Thursday, August 18, 2011

I forgot to remember I am "broken".....

I think I say this every time, but tonight truly was the best riding lesson I have had yet. It was my third ride on Cody and thanks to some explanation on his movements from my instructor I really started to enjoy trotting with him, and more importantly felt secure doing it. Switching between horses was more of a change than I expected,  but once she helped me realize what I was perceiving as me being out of balance was actually normal for the difference between him and Snapper  I stopped worrying so much and really enjoyed the ride.

BTW for those not on FB trying to figure out why I switched, I "graduated" off Snapper *sniff sniff* and on to Cody. It was a bittersweet change, I am ecstatic I am making progress but Snapper will always be "my guy" and it is weird being on another horse and watching others ride him. I did sneak him some treats tonight, he'll always have my heart even if my saddle is elsewhere! But I have to admit, Cody is more fun to ride!

It is hard to believe it has only been about 12 weeks now I have been riding, I cant remember life without horses (nor can I imagine ever being that way again) but being the Type A, over achiever, perfectionist I am, I of course questioned my instructor on if I was where I should be. Especially since I have switched reining styles now 3 times between horses (neck to direct and now back to neck) and feel like my hands are a "hot mess" at times. She had some really nice feedback and for once I actually believed someone was being honest with me and not just blowing smoke, but so much more happened in that conversation. For the first time in 15 years I actually forgot I am "broken" (my right side).

As Etta was going over my progress she pointed out that I was ahead of where many adults are who don't have my physical challenges. And as bizarre as this is going to sound (and it was to me when I realized it). For a brief moment I had no clue what she meant by my challenges. I actually had to stop and remind myself about the nerve damage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was in that moment that I realized how much riding has changed me, to my core. As I thought about it during the rest of the lesson, it hit me, I haven't thought about my right side issues and riding in weeks, probably since the lesson early on where we worked on mounting. When I am in the saddle I no longer think about do I squeeze unevenly or am I not kicking as well on one side, or any of that. I truly think of myself as a normal rider, and for me that is BEYOND huge.

And as I pondered that change, it hit me, that while riding was the trigger for this, it hasn't stopped there. I knew I had changed in the gym lately also, wanting to try new things, wanting to see what my body would do (like our tire adventure on Tuesday) but what I hadn't pieced together, was that I no longer consider my right side in the equation!

Don't get me wrong, there are still things about my body I find challenging and balance isn't what I would like it to be, I cant move my feet and legs fast enough (something Snapper and I seem to have in common...LOL), I have an immense fear of falling. But the difference, when I come against those challenges now, I just see them as part of my body, I don't think about one side versus the other, and more than that, I don't think of them as being the result of the nerve damage, and I haven't in a while now.

I wont lie, the weight is taking me longer to not think about. I still have that moment every time I mount the horse, where I make someone check the girth, not because I don't think I have it tight enough, but because in my mind I still weigh too much and fear stepping into the stirrup and pulling the saddle off the horse.  And I still struggle with it in the gym, when my trainer goes to help me with something my first thought is I am going to hurt him if he has to catch me. But I can honestly say once I am on Cody or Snapper, even my weight goes away. I don't think about it, I forget I weigh over 200 lbs or that there are people who think I am too fat to ride.

Once I am in that saddle I am normal, I am just like everyone else and after 15 years of living as the outsider, that is a greater gift than I could have ever asked for!

Today I truly forgot to remember I am "broken" and never thought that moment would come!!!!!!

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