used to terrify me most)- again- I would have probably just thought you were hilarious. Yet, here we are. Almost every day at school, or at work I’ve found another reason why I love my job and future career (#nerd).

I managed to face all the challenges I predicted (and some I didn’t) head on, with some freaking out, but always with confidence (often acted). I put into action the theory of “acting confident to become confident” quite a bit this year, and thankfully the acting did become real confidence (insert sigh of relief).

And now to wait impatiently for marks to be posted…..

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Dates with Confidence and Humbleness

Below is an excerpt from the blog I keep for UW’s AT program, as part of my final grade in the practical aspect of the courses. I thought I’d share that with you as majority of my time this past week has been spent on school related things- most of which I encompass in that post. I am working on another post to put up here in the next few days (maaaybe even today) that will cover some of the other things going on in my life! Patience!

“Ah, the life of a student- especially an AT student. There is one word we can all identify with, I’m sure, by this point in the year. Exhaustion.

Between classes, football, work (where I’m getting to do some clinical things as well), and a few other extra curriculars- I’m learning a new definitely of tired; physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, even while being completely exhausted majority of the time- I’ve had a great couple weeks experience wise!

Football has been pretty quiet the past couple weeks. Unfortunately I am only able to be there game days right now, but I hear all about the week’s practices on Fridays while doing the pre-game taping. Our game last week came with a tough loss for the team, but a thrilling 5th digit PIP joint dislocation and an interesting contusion to lateral aspect of the knee with some irritation of the sub-patellar bursa. This week’s game was even quieter, with the only coming off the field was a decent ankle inversion sprain.

I know you’re all dying to know how my heel-locks are doing. Last weekend, since I’d been making slow progress, I decided to spend a good chunk of time dedicated to perfecting my heel-lock. So I stole a friend’s ankle and went to work. I’m happy to report that this week at football not only did I absolutely nail my heel-locks- but also incorporated some very nice figure-8 heel-locks into my ankle inversion taping. Maybe some of Ron O’Neil’s magic rubbed off on me, or maybe my muscle memory is starting to finally wake up- but I’m not having near as much trouble with angles as I was even a week ago. Yay!

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The most significant AT related moment for me the past two weeks came not from the football field, but rather from working with a few clients at work with the AT there. When I’m on shift at the same time as Claude he usually has me help out with a few clients, one of which I’ve been stretching for the past 4-5wks as well as helping with some exercises. This client is a rugby player and quite a bit bigger than I am, and Claude had me start doing stretches with him so I could gain some experience with how to get my biomechanics right when pnf-ing clients who have the size advantage. It’s definitely a more challenging experience- especially with a table that’s not adjustable. It took me a few weeks to figure out what positions worked best for me and still got the job done. The past two weeks the client himself has pointed out how much more effective I’ve gotten. My favourite quote thus far has been “either she’s getting stronger or I’m getting weaker every week”. Claude’s response to that was “she’s just gaining confidence in her abilities”. Fist pump moment. This experience has also helped me in stretching some of my footballers pre-game.

A more embarrassing moment from the past couple weeks, comes again from the clinic at work, where I was observing a new assessment on a shoulder with Claude. We had just covered this in assessment and I was following along quite easily. Until Claude started quizzing me. Simple questions like “what muscle does this?” or “what am I pointing to right now?” or “what’s your IOS based on what we’ve got so far?”. While part of my brain was saying “supraspinatus”, “teres minor”, and “ RC impingement or bursa issues”, the other part which was connected to my mouth was going “uhhhhhh…crap.. I know.. just give me a minute…”. #awkward

So that was good.. There’s always something to keep us humble, right?

My goals for the next couple weeks are to obviously have less “@#$% I don’t know” moments both at work and on the field. I feel like the only way to have less of those is to continue pushing myself out of my comfort zone by saying yes to every opportunity I get to do an assessment, or at least be involved. Eventually my brain will hop on board the thinking train.”

 

 

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Without thinking

I had one of those lessons today where things went from amazing to stressful in about 30 seconds.

Maybe stressful isn’t the right word. Challenging? Thought provoking?

Riding is a sport where things can change pretty quick. As most sports are. However, this sport adds in the wild card of being seated on a 1200lb creature with a mind of it’s own, pointing it at a fence and saying lets get there and over it while keeping a steady pace, leaving from the exact right spot, and making a tight turn afterwards. As a rider you have to  be able to react in a hundred different ways over a span of a few strides between jumps. You have to keep that balance between aiding your horse enough, but not so much that signals get mixed.

