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The Nervous Equestrian by The Nervous Equestrian - 1d ago

F*@K FEAR!

That’s right. I said it.

If you don’t tell fear to go away. It never will.

As everyone knows I struggle HORRIBLY with telling it to go away. The last couple of lessons have been without a doubt, beyond discouraging. I basically quit during one, but then continued on (that right there told myself I wasn’t REALLY done, even though physically I was tapped out!).

But, my lesson I just had this past Saturday, was one of the greater ones I’ve had yet this winter.

Frustration Bethany didn’t make a full appearance (happy dance everyone!). I could feel my frustration starting to creep up but I took a couple of deep breaths and told myself “get it together, you’re OKAY!”

LIGHT BULB MOMENT!

I was okay, I was more than okay. I stuck my butt in that saddle and we did it. I have to remember to tell myself “I can do it”. Mentally telling myself seems to be the hard one these days as the fear is like “PUMP THE BRAKES! You are not doing this today”.

I recently read the piece that Piper Klemm wrote for The Plaid Horse Magazine titled, “On Insecurity and Fear and Finding Your Lion“.

The first sentence in the second paragraph struck a nerve with me.  “As I sit here on Facebook seeing everyone’s progress, huge jumps, and big horse show wins, I started really doubting myself. I’m brave, right?” – Piper Klemm

That’s me. That’s exactly what I do. I see everyone around me improving, going to the horse shows, jumping bigger and making fantastic progress. And I am stuck in this mental rut. I am letting my past fails take over my future wins (Shocker, right?). With show season quickly approaching and I’m barely even jumping, I am doing just that; doubting my progress compared to everyone else.

I have to remind myself that I have improved, I have ACTUALLY accomplished more goals then I give myself credit for.

If you read my goals list I wrote in December I wanted to canter a course indoors without any trot transitions… WELL, it happened. And I didn’t even realize it happened until my coach pointed it out to me. I’ve also jumped more than one jump during a lesson. I jumped a 2ft vertical more than once, AND I didn’t lose my mind when I didn’t see a single spot.

It’s the little goals that I am squashing that I need to remind myself of. Every time I ride my sassy mare I am improving.

I have to remind myself how I felt as I walked Abbey into the ring to jump her off property for the first time. No fear, calm and just a sense that I knew that Abbey was going to help me out. I felt trust in her like never before.

So good-bye fear! Your time is (slowly) coming to an end!

The Nervous Equestrian

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The Nervous Equestrian by The Nervous Equestrian - 3M ago

Another Tuesday lesson has come and gone. Another Tuesday lesson were I am left thinking – why. Why do I love this sport so much that I am putting all this stress and frustration on myself?

In my lesson last night, I was nervous even before I got to the barn. But (I am going to sound crazy here) I find when I am nervous before I even get to the barn, and it’s usually a different type of nervous feeling, it usually means something is wrong with Abbey. But last night, Abbey was fine. Except, she was being cranky because she was inside for the day due to the barnyard being icy and not having her winter shoes on yet. Turns out I was just being silly again, getting all nervous for no reason. But I do find that I do get that weird pit in my stomach when something is wrong with my animals (true connection maybe?). My stomach settled once I started grooming and once I got on I was more relaxed feeling.

I know that every Tuesday is jump day. Every Tuesday I have to face my mental demons and jump. I will be honest, about 50% of me is excited to jump, to improve, to get those videos so I can look back and see the change (HELLLOO GLOW UP!), but the other 50% of me is like oh shit, not this again. But, going into my jumping lessons I actually am even more confident and more relaxed then I have been in the past. I know longer want to puke or pass out. ALSO!! This is big news.. my blacking out while jumping has pretty much stopped! I have the odd time, but it is NOTHING like before (YAY!).

One of my biggest challenges now that I am dealing with are, my old nervous habits are happening and I am not even aware they are happening; like dropping my hands, dropping my eye, basically not riding properly into the fence. In my head I am counting my pace, I am going for it. I can feel it happening and then nope. I am unconsciously telling Abbey to stop and she stops. God love her for listening to my body cues, but damn it Abbey, just jump the fence.

Last night was no exception to “Abbey just jump that fence”, but because my body was telling her that I wanted her to stop, she stopped. (Babysitter Abbey coming in hot). We had some really ugly jumps, my equitation was shit (praise the lord there isn’t any video from last night). Abbey started out strong, excited to jump and eager to get to the fence. We did make the distance down the line AND I jumped an oxer. My first oxer since the Hants county show in September. But then it was game on. Because I was unconsciously telling Abbey to stop, she was stopping. She was testing me hard-core last night from that moment on.

