The Horse Forum banner
1 - 20 of 121 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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. 

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
950 Posts
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]".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51,292 Posts
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'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I CALLED THE TRAINER and got voicemail. :rofl:

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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
950 Posts
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]).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
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. :frown: And I stuttered a few times in the message, which should be irrelevant but, like. You know. Nerves.

*twiddles thumbs*
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,938 Posts
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 :icon_rolleyes: . 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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,041 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
I think this is wonderful, and I think you are doing wonderfully!
I've struggled with minor bouts of depression, but I've had severe anxiety for a few years now (health anxiety, actually, but I'd like to think I have a bit of an idea of how you feel :) ). If it were me, I'd personally go with the second stable you've mentioned so far (if it were just between those two). Last year I ran around my area searching for a barn to part-board a horse at. I went to maybe six or seven places. All of them were pretty posh, either boarding stables or lesson/boarding stables. Two indoor arenas, thirty stalls, viewing galleries, expensive-looking horses... the whole nine yards. The last place I went to was a pretty humble barn. Seven stalls, a tiny little arena. But the woman who owned it was the friendliest, most trusting horse person I'd ever met. She was happy to let me ride there without having to take lessons, jump at low levels if I please and just enjoy myself. Of course, I ended up picking that one. Yeah, the place is nothing special - but the people there are some of the nicest I've met and the owner is a godsend.
Of course the choice is always yours!
Either way, I'm so glad you're taking this journey despite any difficulties you're facing. I'm sure it'll be well worth it in the end!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, I agree that the second stable sounds like a better fit! I do have other options, but I'm hoping this one works out.



There's nothing wrong with having a goal such as owning a horse.
I know. :) My ma is a little weird about money so I've gotten used to qualifying any kind of large purchase or financial commitment with "hypothetically someday."


I wish you lived near me; I'd be happy to show you around and introduce you to people.
Aw, I wish we were local, that would've been nice. :)


How is the exercise routine going while you wait?
Pretty well! Or, I suppose I won't really know for sure until I can get in the saddle, assess how I feel, and get feedback from the trainer. But I think it's going well! I've been doing this "yoga for equestrians" routine every other day, and picking one or two specific exercises to focus on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
950 Posts
That sounds really good! If you feel like changing up the yoga routine, Dressage Rider Training has some free ones on Youtube. Another channel that has lots of equestrian specific routines is Rebecca Ashton. If you have an exercise ball/Swiss ball, that can be great for practicing horse riding things (hip movement, balance, posting etc.). I have done routines from both of those channels and enjoyed them. There is also a channel called Biorider Fitness but I have not tried out their videos and I am not sure how many full length routines they have on there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ugh. I don't understand why this is taking so long.

I have now spoken with the barn owner of Stable #2, who said that one of their instructors would call me. Indeed, I have spoken with the barn owner twice now, because after a few days I called back just to make sure we were still good. Barn owner was surprised that I hadn't heard back and promised to check in with the instructor. I still haven't heard anything.

So I don't know what to make of that. Instructor could still call, it's only been a few days. But if not, I don't really know what to do. Calling the barn owner a third times makes me feel like a pest, and if there's something going on between the owner and the instructor, I don't want to be a part of that. I don't want an instructor who is reluctant or resentful; that's never a good idea. On the other hand, there are other instructors at that facility, and one of them could be a good fit, but it might also feel awkward.

It's going to be a couple weeks before I can get out to look at Stable #3. It's all a bit disheartening.

But hey, I went to the tack shop and bought a helmet and some boots (owning my own helmet is required due to COVID, and I haven't worn anything but sneakers in years). Picked up some breeches, too. And that was fun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
950 Posts
Sounds fun buying some gear.

Sorry you have not heard back yet. I imagine people are just busy with other things and not prioritizing arranging new clients, which is annoying, but hopefully they get back to you soon.

Is there anywhere that you could pay to just go for a trail ride/trek while you wait to arrange lessons?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
Depression and anxiety have controlled my life since I was very small. Really showed heavy in kindergarten and 1st grade as the teachers told my Mom that they felt I was too young to start school because I would go stand or sit by myself at recess.

The reason I tell this is because there are so many of us suffering from it and often others never know.
Very often, I dislike myself so much, that I assume others feel the same way towards me. My Dad did not like kids, and he didn't like us, so how could anyone else?

When I was younger, I seldom talked to others, and was told that I was stuck up. Wrong! I did not want to learn that someone else did not like me as well.

Major depression seems to come in waves. For a while, I will level off and not be so bad, but yet I still feel that I am not good enough. Still the anxieties will be there. Then time comes around that I take a low dive and cannot forgive myself for anything I have ever done wrong. It actually goes much deeper than that, but I beat myself down.

I tell this as I wonder if there are others that do the same thing? Often I find that I keep people are arms length to keep them from getting too close to me because I know that I will let them down as I don't want to explain to them what I am going through. I know they will see it as a weakness and look down on me for it. How many people will they go and repeat it to? Often people can't wait to go tell someone else.

So, I just have a major protective barrier around me and it keeps me safe.

Does any of this sound like you? We all try to keep it a secret.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Is there anywhere that you could pay to just go for a trail ride/trek while you wait to arrange lessons?
Unfortunately not. :( We're not really horse country. I'm surprised I've found as many barns in my general locale as I have.


We all try to keep it a secret.
Ah, see, that's just the thing. I am very open about my brain. No one would be criticizing me if I had cancer; depression is another type of chronic illness and should be treated the same way. The more we talk about it, the less stigmatized it'll become. That's very important to me.



Depression and anxiety suuuuuuuck. Have you spoken with a psychiatrist? Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication is one of humankind's greatest inventions, IMO, though it can be a long journey to find the proper drug/dosage for you, and of course I don't know your situation. I am doing very well right now because my psychiatrist is great, among other reasons. I know it'll get worse again. And then it'll get better again. But there was a long period of time for me where "better" never meant "good," and it sounds like that's where you are now. It's a really rough place to be. I hope you feel better soon.
 
1 - 20 of 121 Posts
Top