Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reflections

I probably should have brought my lap top to the show with me, handed my horse off the second we got out of the ring for our final division, and written my show recap post right then and there. I was on a serious high, clutching my blue ribbon and having a handful of yellow ribbons stuffed into my face for my over fences rounds as my barn mates surrounded me and told me how awesome we'd just done. I'd just crossed a serious goal off my list--one that up until it was tackled I wasn't entirely confident I was going to accomplish.

Then Hubby, Bobby, and I got back to the trailer to untack the hoss and stuff him with all the cookies, and Hubby offhandedly said, "You've jumped around Plantation and Bucks. This time last year you were doing Training, and everyone is telling you what a good job you just did getting over the tiniest course ever. I don't get it." I relayed that to BM while we were driving a load of those semi-feral creatures to their new home yesterday (What a fucking nightmare.), and she added, "SO was looking at the pictures and he was like, 'I thought Carly jumped the really big stuff like a badass?'"

Neither one of them meant anything mean by it of course. First of all, they're dudes. They say stupid shit all the time anyway. But neither of them was too impressed by what were pretty small jumps, and not being immersed in the horse world, they didn't really grasp the full effect of what I've gone through this year with my confidence.

BM was quick to tell me I am a badass, and while maybe we're not going Training right now, my horse is trained so much better, and when we get back there we're going to rock it because of that.

Still, a large part of me deflated. It was the tiniest course ever. I didn't even ride that well.

Then I went back and read my last two posts about the shows in this series. Back in May at the first one, I jumped one jump before bursting into tears and having to leave the ring unable to get around another fence out there. I finished that post with this:
Do we aim to do better next time? I don't know when the next time will be. I'm too scared to jump off property right now. I'm too worried about things going wrong and getting hurt again. I don't believe in my horse, even if he's proven he can be trusted to do his job. This is shaping up to be a much longer road than I anticipated.
And at the second show, a month later, I only went to school in the morning and didn't actually make it into any of the classes.
I held firm in my decision to keep this as a schooling opportunity only. My horse was a little naughty, I worked through it, and we jumped a few different jumps several times apiece OFF PROPERTY! I love satin as much as the next person, but that was a big enough win for me. Maybe I'll be ready by the next show.
I only went to cheer on barn mates for the third show as I had a dressage show that afternoon, but I vividly remember being so nervous standing at the gate waiting for W to go in for her rounds. I was dressed in shorts and muck boots, my horse wasn't even on the property, and I was getting psyched out by the jumps.

When I look back at all that, it makes it easier to feel proud of myself again. No, 2'3" isn't the most exciting thing in the world, and no, I didn't get a big open stride out of my horse or nail every distance. What I did do was make it around three separate courses, off property, with long approaches and multiple lines, and I never once got scared.

I had a smile plastered to my face going around even as we made mistakes. I was happy with my horse, happy with myself, and so thankful to BM and my whole barn family who cheered us on the entire morning.

A brain injury is an invisible thing. Confidence is an invisible thing. It's hard to see from the outside how much those things affect someone, so I have to compare myself to my own standards. I worked hard to get to that show, and I think I did the very best job for where I'm at now--not because of how well I did or didn't ride, but because I took another step toward conquering a crippling fear.

Go. Me.

33 comments:

  1. This! This is riding- accepting that you are afraid and doing it anyway! I don't even really know you and I'm proud of you.

    Head injuries are serious things and have long time consequences that are unseen.

    You go girl. :D

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  2. Confidence issues are insanely hard to overcome. You're doing wonderful and you and Bobby look amazing!

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  3. I would rather recover from a physical injury than a confidence injury, and you've done both. You have so much to be proud of! Keep up the amazing work!!!

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  4. I've always known you were a BAMF, whether you're bobbing around Training level or conquering cross rails. You and Bobby are a great team, and you are absolutely entitled to celebrate every victory and accomplish every goal you've set for yourself! Hunters is tough enough as it is, and for you to successfully get around 3 hunter courses AND score some satin? Mad props, yo.

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    1. *bopping, not bobbing. Although, puns ;)

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  5. GO YOU, INDEED! Fear and confidence problems (not to mention a brain injury!) are incredibly difficult to deal with. You have put in so much hard work, you never gave up, and you are making progress. That is a HUGE reason to celebrate!

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  6. Fuck 'em. And also understand that coming back from a fall like that is something they can't possibly understand, but mostly, fuck 'em and enjoy your blue ribbon! It's an achievement as much over your TBI as it is over the other horses in the class.

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  7. I would be THRILLED to go around a 2'3" course now, even though I've done Novice events and jumped 3'3"-3'6" hunter courses. Fear is a real and very tough thing to get over. You have a very legit reason to have fear, and you've come so far in getting past it! Congrats!

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  8. Fear and confidence issues are very hard to shake, to say nothing of a TBI! You've done a phenomenal job overcoming all three.

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  9. As Teresa said, I only know you through your blog and I'm insanely proud of you. Shattered confidence is such a tricky thing to recover from. Many people quit.You didn't. That's a victory right there. Then you go ahead and jump around the entire show without fear, major victory!

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  10. ugh this post resonates so hard. it drives me crazy that fear and confidence are so irrational - they follow no rules of logic. what worked one day might not work another day. and it's just such a fucking grind... it's *exhausting* to have to keep dealing with confidence or fear issues over and over again. to know that we're gonna have to face it every time we get on the horse. but we keep doing it bc the payoff is worth it. soooo worth it. that smile on your face and finally feeling like YES YOU DID IT after that course - that's the why, that's the feeling we want. so congrats - i'm glad you are enjoying it!!