I’ve written about the role of trust before. The last time I wrote about it I was exercising steeplechasers in Napier, NZ.

Every muscle in my body is sore and tired, and I’m way past the point of exhaustion. But I’m still saying yes to another ride out and smiling as the horse races up the hill on the way to the work out trail. In this kind if situation you have to be able to build the trust quickly. You don’t have months or years to build a relationship. You have seconds, maybe minutes, to trust the horse you’re on and establish a confidence.

Click here for more from that post.. 

Over the course of this competition season, Willard will be moving into the jumper ring more. This has been a long time goal for me, and I’m very excited for the new challenge.

I’ve been working with M&C for a few years now, and have very high trust in their abilities as coaches. Tonight was one of those nights where things may not have gone as well if that trust wasn’t there. Lots of new challenges are being thrown my way this year, both within the sport and outside, and while I take them all on as best I can- I would not be able to do it alone. Will is a fantastic horse, with loads of potential- but right now he is still in that excitable spring thoroughbred phase that I’m pretty sure most horses that got 6 months off are in right now. You ask him to do a roll-back to a tiny oxer and he assumes we are in the jump off of the CN International. Drama queen.

Through the exercises I worked on tonight with M&C, the issue of trust kept floating through my mind. For some reason there was a small communication issue at times between Will and I. Where he wanted to rush towards jump, I was saying hold on. Where he was saying lets make this turn tighter, I was saying lets go out one stride more. Where I was saying relax, he was saying “this is so exciting!!!!!!!!!!!”. These are all little things. In no way was any of this a disaster. Just a little less graceful then it could have been. However, it took a lot of trust between me and my coaches, and me and myself to not get overwhelmed and frustrated. I had to keep reminding myself that I knew what I was doing. To stay calm, be patient. If I’m not confident in my abilities as a rider, what right do I have to ask my horse to do what he’s doing? The trust I have in M&C was also a huge part in being able to remind myself that I was okay. I knew all along that they would never ask me to do something that they didn’t think I could do. Knowing that helped keep me confident that things were going to be okay.

As athletes we do so many things without thinking. We’ve done these things so many times that our brains run on autopilot. Not to say its easy- having the ability to not only do these things without thinking about them and also the confidence and trust in the other factors like the unpredictable animal you’re on, yourself, and that person telling you to point that animal at, and jump over, an object it is traditionally supposed to stay on one side of.. is not an easy thing to do all the time. But, imagine if we as riders had to consciously think about every thing we do on course? Riding up to a jump would go something like this…

…shoulders back, hips forward, eyes up, inside leg/hand with slight pressure to control bend, outside leg/hand slight pressure for speed, balancing horse, slight squeeze on outside rein before jump, both legs positioned approximately at girth line, heels down, flex in elbows, appropriate contact on horses mouth, keeping pace steady, finding the right distance, using leg pressure to keep that distance, waiting for horse to jump to you, hands follow horses mouth over jump, shoulders still back, slightly closed hip angle, eyes looking towards next jump, middle of arc opening hips bringing shoulders up and back preparing to land, legs maintaining pressure at girth line, bringing hands out of release (all while maintaining steady contact on reins), open shoulders, balance horse, slight squeeze with fingers on inside, steady contact on outside, looking for line to next jump still, turning and balancing with legs and hands, maintaining steady pace, present horse to next jump, repeat…

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That’s all happening in about 5 seconds. I guarantee I’ve missed about a hundred other tiny things. These are habits that are automatic for us, made that way by years of practice. Experiences good and bad teaching us that even though all common sense says you are crazy, find a saner hobby, this is what we love doing- and while that is bound to come with some doubt occasionally, trust is what gets you trough. Some of those things we still may think about- but for the most part, I know for me anyway, my head is pretty quiet while I’m riding a course. Quiet of those thoughts anyway. At times, like tonight, I am reminding myself that I have trust in my horse, my coaches, and myself. That is the only thought I need to get the job done. Everything else follows.

“Just do what you do best.”

I don’t know if any of that made any sense. So good luck figuring that out, I’m too exhausted from that 90 minutes of course work to make much sense of anything right now.

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