One Step at a Time - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 09-22-2020, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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One Step at a Time

This is perhaps premature of me, given that there are currently no horses in my life, but I'm working really, really hard on getting back to riding, and I have a lot going on in my head, and it will be helpful for me to write it all down. And I hope, very soon (in a couple of weeks?) to be able to actively discuss the new horse(s) I meet, how lessons are going, etc. I feel motivated. I am actively trying to take care of my body in ways I honestly never have before, because wow, I can't eat that ice cream, it's all well and good for me to accept that I'll have to carry the weight of said ice cream around but it's not fair for me to ask my future lesson horse to carry it, too. I've exercised more in the last week than I have in the last month, because I will be a better rider if I am in shape (and again, my future horse buddy's back will appreciate it) and I have no intention of stopping. Motivation!

And that's such a simple thing, right, feeling motivated? But it's something that I haven't felt for so long that I literally forgot what it felt like. When was the last time I felt genuine motivation for something? It was before May 21st, 2011, I can tell you that much. That's when I had my first major depressive break. My emotions haven't ever been the same since then. (Makes me wonder what other emotions I've forgotten about. What a strange thought.)

I'm not sure if someone who doesn't have depression can really understand what that's like, to go from being normal to being an apathetic mess to slowly trying to crawl your way to normality again. Thinking you're doing fine, and then something happens and you backslide; thinking you're doing fine, and then something happens that makes you feel good and you realize that actually you hadn't been doing fine at all. (Similarly, I know that there are experiences that are normal for other people that I won't ever be able to understand. We try our best, yeah? Let me know if I ever mess up too badly.) I tend to think that everyone has depression, because that's what we humans do, right, we think that our normal is normal for everyone, even if we know it's not. So if you're reading this, and you have depression, hey. *fist bump* Hang in there, buddy. Just take one step at a time. I'm happy to talk about it, if you want to. And if you're reading this and you don't have depression, then hey, maybe I can explain some things. Or maybe not, but hopefully I'll have horse pics to share soon, and who doesn't love horse pics?

I have much, much more to write, but I have work I need to do right now. Ugh, capitalism, amirite?
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post #2 of 27 Old 09-22-2020, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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This post was originally very different, but I realized I was making myself sad, so I rewrote it. Less maudlin melodrama, more reporting!


Here's what I have done so far:
1) Made a list of all the local stables that are within a twenty minute drive from where I live.
2) Drove to the first one on the list just so I would know what it looked like.
3) .........Had anxiety.


My next step is to call the stable to ask about lessons. I have absolutely no anxiety about the horses or about riding itself, but I have had terrible social anxiety for my whole life. (Apparently, when I first went to nursery school, I spent the entire first day crying. Not, like, cried for a while and then moved on--cried the whole time. I guess I did that basically the entire first week. Ma said I didn't have to go back, but I am also stubborn. I eventually stopped crying, but I was incapable of speaking while there for that whole first year. Selective mutism is a bad term, IMO, because it implied that the person is selecting when to talk or not. My brain had a complete lockdown on my throat. I could not make a sound to save my life. I'm not a toddler anymore, obviously, but I wanted to give an example of how bad it used to be.) I am already terrified of the people I'll have to interact with. I feel a little sick just thinking about it. With luck, and determination, and a good barn culture, I will get over that. Maybe I'll even make friends. That would be nice.


I have made two concessions to my anxiety:
1) the aforementioned visit, in which I didn't even get out of the care to look around, because I know not to wander around people's barn like a weirdo, don't worry. I just needed to see the place, to eliminate one unknown.
2) I gave myself a deadline for next Monday by which I'll need to call the trainer. Okay, anxiety we can push it back a little bit, but it's written on the calendar where everyone can see it, so.


The stable is very pretty. I don't have my heart set on it, and if things don't feel good I'll keep looking, but it looks very nice. It's a hunter/jumper stable, set far back from the road, in an area that is very green. They must have some lovely trails to ride. All the horses had been taken in for the day, but I saw a lil' horsie nose poking out of its stall door. Very sad to have been unable to pet it.


There's a few ways I figure the conversation can go:
1) It will go to voicemail and I will gratefully write them an email instead.
2) She picks up and is able to talk, and we do talk. We both ask each other questions, and I get a sense of what she's like.
3) She picks up and is very business-like, makes an appointment and that's that. In which case I either need to find a way to force out what I want to say (hello, I'm an adult re-rider, I'm autistic and socially awkward but actually very friendly, I'm not in great shape but am working very hard to get fit again, I will work hard at this, do you have a weight limit, dress code, special COVID policies, or anything else I need to know, etc.) or they go unanswered and I obsess about how it didn't go the way I wanted it to, and what if I show up at the barn and they think I'm weird and also I'm too fat for their horses.


I did not go into this post with the intention of writing so many numbered lists, but there you have it. I suppose I will write next on Monday. Wish me courage. 

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post #3 of 27 Old 09-22-2020, 08:42 PM
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Good work doing a drive by.

Good work making lists. Lists are comforting. No problem with lists. It helps organize your thoughts.

Well done on the exercise and the motivation.

You can make the phone call!
(From someone who completely understands your social anxiety as I suffer from it too. Just one example. I did a PhD in science and wasted so much lab time because I did not have the things I needed for my experiments and was too anxious to go to the store and ask for them because the store guy was hard of hearing and often grouchy. So I not only had to ask for stuff, I had to repeat it often as he did not hear, which made me all the more anxious (was it me? had I said something wrong?). I usually got my lab mate to get my stuff. Now I tend to overcompensate and be overly chatting and social, and then I go home and crash from the exhaustion of pretending.)