To say I was frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe how frustrated I actually was. I was so over her and her testing me and just playing this game. I was done. I just wanted to jump, to get her over and not let her win. But she was playing the game so hard. I was so mentally exhausted from this game. In the past, when she would test me like this I would just get off and let someone better than me get on because nothing good was coming from it. But that wasn’t an option for me last night. I was determined to get her over on my own without getting off until we were finished the lesson. And I did. We got over the vertical twice. I didn’t get off; I didn’t let her win the game. We ended on a good note.

I need to look on the positives from last night and not focus on the negatives from it. Because oh boy, oh boy, when I got home (poor Jeremy was on the receiving end of my bad mood) I was done. I was quitting, I was just going to give Abbey to Chelsea (my coach) and walk away from it all. But, Jeremy (seriously, he is the best when it comes to handling a bitching Bethany) said “nothing a little more practice can’t fix & you can be a bitch sometimes too so why can’t she”. I would of personaly left the last part out if I was him, but you have to love him for his honestly. It just took that simple little sentence and a text from my Mom (who had no idea bitching Bethany was raging hard-core at the time) to make me semi take a step back and stop being so dramatic about it.

I’ve wanted this basically my whole life. I’ve said it time and time again; I am doing what little kid Bethany wanted to do. It does take practice, a whole lot of practice. And I’m not a quitter (this time). I always give up when the going gets tough but this time is different, this time I want to ride. If I was going to give up I would have gave up after my first bad fall.

Despite all that frustration and some tears from last night, I jumped an oxer more than once. I jumped a line that wasn’t just cross rails and I showed Abbey that I am the winner in this game.

Today is a new day. Today is a new day to ride. And next Tuesday is new lesson day. A new lesson day to improve.

The Nervous Equestrian

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The Nervous Equestrian by The Nervous Equestrian - 4M ago

They say you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends. But when friends turn into family, have you choosen your family in a round about way?

I’ve been at the same barn for 3ish – potenially almost 4 years now and I honestly couldn’t be happier. I have made some really good friends at the barn. I have seen people come and go but at the end of the day I think we should all be proud and happy that we have such a amazing facility to go to.

We recently had our Halloween training show at the barn and the support was unreal. From the high-fives, to the amazing cheering squad (I’m looking at you Katie & Emily), to the congratulations and pats in the backs.

The show made my brain wheels do some turning and just made me take a step back and realize we seriously do have each other’s best interest. From all the lows to all the highs. From the big girl hunters playing in the shorties, the encouragement and support is the BEST.

When you are apart of a barn, show squad, or just in any team atmosphere you are repressing yourself, the team and the facility that you come from. I personally think we should all take pride in how supportive we are of each other and how we are there for each other; from our personal lives, to the last minute pep talks before entering the show ring.

You fight like sisters but at the end of the day you have each other’s backs. We should all be FREAKING PROUD that we have this amazing chance to do something we love with the best barn squad EVER.

So go give your horses some treats & thank your coach for dealing with you in your high and low moments!

#showsquad2019

The Nervous Equestrian

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The Nervous Equestrian by Thenervousequestrian - 6M ago

If I could turn back timeeee.. Ohhhh, If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t of rode like shit at hants county. – JK, I probably still would have.

BUT!

It happened. It actually happened. Despite me losing to my own mental games, Abbey and I went to our second ever off property show together, and we had a blast! This time we jumped. Yes, you read that right. I some how had the courage to jump Abbey off property!

We had a schooling day on Thursday and it went fantastic! After, I ate shit off Abbey –  in true Bethany fashion, I would have my first fall off her at an off property show in front of some great riders. But at least it wasn’t jumping related! But other than that it went great! She was FABOLOUS! She was so calm and cool. Not like the last time I took her there. She was there to do a job and she did it. I was honestly so surprised at how relaxed she was. She is definitely a show horse and loves showing off. She didn’t even hesitate to the jumps, or even have a second look at them.  She just did it and saved my ass every single time – like every time.

My first round was horrible, I honestly can’t even talk or think about it without getting mad at myself, and embarrassed. My second round was much better, I was much more relaxed and semi allowing her to come forward (something I am struggling with – control & consistency & trust).

In the second division (2ft) we were disqualified from both jumping rounds because I let her run out at the SAME FREAKING FENCE! Totally pilot error, and it was a tight corner in Abbey’s defence, but I really could have gotten her over it, if I basically didn’t give up.

Our under saddles were a nightmare, Abbey gets so up with all the other horses in the ring. Being the only horse in the ring for jumping, great, her thing, she loves it. Sharing the ring, she’s like nope – I need all eyes on me. We did manage to pull off a 6th place ribbon! I picked up the wrong lead for one class, so that tossed us out right there.

