OK, the Chronicles post has blown far beyond anything I could ever imagine. I think it’s over 300 posts now (I’ve never had anything I’ve ever written receive so much attention!), and everyone has pretty much pointed out the same flaws in my riding – going as far back as 2001, so it’s now become clearly evident that I’ve never actually half as well as I thought I did at all, ever. Even back in “the day” when I was showing and winning and getting champion and reserve and year end high point awards. Those will be truly be days to cherish.
But, point taken. Out of those posts,90 % of them have been helpful, informative, and useful and I’ve taken everything to heart. The rest of the people are choosing to berate me. They are accusing me of not taking responsibility to control my body and correct my actions, they are accusing me of blaming trainers I’ve had for my riding errors, and they are accusing me of not wanting to step up to the plate and do what’s right and change what I need to.
Mostly, they’re in disbelief that I could have ridden so poorly for so long and not have noticed. They find it hard to believe that I’ve never had an instructor point out my flaws, and feel that it’s more of a matter that I didn’t listen to their advice instead. They also feel it’s hard to believe that someone as fat as me needs my instructor to tell me I should get fit.
In truth, I have never in my life of riding NEVER NOT ONCE been corrected about any balance issues, hitting too hard in the saddle, or all the other things everyone has pointed out. NOT ONCE. If they had, I would have listened. I find it impossible to believe that every single instructor I’ve ever had has only ever taken my money and not provided me with the basic riding education a kid in summer camp learns. But yet, I also was geniunely not aware of how poorly I was riding and how off balance I was. If I’m always told I’m riding well and doing well, how can I know? I’ve addressed my issues and fears with every trainer I’ve ridden with since 2007, they were all aware and knew my concerns for creating issues and still, nothing was ever pointed out. In fact, I was told by one respectable dressage instructor that I ride beautifully. When I stopped leasing the horse (Marcella, this is your horse I’m talking about), that trainer kept calling me and calling me wanting me to continue riding dressage at her barn. Either she was just trying to do a sales pitch and get my money (and boy was she EXPENSIVE), or she saw something in my riding she liked.
So yes, I truly was OBLIVIOUS to how badly I was riding for YEARS AND YEARS because *it was NEVER pointed out*.
Some of the posters on Chronicles are accusing me of blaming my instructors. I was not the one to blame my instrcutors. It was other people on Chronicles, after reading my story, that told me it was my instructors. I’ve always thought I ‘ve had great instruction all along in the last 20 years. I have ridden with hunter grand prix trainers and competitors, I have ridden with medal winning USDF riders. I have ridden with exceptionial trainers that I never even thought of once to blame for my riding woes. NEVER. Not once. I really always thought I had great instruction.
Yes, I know I’m fat – but I honestly did not know how badly my weight was affecting my riding because it was NEVER POINTED OUT TO ME. I don’t need someone to tell me I’m fat. I hear that enough. But if someone had told me I’m too unfit to ride well, I would have taken that under huge advisement. I thought that there was a difference between being fat and riding badly. Or I should say, I didn’t realize (until now) how much riding ability I lost (if I ever had it) because of weight. I have always felt there’s a difference between fit and thin or fat and unfit.
Thin people aren’t necessarily fit. Fat people aren’t necessarily unfit – go ask a sumo wrestler.
But if someone – an instructor – a fellow boarder- a riding buddy – someone along the way had ever once said to me “your posting too hard because you’re not fit” You can bet I would have done something about it a long time ago.
The one thing I’ve ever cared about most in my life is riding and horses. It’s the one thing I (thought) I was good at and the one thing that I never wanted to lose in my life. I really have been driven in the last 2 decades by a need to ride, a love of horses, and a desire to do better and (hopefully) compete again. It seems I’ve been disillusioning myself. Now my eyes are open and lesson learned.
I tried to find the post back from June or July or something in which I said that if I get a new horse, and these problems come back again, I was done with riding. I can’t find that post, but I’m holding quite true to my words.
No longer riding does not equal giving up horses. I love my horses. I am blessed to own 3 fantastic horses right now.
Dixie is just a brat of a muffin but you gotta love her, and she’s a good broke driving horse.
Luke is lively, spunky, sweet, a joy to be around, and the best driving pony I think I’ve ever met.
Chewbacca is quiet and kind and gentle and beautiful and one of the nicest and most wonderful horses I’ve known.
It’s a great group that I’m blessed to have. I can always opt to get a cart and drive Chewbacca, and I have Luke and Dixie to drive too. Heck, who knows, maybe someday I’ll show Chewbacca in a driving class. Who knows, maybe we’ll be good at it!
And of course, I have my amateur equine photography, which is a hobby I can enjoy no matter how much I weigh 🙂 And I’ll always have horses.
I also have had several naysayers on the forum accuse me of being unwilling to help myself help myself. I’m not sure why those people are so readily willing to assume I’m not going to exercise/get fit/ lose weight, but they are wrong.
Three weeks ago when I finally (yes, believe it or not- finally) had the revelation that my weight was affecting my riding, I started dieting.
Yesterday (believe it or not) I started a core/upper body toning program. I’ll work on lower body, but one thing at a time, right? My arms were killing me after my 30 minute work out. In the last 3 weeks, as I’ve said before, I’ve lost 10 pounds. I’m keeping close tabs on what I do and what I eat and I’m on track (I hope) to lose the 55 more pounds I want to lose.
If I ever think about quitting this healthy diet and exercise plan, all I need to do is go back to my post on Chronicles for a kick in the ass. That will keep me on track!
And I had a revelation today while shopping. Like I usually do, I did my grocery shopping on my lunch break. While checking out, I noticed the very thin lady behind me unloading her groceries and I couldn’t help but notice the healthy fresh herbs, cans of oysters, and other yummy looking things she was unloading – and how tiny thin she was. And if I had to guess on her age, I’d say mid to late 40’s maybe even early 50’s.
Then she noticed my groceries and I’ll be damned this is what she said to me…
“You eat so healthy”
I laughed and told her that it’s something I started just a few weeks ago with my husband. I told her I need to lose almost 60 pounds and my husband needs to drop 120. My jaw hit the grocery conveyer belt with what she said next…
She said that she’s been eating quite a lot like what I have been doing and in the last year, she has lost over 140 pounds. She said she used to weigh 240 pounds. And she lost the weight just by eating healthy and walking with weights. That’s it.
That’s a huge thing for that woman, and it really boosted my confidence in my new found meal plan to hear her say that I’m on the right track.
I also told my husband last night that I want to start walking again. Ideally I’d like to get back up to jogging 4 miles like I used to, but I think after all this time with dealing with my foot and not being able to walk, I am finally ready (and more so- willing) to start walking again. I think my feet can handle it without renewing the nerve issues I’ve had in the past, but the only way to tell is by walking and doing it and finding out.