Friday, October 12, 2012

learning to leave well enough alone

I was absolutely intent on getting back in the arena with Keil Bay today, and instead of going out to the barn and riding this morning, which is what we'd been doing, I ended up getting caught up in my own silly desire to make everything better.

First, I took my iPad to the barn and after feeding them breakfast I sat with my tea by the arena and checked out the new dressage test app I bought. I hadn't really looked at the new tests and as I was reviewing them I decided that Intro A, B, and C would be really good ways to continue getting both of us back in shape. This is an example of me going over the top with goals - instead of picking one of them and learning it, I figured I could do ALL THREE. Today.

Fine. At that point, I was already in over my head as far as getting things done before actually riding, but it wasn't obvious to me yet. If I was going to be doing the tests, I wanted to put the dressage markers back out in the arena.

Again, fine. Except then I decided before I put the markers in place I would get the leaves up underneath the two oak trees at H and F. There were 4 wheelbarrow loads of leaves so that took a little while.

Then I started obsessing over Keil's wither adjustment. What if my newfound springing into the saddle had put it out of whack to begin with? My practical, sensible daughter said she doubted that was the case, and she's probably right, since I was springing into the saddle from the equivalent of a 3-step mounting block. But in my obsessing I decided to raise the mounting block another entire step, which required moving some cement blocks from the barnyard to the far end of the arena.

About the time I finished all of this I realized I was getting a sore throat. I've held off the mild flu bug everyone else in my family has, but it hit sometime mid-day. But I really really wanted to ride.

This evening I went out and got Keil Bay ready. I realized I was going to have to abandon tests B and C and just ride A. I jotted down the test on a piece of paper so I could check it if needed in the saddle.

Off we went to the mounting block. It was so high I was almost unable to climb up onto it. However, it worked.  The mounting block is so high now there is no hesitation on my part at all - I couldn't wait to get off that block and into the saddle! My sore throat went away and the arena looked nice. The sun was out of the arena for the most part and there were no bugs. Salina and the donkeys came from the front field to the back field to graze alongside the arena and keep us company.

We did a long warm-up and then our usual transition into trotting. Keil went from 0 to 60 in terms of alertness and responsiveness about halfway into the ride, which I wasn't expecting. Instead of enjoying his energy and his movement, I got very caught up in that stupid dressage test and wanting to be able to do it - well, not perfectly, but - better than respectably.

The crazy thing is that I switched gears suddenly.  He revved up energy-wise and I took that right into the test. We were doing our usual routine and then I turned down center line. Keil knows the dressage tests, or at least he did know them until they changed them - so he was trying to do what he thought I was asking him to do, but it wasn't right. Because I was going by my piece of paper.

In hindsight I should have just done the old test at least one time. That would have been a compromise on my part. But.

I got a little agitated. Partly it was me not feeling well, but ignoring that, and part of it was wanting to do a good test. We did it once passably, but there was not much relaxation going on on MY part. Keil was confused at first, then he got annoyed, then he went into high gear.

We went into a second try and about halfway through I realized how ridiculous I was being. We've had a number of days off, a big chiro adjustment for Keil, NO chiro adjustment for me, and I know I need one (it's scheduled, my last one had to be canceled so I'm about 5 weeks now without one), and today I probably had a low grade fever by the time I got in the saddle.

Thankfully I just stopped riding the test, put my cheat sheet away, and finished the ride we should have had from the beginning - a low-key, let's get back to work but from a place of relaxation, this is for FUN kinda ride.

Instead what we got was like using the big Kitchen Aid mixer and accidentally turning it on high without locking it down. Neither of us were quite ready for the energy today but it's good to know it's there when we ARE ready.

Of course, even though I was pushing both of us to do something on a piece of paper, which is actually less than what we have been doing on our own in terms of complexity and actual work, I got agitated in the process and made it much harder. Still, when we finished and I got off, Keil Bay googled his eyes at me, licked and chewed, rubbed his head on my shoulder, and when I put both hands in between the side pieces of his bridle he wiggled his head up and down giving himself a nice scratch.

I thanked him for putting up with my nonsense. He was pretty gracious about it.

And then he sauntered into the barn aisle and stood at the feed room door, waiting patiently for his snack while I untacked him.

After he finished and went out with the herd,  I should have come inside and taken a hot bath. But my crazy obsessive mood today kicked back in and I cleaned my boots, his bridle, and the saddle before coming in! And now my sore throat is back and I have the whole nasal thing kicking in as well.

Possibly this is what I get for going 90 miles an hour into October. When I don't slow myself down, my body does it for me. :)


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

We had our first big cool winds this week, which have Val and the other critters bouncing around. :D

It is very hard to resist tackling all the must-do's when the weather becomes delightful... it's sparkling here on the coast too.

Keil Bay is quite the gentleman isn't he?! I hope you feel better soon.

billie said...

All here are a bit wild too - this weather is just delightful. He is quite the gentleman - I'm just glad I came to my senses and stepped outside my own agenda. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

It's always nice to have a plan before the ride. But sometimes the ride needs to be adjusted to fit the circumstances of what is happening. I guess it's human nature to want to finish what we started but when that isn't possible it's best to relax and go with the flow.

Love that he's just like our horses and knows to go to the feed room for a job well done. They always look forward to their treat. Hope you feel better soon so you can enjoy this gorgeous weather.

Christine said...

I hear you Billie! I get it in my head I want to do more than a 24 hour day can realistically allow me time to do and off I go!

It is good to be able to reflect and thank your equine friend for putting up with an over the top moment :)

For me, I have a husband to thank for reminding me that I'm getting over a kick to the head from a horse and I can't take on the world at this point in time as fast as I'd like to! :)

I do know that, but I do forget at times ;)

I hope you get over the flu soon!

billie said...

Christine, that "off I go" sounds SO familiar. :) I hope your recovery is quick and complete - it's crazy what we do sometimes when we're supposed to be resting and healing, isn't it?

Strawberry Lane said...

Billie, I read your post a couple times. It really hit home. I just don't know when enough is enough. Your words were good for me, thanks!
Hope you get better soon!

billie said...

Thanks, SL - you said it perfectly - I don't know either when enough is enough! It's a long-time issue for me - which goes back to balance - creating it, living it, allowing it.

Allowing it is the big one for me. :)

billie said...

A, your comment got lost in Blogger land - just showed up! I love it too that he goes to the feed room door and stands so politely while I untack him, no tying needed. He is so satisfied with himself after a ride and I love that he has his post-ride routine to count on no matter what I manage to do while in the saddle!