When I was in the ring for my first round of the day, as I was cantering down to the jump I was thinking (instead of counting my pace – oops) on how relaxed I actually felt once I got in there and started. And when I say relaxed, I only half wanted to throw up, but not committed to it 100%. My mind was blown, after the first jump with the horrible distance and me forgetting how to ride, I was back to thinking – dang I am actually doing this and I am actually HAVING FUN.

At the end of the day, no matter how mad and embarrassed I am at myself for my show performance I did achieve my goals. The only 2 goals I had for Hants County were, to get Abbey happily into the ring, and to successfully jump some (but aim for all) jumps. And I did that. Abbey was a super star, and we jumped jumps. I managed to pull it off. Everything else that happened, or didn’t happen is straight up no biggie. I can’t dwell on it.

Just going out there and riding is the best feeling of achievement I could give myself.  Not talking myself out of it and actually doing it is a huge accomplishment for myself. I always play these mental games when it comes to riding and having people who I don’t know watch me. So going off property and showing – while having fun is a much better feeling than winning a red ribbon in my books.

The Nervous Equestrian

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As many of you may know my mare Abbey has Equine lymphangitis. Which is an infection of the lower limbs caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, or from an infected wound. Lymphangitis in horses is the swelling and inflammation of the lymph nodes, this most often affects one or both of the rear legs. Abbey’s affected leg is her left hind, and she had a flare up just over a month ago (we believe it was caused by a bad case of mud fever, which then led to cellulitis). This flare up led me to find this amazing company called Incrediwear Equine. 

Their products have semi-conductors embedded into the fibers; Germanium & Carbon. All the product has to do is to touch the skin! All the semi-conductors need is – body heat. This activates the germanium and the carbon; releasing negative ions and vibrating the cells. This then increases the blood flow and lymphatic drainage of the affected site.  This results in reduced swelling and inflammation of the area. It also speeds up healing of wounds and other issues. Their products are also great for injury prevention. They help reduce muscle fatigue during work outs.

Muscle fatigue = higher risk for injury. Which us riders absolutely do not want!

Let me start by saying, the customer service at Incrediwear Equine is by far the best. They were so, so helpful! Answering all my nonstop questions without any hesitation! Shipping was fast, considering it was shipped from CA, USA and I am in Nova Scotia, Canada. I believe I received my wraps within a week and a day or so from them shipping to me.

After my many, many (repeat of) questions, I went with the Circulation Exercise Bandages. They reassured me they would be the best fit for Abbey and her leg. They will help with her (at the time) flare up, and with any future flare ups she may have, and to just help with the overall health of her leg. You can use them just as a standing wrap and during exercise as well.

Circulation Exercise Bandages

The proof is in the pictures;

Before                                                         After – Flat Ride

When I received the wraps, I first tested out the “icing” factor the wraps have. When wet the wraps act as ice packs basically! Hose them down and let the wraps do the work! I was half expecting them to be cold to the touch, but after *another* message to them, I was reassured the coldness is inside the wrap, against the skin. You can leave the wraps on for up to an hour, when wet. They stay cold for up to 45mins-1 hour. I left them on for about 30minutes and I noticed a difference in her stockiness immediately after removing them.

When I used the wraps during our flat work and jumping lessons, twice, the wrap on the affected leg started to get lose because the swelling went down faster than it ever has before, without being wrapped!

I truly don’t want Abbey to have another flare up at all, but I feel better knowing I have a product on hand that can help her quickly if she does. Also, the company is literally just a message away, with quick shipping if I need anything else!

When she wears them for our flat/jumping rides, Abbey’s stockiness is reduced greatly, and she moves better. It’s great to see these wraps work and how they have helped Abbey. It actually surprised me at first how quickly the stockiness goes away while wearing them, and when I use the ice feature on her legs, it’s even better.

I tell everyone about them and suggest to anyone who has a horse with stockiness to give them a try and see for yourself – if this review, and pictures aren’t enough!

They are a small company of 3 people, with fantastic customer service, who have products that are helping our equine partners stay in tip top shape!

And, these wraps are even washable! You can’t even wash away the magic! Toss them in the washer and tumble dry!

If your equine friend has stockiness, swollen leg(s) after a hard workout or just any other leg health issues I recommend these wraps, and this company in general.

The circulation bandages are totally a tack trunk necessity!

The Nervous Equestrian

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The Nervous Equestrian by Thenervousequestrian - 6M ago

It happened. It finally happened.