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  11. Hey, it's 10000x harder to jump ANY jumps when you're nervous than it is to jump big jumps when you're confident. You are a complete bad-ass for working so hard to reach your goals! Good on you.

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  12. It takes time, but you are already coming back from a scary accident and injury. I totally understand how hard it is. 9 years ago my mom was in a pretty massive car wreck and has a TBI. It took her forever before she'd drive again. Even still, now 9 years later, if she sees a car wreck while driving she has to pull over because she has a panic attack. If someone else is driving you still have to pull over and talk her down. It takes guts to get back out there and face your fears. Baby steps! You're doing awesome!

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  13. You have come so far confidence wise, you shouldn't feel badly at all when they don't understand. I am very glad you looked back at your previous posts to remind you how far you have come. Congrats and keep kicking ass!

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  14. Bruh, falling is hard on your mental game. Boys are dumb and they don't get it, but we ALL do!! I'm still there with XC and I didn't even fall.. its so stupid! You are AMAZING

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  15. That last paragraph is so powerful. It's really easy to get down on yourself -- I do it all the time. In my last lesson I took a moment to remember where I've come from in the last year... which is from being bucked off over a single crossrail, to showing 2'6" at pace. It took 12 months and so much effort to get here, and while 2'6" at pace might not have been a lofty or particularly exciting goal, it was MY GOAL and I fucking made it.

    Jumping off property was your goal, and you've worked your ass off to get here. I DGAF what anyone else says, you really stepped up and killed it Carly, and I am so over the moon PROUD and HAPPY for you. <3 <3 <3

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  16. Ugh. Men.
    I'm glad you took a read back and were able to remember what a huge victory this is for you. It's HUGE! People who don't compete in a sport, don't understand what it's like to have a big set-back like you had. You keep doing what you're doing, and don't let the dudes bring you down.

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  17. Remember all the above comments and erase what the men said! Had my first fall a few weeks back, at a show, landed head first, still dealing with neck, shoulder pain and pep talk myself everytime I get back on that green cute mare. You are killing it out there - keep at it Carly!

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  18. Go you indeed. Men don't get it, but we do. We all know you're a badass... even more than last year!

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  19. Very well put, you are a badass and I am so happy for you that you came out of this experience with positivity!

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  20. Just reading this post, I am so very happy for you, and so proud that you stuck it out, worked through it, and made it happen. That takes a lot of invisible effort, and only YOU know how hard it really was. The only thing that matters here is how YOU feel... and yeah, you are a BAFM, no matter if you're on the flat or jumping Training or somewhere in between.

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  21. Fuck non-equestrians and their opinions. I mean, it's a hard sport, physically and mentally. I think you're doing great! The concept of a 2'3" course horrifies me and I haven't even really hit my head lately.

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  22. Go you! You got yourself through a lot this summer and you ended the series with a huge win :)

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  23. Other people's expectations are hard to face--they don't mean to be offensive and they want to understand, but there are only so many times in a day I want to explain "I'm scared shitless and that was really hard".

    People want things to make sense. They don't always. It's life.

    I know you know this, but what you did was awesome and impressive and as someone who has definitely been there in terms of fear, I'm thrilled for you. :-) Thrilled.

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    1. This. Exactly. I've been there too and am a long time reader. I think you're far more of a bad ass accomplishing big things right now than you were a few years ago. And you were pretty bad ass then, so now it's pretty much off the scale :)

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  24. I think it was wise to go back and revisit where you came from and what courage you have cultivated. You suffered a severe head trauma/TBI and learning to jump again is a huge feat. period. Recognize how important this is to you - and rejoice! You did something very brave. Poor hubs just doesn't realize what a brain injury and falling off can do to someone. It'd be easier if you had like, torn off an arm or something. It'd be easier for non-horse people to realize just exactly how hard this is.

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  25. Go you! The fact that you are facing your fear and making recognizable steps forward, of your own volition, is bigger than any ribbon. Tell the boys to go jump around Training right now if they're so great at it ;)

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  26. Men - always handy in the bringing us back down to earth department lol...

    Ego issues that go with loss of confidence are super tough. It's hard enough to struggle with fears around riding. Feeling like you need to explain or justify compounds the situation.

    Sounds like you took that thoughtless comment and turned it around - well done!

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  27. Go you indeed. You can't be brave if you're not scared to begin with.

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  28. Well said. You rock and are even more of a badass from dealing with everything and working your way back! It doesn't matter where you are in the process, it is showing up to play the game.

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  29. I'm behind/catching up on posts. But go you! You accomplished a lot at the show. Maybe the jumps were small, but it was a mental victory. And you guys looked so calm and relaxed in those videos. Does your husband read your blog? I'm guessing he doesn't know how much you've been recovering mentally and what a victory this show was.

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  30. Definitely, go you! TBIs are weird and they affect everyone differently. After having a fall and getting one myself last year, I'm much more timid about any possibility of slipping in a turn, and it's taken me a while to get brave again about being really handy. And that's totally ok! Now that you've had a good, confidence building show, hopefully you guys will be able to capitalize on your success!

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  31. I get this so much! You rock girl!

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.