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I am so proud of my little Apple. Yesterday was our first jaunt out into very unfamiliar territory, the first time she had to negotiate her way on steep slippery tracks, blind corners and areas of track obscured by bush. She had to push her way through a couple of low hanging branches and cope with the tactile and audible sensations that this created. She had to cope with all of this with me on her back and she handled it like a trooper.



She is so smart, the first slippery piece of track that we went down she kind of rushed and we had a breathless moment as her legs slipped out from under her. She managed to stay on her feet and we carried on. When we hit the next steep bit of track she slowed herself down and picked her way down carefully with out my having to check her at all.


I am absolutely amazed at how much common sense she is demonstrating so far and such a willingness to be guided by me. I am riding her in a simple halter but she is moving off my legs beautifully. She shows no hesitation or any indication that she wants to question where I choose to go.


The only little niggle we have at the moment is the fact that she is a little tenderfoot - she has flat feet and in order to ride anywhere we have to run the gauntlet of up to a km of very harsh gravel road before we can get onto softer terrain. It is very hard going for her and leading her down the road is a real ordeal, as she winces and minces her way over the harsh stone. In order to make life better for her I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Scoot Boots fitting shells so I can get her new boots. So watch this space.


Below is a photo of Apple after our first real adventure ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited by Moderator)
Apple has been the recipient of a whole new me. The catalyst for change was a horse that I purchased when emotionally compromised after the forced retirement of my beloved Phoenix. To say that I made a poor choice in purchasing that horse is an understatement and it ended badly both for myself and for the poor horse. He was beautiful and extremely dangerous and he hurt me badly and due to the nature of his behaviour I ended up making the choice to have him put down. This decision was the hardest I have ever made and due to the reactions of certain other horsey people in my area - the ones that I thought were my friends - it was even harder. The sense of failure I experienced sent me down into a spiral of depression. I began to put weight on, I couldn't find it in myself to get motivated to take care of myself. I kept thinking "I should do this or I should do that" but I couldn't force myself to stick to any of the regimes that I tried to force myself to adhere to. Of course, every time I failed to stick to a plan the negative self talk would escalate and it became even harder to find reasons to like myself.


I had pretty much decided to not get another horse - I was going to give it up. Instead I ended up with Apple, an unruly, out of control two year old who had attempted to double barrel an 83 old man who happened to enter her paddock to get some fire wood. Her owner (my sister) was scared of her and literally told me to come and get her. For some reason I did. After my experiences with the previous horse I was trolling the internet, searching for a better way. Thank goodness I found Warwick Schiller. Through him I have changed the way I think of horse behaviours. I was able to see Apple's unruly aggression for what it was - a young horse terrified and wound up with anxiety. Slowly over the last couple of years I have been able to unwind her, bring her calmness and develop a relationship based on trust. This has been bittersweet, I love the new place that I find myself at but I know that it came at the cost of that beautiful horse that hurt and scared me so much. I think there will always be a regret inside me that I didn't know then what I know now and it was my ignorance that put the final nail in his coffin - not his behaviour.


Even though having Apple in my life has been something of a godsend, I have continued to struggle with my self worth. Making that decision to put Diego down effected me deeply on many levels, socially it was a killer, I had a lot of unkindness directed at me from someone that I thought was a dear friend. If this had been to my face I would have dealt better with it but it was behind my back and it caused random horse people that I bumped into at the local grocery store to make nasty snide comments to me. It soon became clear that I was the focus of much nasty talk and judgment in my community - which is quite small. This situation further deepened my belief that I couldn't trust my own judgement. Buying Diego was a bad idea, how I handled Diego was fraught with bad decisions, my ability to choose good friends was flawed, I had failed on so many levels. Of course this situation offered the proof I always seek to support my deep seated belief that I am a failure - this belief has always been with me, like a really bad friend that refuses to leave. So I began a new, yet very familiar, downward cycle of self loathing.


I withdrew from people completely - the Horse Forum has pretty much been the sum total of my social interaction for the last couple of years. I don't answer my phone, I avoid going to the local shops. When I have to go out locally I look neither to the left nor the right and avoid any kind of social interaction, the last time I saw my sister in public I pretended that I didn't. I often wonder if I didn't have the absolute and unconditional love of my husband if I wouldn't have ended my life years ago. And then the covid crap happened.


That has been the best thing that could happen at this time in my life. It has been breathtaking to watch the fear cross the globe, to see on a massive external platform what it looks like when fear is in the driving seat. The lock down was quite nice in the sense that I could legitimately hide from people and not have any one commenting on my very anti social behaviour.



My husband and I wrote a book during lock down and I am particularly proud of it and the subject matter was extremely cathartic. The Door is an account of my husbands early life, from a bad home and how he progressed to becoming a bouncer here in New Zealand and then at the most exclusive clubs in London. It is a book about overcoming childhood conditioning and finding ones own inner strength, the story of a young man who statistically should have fallen through the cracks but through fortitude has become successful in his chosen field, recognized globally for his expertise. Writing the book allowed us both to step out of the chaos and and see objectively the beauty of the journey and the struggle. I then had to start reevaluating how I perceived myself. As I wrote his story, I realized that I was integral to his success - he literally could not have done it without me - was able to see value in myself.


So as I'm looking at myself through a new view finder I am also looking at the world of covid and I realized that I don't want to live in fear and actually, I have it in me to be a fearless person. Why have I persisted in falling down the rabbit hole of self loathing? Where have I been going wrong? The answer is so simple - I have been seeking happiness. I have judged myself based on whether I am happy or not. If I am not happy then I must be doing something wrong - something is going wrong in my life.