If it helps, I don't think the obsessing about the details will go away no matter how the phone call turns out. I think it's just a part of processing the situation for those of us that do that, and you know, I think that is ok as long as we know it is just processing, it does not define the truths of the situation. Just because you are worrying about being weird, does not mean you are weird. Just because you are worrying about your weight, does not mean it is an issue for riding.

As you get on with the checking stables process, I think you would find that all the "good" places would want to know your height and weight straight up anyway to see if they have a horse that is a good fit. It is something I have been asked at everywhere I ride (lessons and trail rides), and now I just tend to make contact with "hi, I would like to come ride, do you have an advanced beginner friendly horse suitable for someone who is [weight and height]".
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post #4 of 27 Old 09-22-2020, 09:19 PM
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I have had brushes with depression, and it runs in my family, but the last year I have been quite deeply mired in it, more than ever, even with medication. But, I have always been able to grab upon and enjoy, as a small sweet, a beautiful moment. Sometimes, people who are depressive get into this place where they feel undeserving of ANY happiness that might stumble across their path, since, afterall, they are busy being unhappy, and an unhappy person shouldn't be happy, unless it's something that makes them change, fundamentally, into a no longer unhappy person. My strength, as I've been told, is that I give myself permission to be happy about some small thing, even if it does not one whit to change the fact that I am older, quite fat, have no horse and . . . yadda yadda. The thing was still worth taking a moment out of my job of being unhappy to recognize it.


Some days, tho, I can't see any of those 'things'.
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post #5 of 27 Old 09-23-2020, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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I CALLED THE TRAINER and got voicemail.

Thank you for the kind words, that's actually what gave me the courage to call!

Now I need to spend the next few hours arguing with myself about whether I should try calling again at a different time (maybe she was just busy) or sending an email. Or, idk, text? Probably not text.

Knowing my brain, I will almost certainly settle for emailing. Then I'll feel anxious about having done that, because their riding lessons page listed a phone and email, but their contact page said to call to ask about riding lessons. And I'm probably reading too much into that and actually an email is just fine.

I'm probably giving the impression that I'm a nervous wreck all the time haha. I'm not, I'm actually fairly easygoing. It's just that establishing contact is one of the most difficult things for me, and this is very important to me, so those two things together mean I'm a bit of a mess atm. It'll settle down.
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post #6 of 27 Old 09-23-2020, 09:37 PM
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Well done :)

I would email and follow up with a call if it made you feel better to cover all your bases. Email along the lines of "I just left you a voicemail and understand if you are busy and don't have time to return it. I am looking to start lessons as an adult re-rider...(briefly explain your situation)...I will try catch you by phone later, but please feel free to respond via email".

Then if they do not respond call, or text, or if you have to, Facebook messenger (I am not on social media and really dislike when some places mainly only use Facebook messenger [one of my daughter's activities does this and the organizer takes forever to respond to an email or text]).
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post #7 of 27 Old 09-25-2020, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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So I've left a voicemail message and an email, basically saying contact me via whichever is the most convenient. (And I'm doing better today because, in addition to this, I was also worried about one of my cats all week, but everything looks normal with her, pending bloodwork--the vet cleaned her ears out and I think maybe she'd been acting weird because she couldn't hear well? She's acting more like herself atm. Too soon to say for sure, but I'm feeling better.) So, all told, I'm less anxious than I was yesterday, but I do wish she'd call back.

And perhaps I shall take a drive down to the next stable on my list, in case this just doesn't work out.

It's been a really long week.

Last edited by Danneq; 09-25-2020 at 05:10 PM. Reason: format
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post #8 of 27 Old 09-29-2020, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Right, so.

Haven't heard back from Stable #1, so I went to look at Stable #2 over the weekend. It doesn't have that long rolling driveway through the woods away from the road that #1 has (I'm a little enchanted with their driveway, ngl) but the upside of that was that I could sit across the street and look at their pretty horses! Their website is also a little more "down to earth" than the first one (which is very "posh," according to reviews). They've got actual people on in their photos, instead of them all being tiny prim teenage girls in tailcoats. (Nothing against tiny prim teenage girls in tailcoats, natch, it's just not an atmosphere I personally vibe with.)

(Also, and this probably isn't something I should be thinking about because it's so far away, but, hypothetically, when I am in the position to own a horse, I could actually afford to board it there, which I couldn't do at the #1.)

I just gave them a call, and I never thought I'd be disappointed to get voicemail. I left them a message. More waiting. And I stuttered a few times in the message, which should be irrelevant but, like. You know. Nerves.

*twiddles thumbs*

Last edited by Danneq; 09-29-2020 at 12:00 PM. Reason: format
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post #9 of 27 Old 09-29-2020, 12:21 PM
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Well done.

Like you I'm awful with voicemail. I repeat information and forget the important stuff.

The second sounds a lot better than the first. My local school's website is full of little children with sparkly hats and pink jodhpurs . I thought that it couldn't possibly be that bad in real life. I was wrong, it was far worse, they were everywhere. I was ready to leave within the first 15mins, then i remembered that the rest were either too far away or extremely expensive.

There's nothing wrong with having a goal such as owning a horse.

I hope they call you back soon. Stay strong!

The best apple will be on the highest branch. Bidh an t-ubhal as fheārr air a' mheangan as āirde. (Scots Gaelic proverb)
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post #10 of 27 Old 09-29-2020, 02:28 PM
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I'm another one who is terrible with voice mail. I'm even worse over the phone live, though. I like email because I can write, rewrite, think about it some more, rewrite again, and then send.

I agree with @Caledonian that the second stable actually sounds better than the first. I am not sure you would enjoy the atmosphere of privileged teenage girl riders. I bet you'd be happier in a more laid-back environment.

I wish you lived near me; I'd be happy to show you around and introduce you to people.

"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
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