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Saturday, 6 April 2019

March Round Up (with a difference)

I think it says it all that I'm sitting down a whole week late to write up my March round up post... It's been a funny old month, with a few set backs but turning corners & I'm leaving the month feeling positive. So sit back and hopefully enjoy what is going to be a VERY honest monthly round up...

Getting into the right headspace

Let's be fair, as much as I had a thoroughly great time at the Regionals at the end of February, I had a pretty poor run up to it which in hindsight I can now see completely obliterated my confidence & self-belief. I tried to put on a mask and hide it, but it just doesn't work...

So for anyone else out there feeling like they are completely hopeless, that they can't achieve what they would like to, or that they are the world's worst horse rider & haven't a clue what they are doing... You are not alone. I'm right here, and there will be 1,000's more that experience feeling like this.

When everything gets onto of you...

All these waves of emotion came to a bit of a head when I almost had two very pubic meltdowns during two flatwork sessions. I have an amazing trainer and friend in Cathy, who took the full force of my emotions, frustrations and temper. She got it. She's explained to me how she herself has been there, how many other have, and if people haven't they either will, or you should question their honesty about it.

I fell into a very negative spiral that looking back started way back in December, and with a culmination of things, that progressively worse because I chose to ignore it. Thankfully, March was absolutely crazy at work, with two weeks back to back travelling to Copenhagen, Oslo & Amsterdam.

This was the best recipe I could have asked for to help me lift away from a repeated pattern and shift from negative into a positive mindset.

The organisation I work for ran a Leadership conference for all managers to attend mid-March. It meant being away Monday to Thursday but during that time we learnt about conscious leadership, mindfulness, becoming aware of mental health & emotional intelligence. Despite all four of these areas being connected to a work environment and some were not new to me from other development training that I've completed, I found my time away EXTREMELY refreshing, motivating and took me home with a complete different attitude, not only to work, but to my riding too.

Work out your own life balance

Work life balance is very important to me. Most people use this statement in passing to get early finishes, prevent working outside of their hours and to feel like they can still do what they want with their personal life, forgetting completely about their work.

For me it means something very different. I love my job... Really, I do. It gives me some headaches and frustrations, but with those I turn them into challenges, goals and a drive to be better. I am fortunate in that we were gifted a flexible working solution in my office towards the end of last year. It means I can leave a couple of hours earlier, go and enjoy time with Louie, come home, spending time with Andrew having dinner at a sensible time, with time to go back online to finish up any work I parked to leave or organise my next few days. I also often do a bit of extra work for a few hours on a weekend, moreso when I'm not competing.

Am I a workaholic? If you want to say that, but in the same way I'm a horseaholic... I just love what I do and want to do it all the time. This makes is much easier for me to create my own work life eco balance, where work is part of my life, and my life can be a part of my work. Life is considerably easier if you can achieve this. Of course, you need a supportive boss and organisation to do so...

Back to March...

Positive dressage training

Following the Leadership conference I found it much easier to reflect in the saddle & this was proven when I had a session with Cathy just a week after our previous terrible, temper-tantrum training with her. It was back to just enjoying the session, figuring out how to fix minor things and not see them as such huge mountains in front of us. I definitely wore a smile throughout the session, and we even started to learn achieve some proper steps of medium trot... Shame Andrew didn't have his camera out for our final push down the long side, but here we after when we got our first one or two...


The next morning I was up for the 6am flight to Amsterdam for a management meeting over two days, before flying to Copenhagen for a full team meeting with my department. I was pleased to be flying off after such a positive session, but on the other hand I was keen to keep going. 

I enjoyed a short ride out on Friday evening, and a lovely long ride on Saturday, before heading back into the school on Sunday. It's great now we have lighter nights that I don't have to go in the school after work and enjoy hacking out to break things out a bit more. My next competition was meant to be at Richmond on 30th March, so I'd only really wanted to head in the school a couple of times before that.

Revisiting the vets

On the Monday (25th), Louie was heading back to Clevedale for his second gastroscopy. If you remember back to the lead up to the Regionals, Louie saw an occasional nod under a certain contact which was not timed with any foot fall. It you edited his head out of a video when he did it, he was completely sound. Adding it back in, he looked like he took some uneven steps. 

My regular orthopaedic vet asked while he was there should he check it. Louie was sound under all the usual lameness checks, so the vets worked up a series of nerve blocks up both front legs, and found nothing. However, a neck flexion test did show a resistance to the left which is the rein which sees the nod. A quick scan revealed a very tiny spur on a vertebrae, and so we have medicated that to see if there is some discomfort coming from that when worked up into a contact.

It meant that Louie was kept a little longer than expected at the vets, but had his gastroscopy early on Thursday and was home in his usual stable by 2pm. As soon as he was home, he was back to his usual self, desperate to be in the field with his mates, but with the medication comes an increased risk of laminitis so he had to stay in. When I came back four hours later, he hadn't touched his haynet - there was not a blade pulled from it - and he'd spent the afternoon walking around his stable. I decided to put him out for 30-40 minutes, which he clearly enjoyed, and he was much more settled when he came back in, tucking straight into his hay.

A quick update on Louie's gastric ulcers

Good news about the ulcers though... After four weeks of medication, they have all cleared up!! I'll be writing an update on that very soon as I was lucky enough to watch the gastroscopy for myself and it was really fascinating!

Unfortunately, the trip to the vets and the subsequent treatment meant that we didn't make it to Richmond to compete at the end of the month, and as I sit here today, Louie hasn't been properly ridden for almost two weeks now. I was again in Copenhagen again this week just gone, so popped him on the lunge on Thursday when I came home and he looked just great! Free, loose and enjoying his work. So today, I'm going to head into the school to see if I can feel a difference after his neck injection. I'll be working on loads of flexion and bend, working long and more upward, as well as some transitions too. Very basic stuff to get us going again! 

1 comment:

  1. So pleased to hear that the ulcers have all cleared up! Brilliant news!


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