Abbey & I FINALLY had not one, but TWO lessons. After set back, after set back, we finally did it. We are at the point again that we are able to start back up into the lesson program. My saddle fits great, her leg is back to normal and my life is finally starting to relax.

We had a fantastic first lesson back. I was so unbelievably nervous. Like, the most nervous I have been in months. I was THAT nervous, that I almost sent a text to my coach telling her I couldn’t make it for some BS reason. But my Fiancé told me to stop being dumb and just go do it. So I did. And I’m so glad I didn’t let my annoying nervous personality win this round.

I’ve been flatting Abbey (but not jumping) pretty consistently. Minus the cross rail we did last week, oh and the time we jumped the mounting block while attempting a lead change, but hey, if its in your way – jump it! So the nerves I was feeling seemed pretty normal to have – all things considering!

For our first lesson, we simply just did cross rails and then a vertical a few times. We just went back and forth, over and over again. Just working on developing my eye again and gaining my confidence back. Once I got over my “first jump fear”, it was fine. I didn’t see a single distance but I trusted Abbey and just went with her and hoped for the best.

At our second jumping lesson, I was less nervous and felt more confident. I have a horse that loves to jump and knows her job very well. She has schooled 4ft, so my little verticals and cross rails are a joke to her (she’s laughing at me, I know she is). We worked on the same thing again; just developing my eye again and just keeping it simple so my confidence won’t get shattered.. again. It was a fantastic lesson. I just trusted her, and went for it.

I believe that all the setbacks we have been having, and having missed this show season, has truly helped us develop our bond. I’ve only had Abbey since March, and we have so far formed a great bond and I do trust her. She definitely takes care of me! It’s going to help me so much in the show ring & gaining my confidence back.

The Nervous Equestrian

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The Nervous Equestrian by Thenervousequestrian - 8M ago

When I say I have shitty luck and I am always faced with setback, after set back – I honest to God mean it.

I had MONTHS of struggling with saddle issues for Abbey. I FINALLY got my saddle to fit her properly and she’s happy.

And now,

She’s lame. Like, dead lame. It’s heartbreaking and she’s such a diva so it makes it worse.

Abbey has lymphangitis aka “big leg syndrome”. It’s inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, but with constant work and turn out, the inflammation stays down and it is very easily managed. It doesn’t affect her performance, doesn’t cause any pain, doesn’t affect her jumping – nothing. It’s strictly cosmetic. The only MAJOR downside, of her having this is I have to watch her hind leg (the one with lymphangitis) constantly and very carefully. Any cut, mud fever, thrush, anything can cause her to have a flare up, which she is having now. And OMG… It is heartbreaking. I am a sucker for her diva ways and she knows how to certainly pull out the “Ohh… I am hurting diva card” and play that card with me damn good (this is where my Mother would say Abbey and I are meant to be together – because of my “diva” ways  -_-).

I rode Abbey on Monday and she was fine. She was just a little trippy, which I blamed on her just being lazy from the summer heat that afternoon. Then Tuesday she had the flare up, all within a matter of hours. After doing some googling and talking with my Coach/Barn Owner we believe this flare up is caused by scratches. There was a small patch by her fetlock, and within a few days after this flare up it has spread to the front of her leg.

It has been 6 days since her flare up and I do have to say she is MUCH better. She’s being hand walked daily, on a daily antibiotic and I am washing her leg/cold sponging it daily and applying zinc cream to any open abrasion. Any articles that I read online said MOST flare ups last 7-10 days if treated immediately – which we did.

With her having this flare up I have been looking into all kinds of preventative measures; from hind turn out boots, to herbs, to weekly antiseptic washes on that leg. My emotional self can’t handle seeing her go through it again… nor can I handle her pulling out the major diva card on me, LOL.

I know most people don’t write/talk about lameness or any issues with their horses – especially publicly, but I feel like Abbey’s lymphangitis issue doesn’t need to be kept in the dark (since it so obviously). It is not a life altering issue; it’s just a pain in the butt when there is a flare up. But since this has happened, I am going to be much better prepared if it ever happens again and I am going put in place preventive measures so Abbey doesn’t also have to go through it as well.

Hopefully within another week’s time we can FINALLY get back into a lesson program. What’s funny is that Tuesday (day of the flare up) my stomach was a mess; I felt so off, like something was wrong. So I went home to check on my dogs and they were fine so I played it off as I was just nervous to have my jumping lesson on Wednesday evening – we were finally going to start lessons again.  But nope, Ms. Abbey was the one that was off.  Isn’t it weird how sometimes you can just sense when something isn’t right?

Let’s hope this is the last damn set back – for like… ever.

The Nervous Equestrian

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