Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, October 12, 2014

In the Arena #156 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind...

"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.

43 comments:

Jen said...

I knew you hadn't been posting much, but were still commenting, and I wondered. I'm so glad to read this, and to see how well you're doing! I look forward to the writeup on the de Knuffy clinic, I know he'll never be close enough for me to see, but desperately would love to audit that!

Lisa said...

I'm glad you're back.

Kate said...

Glad to hear from you again!

I've heard of him, and that he's very good, but I've never had the chance to see him in person.

Sometimes that's just what you need. I have a strong understanding of how things can be when you've been badly injured.

Hope to hear more from you soon!

TeresaA said...

Welcome back. I'm glad that you found your motivation again! Sometimes we just need time to heal and that's okay too. I wish I had a chance to audit DeKunffy! I love his books.

Grey Horse Matters said...

So glad to see you posting again.

Seems like even though you were feeling a little down you still got things accomplished. Sounds like Val is learning new behaviors. And chickens delivering fresh eggs all the time is great! New garden beds with lots of fresh produce.

I envy you being able to audit a de Kunffy clinic. He's very good. Bet you came away with lots of good ideas. Can't wait to read about them.

smazourek said...

Glad you're feeling more like yourself :)

I have those chickens too! The red sex-links and the silver laced wyandottes are by far my friendliest birds. They are the ones most likely to follow me around the yard. They also lay beautiful large eggs which you are finding out now :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Jen -
Here's a link to a symposium happening at Albion College Nov 1 - 3... How close is halfway between Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo from you? :D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Thank you Lisa :D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Kate -

de Kunffy definitely has the welfare of the horse uppermost in his mind. I saw concrete evidence in the clinic.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Teresa -

He was signing his books at lunch. I got The Ethics and Passions of Dressage.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

GHM -

I took tons of notes. It's way more relaxing auditing vs riding lol :D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

smazourek -

I got silver and gold laced wyandottes, New Hampshire Reds and Buff Orpingtons. My Reds and Buffs are very sweet - the others not so much. Near as I can tell, the Wyandottes have provided the eggs so far. :D

jenj said...

Welcome back! I'm glad to hear you're doing OK... looks like you've been super busy despite all the things! And those pictures from Val's back... priceless!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

jenj -

Busy, but mostly in a spinning around in circles way... ;D

irish horse said...

Glad you're back in the saddle. And in the blog world. Inspiration can be found in so many places, sometimes it just takes awhile. But it sure sounds like you got a lot done in the meantime! (Plus your black and white chicken is gorgeous. Those feathers are amazing. Not to leave Val out: handsome as ever.)

Story said...

So glad to hear from you! And so much going on! We really want to get some chickens too. Loving the look of your setup and would like to hear more about it.

I can't wait to hear about the Charles de Kunffy clinic!!! One of my true dressage heroes.

Shannon Fornari said...

Glad to see you back! I've been having a rubbish year, too, and I can relate to everything you've written. It's tough, but I'm too dumb to quit ;)

Chickens are great! I love mine. I've got American Gamefowl and Wellsummers. They're not super friendly, but they're good layers and brooders and very tough.

Sharon T said...

So glad you're back!

achieve1dream said...

I'm so happy you're back!!! I'm so sorry it's been such a bad year. What are you doing for the excess estrogen? I have the same problem and my nerves and anxiety are making me crazy. It really sucks. :( You can email me if you want to talk about it (or anything else). I'm so glad you went to the clinic (and a little jealous you saw Charles de Kunffy) and that you're feeling motivated to ride again. I love your new chickens too. Welcome back!!!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

So glad you are back!!!

I am a big fan of Charles de Kunffy. I've never had the opportunity to see him work in person but I love his books.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

irish horse -

The black and whites are Silver Laced Wyandottes - they are pretty, but extra silly and not very friendly. Pretty is as pretty does ;D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Shannon -
I wanted Wellsummers - they're supposed to be extra heat tolerant - but the hatchery was sold out. Hoping things start to look up for both of us!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Sharon T -
Thank you, and thanks for stopping by. :D

Liz Stout said...

Welcome back!

Equestrogen...no term explains it better. Totally with you on the attitude and its relationship to riding. A delicate balance for certain.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Story -

Definitely planning a post about the girls :D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

achieve1dream -

My blogging friends always lift me up - thank you so much. Will take you up on the email - don't want to get to heavy into the lady topics on the blog. ;D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Melissa -

Thanks. :D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Liz -

Thank you.

Love that "portmanteau" too - so appropriate sometimes...

billie said...

Not sure if my comment went through so posting again just in case - had been checking in regularly, then didn't the past few days, then emailed today and suddenly thought I should stop by the blog again and - yay - here's a new post!

So glad things are moving forward. Love the chickens and the beds and glad things are better with Val.

Annette Mickelson said...

I'm glad you are back to posting (I've missed you). I'm envious of your auditing deKnuffy's clinic -- truly a master and I would love to have that opportunity. And I get your mental attitude comments. I'm still "recovering" from Winston although I didn't get hurt nearly as badly as you. I still make excuses not to ride at times and feel apprehensive before going out to get Lucy - and then she's wonderful and I remember how much I love riding. And then the next day, I feel apprehensive again... It takes time; a long time. I'm glad you are working through it.

Jodi said...

I love de Kunffy! I'm glad that you came back so that I found your blog :) I'm really looking forward to reading more!

Victoria Cummings said...

Welcome back - So glad that you and Val are doing better! Life is never a straight line, is it? Looking forward to reading your clinic notes soon. Sending a big hug!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Thanks billie :D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Thank you Annette. Your experience with Winston resonated so much for me. If riding isn't fun, but instead something to dread, even a little, we need to do something differently.

I've really enjoyed watching you and Lucy get to know each other. :D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Jodi -

I've been following your blog for a while. ;D

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Victoria -

Big hugs right back!

Carol said...

So glad you're back and okay! Sounds like a tough year. I'm looking forward to reading your Charles de Kunffy post. I feel the same about Arthur Kottas. Wish we could compare notes over a bottle of wine! :)

Lori Skoog said...

Thanks for filling us in. Sounds like things have improved and you are on the road again. Such good news. Please keep us posted.

Terry said...

I'm so very glad to hear from you! Welcome back, and welcome back in the big way too. It takes courage to keep going, and you've got that.
Charles de Kunffy is my hero! I'm so glad you got to clinic with him. I can't wait to hear more.

SC said...

Really good to see you back, keep blogging even if only to say hello:)

Val said...

It is good to hear from you; I am sorry you were feeling badly.

A little inspiration goes a long way.

Linda said...

I just found your lovely blog today. I can relate to depression, and I hope you continue to feel better as time goes on. Animals are amazing at relieving stress and depression. You are very welcome to visit and subscribe to my blog, if you like, I created it for the purpose of making others' days brighter. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

Wilbur, Ellie, and Emily said...

I agree! Riding is so much a mental game and attitude truly makes a difference!
Love your chicks :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...