"Riding is a metaphor for life lived well and wisely."
"The virtues needed for riding, are the same as those for an ethical life."
Charles de Kunffy
Next week will make one year since I packed the trailer and headed up to Maryland for a clinic. Five days of much needed instruction, and one-on-one time with Val. I had high hopes...
Hopes which were dashed before even mounting up once. A combination of extreme nerves (excess equestrogen) + poor judgement + not speaking up for my horse, led to a badly broken arm, eventual surgery, four months out of work and near financial disaster. Not exactly what I had in mind.
As soon as the doctor cleared me, I managed to hop on Val for a handful of rides. Mostly because I feared if I didn't do it then, I never would. Sadly, progress ended there.
Gradually, life began to feel overwhelming. The implications of being injured again practically paralyzed me, as I use my body to make a living. Catching back up financially so I have a hope of building my house in a little over a year, felt impossible. Nothing seemed engaging enough to warrant blog posts. I was teetering on the edge of depression. I slept too much and ate too much. :(
With some time and perspective under my belt, I realize now things weren't all that bad, or drastic, or boring. In the "down time" I built a chicken coop, and raised a dozen hens up from day old chicks. There are two new garden beds, and lumber + plans to fence the garden for protection from critters and weather.
On the pony front, my trimming skills have steadily improved. Val's feet look the best they have since I pulled his shoes. Val developed a few new skills too. He reliably comes from the back of the pasture when he's called (cookies!), backs up 10 - 12 steps on hand signals alone (a long way from the cookies) - unhaltered - and his behavior being led now is perfect, even with big distractions.
If I learned one thing from the arm incident - it was that I needed to reinforce (and be consistent about) the concept of personal space with Val, no matter how exciting or disturbing things get. A big, costly hole in my training was revealed.
Despite the positive developments, I was still down in the dumps, having trouble with motivation on the riding and blogging fronts. And every day that went by made it that much harder to tack Val up, or sit down and hit the keyboard. Something had to give.
Two weeks ago my riding buddy N emailed me with details of a clinic only a few hours away, with Charles de Kunffy. Auditing was affordable, so I signed up. I'll do a full clinic review in an upcoming post, but suffice it to say my mind is blown. Mr. de Kunffy is one of the last living links to the old masters of classical dressage, and it was an absolute privilege to watch him teach for a day. His clinic was the key to unlocking my riding block... Thank you Mr. de Kunffy! :D
I am constantly amazed at what a mental sport riding is. Attitude is everything, in riding. Attitude is everything, in life.