After publishing The Door we spent some time looking for books of a similar nature, mainly to see how they have been received - kind of like trying to crystal ball gaze as The Door is the first main stream book that we have produced. Along the way we found David Goggins. David Goggins provided the last piece of the puzzle for me. Stop trying to seek happiness - seek discomfort instead!


Happiness is transient, it is momentary. I can genuinely get happiness from a packet of potato chips, it's why we become addicts - we are seeking happiness and it can be found in the easiest of places. Inner strength, the knowledge that you can handle the curve balls, the problems and pain that life throws at us - that is what empowers us, gives us real go forward.


We are all going to die people! It is our destiny, our fate and our ultimate destination! What is a tragedy is when we are too afraid to live, afraid of what others think of us, afraid of how we look in the eyes of others, afraid of expressing unpopular opinions, afraid of being our unique and individual selves in the face of mass social conventions. Well, stuff that for a lark! I challenge myself to be uncomfortable every day.


On Monday I began my new life, I woke up at 5am and went for a run. I have done this every day since. It is not easy, I am overweight, my right knee still suffers from the insult of having a large horse jump up and down on it, I huff and I puff, I look like a sausage stuffed in it's skin in my exercise clothes, chafe has developed between my breasts and this morning it bled, and I don't care because every day that I do something that I don't think I can do is the day that I prove that my mind is stronger than my fear. There is a hill behind our house that I want to run up, that is my first goal - get my lard butt up to that trig! After that I want to run the foreshore that runs the length of the city. There are many other things that I want to achieve and I am sure that I will fail to meet some of my goals the first time round but I will continue to push myself. I owe it to myself, I owe it to my daughter, I owe it to my husband and I even owe it to Apple.



This is my place of accountability. This is where I will come to remind myself that happiness is transient and a goal not worth pursuing. Being unafraid to be uncomfortable and to face that discomfort now that is where the gold is!
 

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Just here to say that I'm reading, admiring you for your courage and honesty, and am here to hold you accountable. Get that butt of yours up that hill. And yay for the great ride!

I have been saying for years that people don't understand happiness. They think it's something you have to feel all the time. Sure, there are moments of excitement, ecstasy, when you get a rush... but that's not happiness. My theory: happiness is like good health. You don't realize you had it until you lose it. It isn't about the rush, it's more of a quiet calm when you feel at peace. You'll know when you're unhappy, just like you'll know when you're sick, even if it's just a stupid cold. And then you'll think of those quiet peaceful times with gratitude.

Gratitude. I think that's a key part of it too. Best of luck to you @kiwigirl. I believe in you.
 

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Well done with everything. I have always been a believer in adversity being an essential part of life. I was a runner from about age 13 to 33 (no more as I get sore knees) but I loved nothing more than a run in the rain and hail in winter. Made me feel alive. I also like the idea of acceptance and commitment therapy—not that I have ever tried it but it is essentially how I have approached my life. Enjoy your new approach and goals.
 

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We all have regrets in life, I'd just reply to any snarkyness by brushing it off with an off hand, "Yea, I'm learning as I go" and just leave it there. These people are judging you. Don't let them.
 

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You sound a lot like me. I also struggle with my weight. And I understand about having a horse that scares you.....I've been through that too.


Apple is so stunning! She is exactly the sort of horse I would love to find for myself.

Enjoy your wonderful Apple girl! Things have been hard but at this moment you are blessed.
 

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Thank you so much to those of you who are wading through my monologues, I really appreciate your kindness and support.


It is dark at 5am in the morning and I am really enjoying feeling like I have the world to myself. I have forgone using a head torch and I have to be careful on the outset of my run. I am running on gravel roads so I am trying to run daintily in the dark to avoid slipping or turning an ankle but it is worth it. The road I run is cut into the sides of hills so I am generally flanked on one side by high dirt banks growing ferns and native shrubs and hiding amid the foliage - you would never know they were there during the day - are glow worms! There is a galaxy of glow worms all down the road, nestled under the over hanging plants, creating a stunning spectacle of twinkling fairy lights - it is so gorgeous! By about twenty past five the eastern horizon is already lightening and the morning begins to brighten and the glow worms disappear.


Today I am going to start phase two of body work. I have decided that I need to do some stretching. I hate stretching! Ew, yoga - bleeuck! But David Goggins has told me that I need to do something that makes me uncomfortable every day - and I believe him.


About three or four years ago I took up weight training. I LOVED weight lifting, I was exceptional at weight lifting, it was easy for me. I was fortunate to have a local gentleman who had retired from the fitness industry but in the boredom of retirement, decide to take on a handful of personal clients to train at his home gym. Once my aptitude for weights became apparent it became obvious to see how much I could lift. I began to get into power lifting and gained huge amounts of muscle mass, which I liked. The down side of that was I definitely noticed a difference in my flexibility as I became more muscle bound, by the time I realized that I needed to find a balance, a series of events, including Diego injuring me caused me to stop my weight training and of course - here I am now.


I am still carrying quite large amounts of muscle - which I like - and I think is the reason I have not become as fat as I other wise could have BUT all that muscle is hard to propel for extended periods. I need to lean down the bulk, ditch the fat for sure but also make longer, leaner muscle; more suitable for endurance, hence the need to begin stretching and regaining flexibility.
 

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The glow worms sound lovely.

If you do not like yoga, you could also try mobility training. I love yoga and have done it regularly for about 22 years but I needed something different to try so I started trying mobility training, and I am actually coming to like it more than yoga. I really like Tom Merrick on Youtube. He has lots of free routines. There are some beginner ones in there (search for "Tom Merrick beginner") and then ones that progress on from that.
 
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