Well my break from riding, due to the flare up of an old RSI injury, lasted much longer than I was expecting, 5 months in fact. Thank goodness Bronson is in full livery with Pip and she offers training livery too! As it turns out what at first seemed like a disaster has turned out to be rather a blessing. There is often good that comes out of bad things and this has certainly been the case.
Bronson has had 5 months of training solely with Pip and he has come such a long way during that time. The biggest change is in himself, his presence. Gone is the nervous wreck of a horse that jumped at his own shadow and who frankly was sometimes rather miserable and everything was a huge effort. The sense of pride that emanates from him now is extraordinary! I’ve never known anything like it! He walks up to me in the field now, instead of playing silly buggers and wandering off. He seems proud to be coming in to do his work and his self confidence is overflowing. He is a changed horse!
The other good things to have come from my enforced break were changes in me. After the first few weeks, when I realised it wasn’t going to be a quick fix, I didn’t know how I was going to maintain the fitness I had worked so hard for. I can’t run because of a problem with my foot, couldn’t do my body balance classes or weight training because of my arms…...so an exercise bike seemed like the best answer. I had also been reading about HIIT training and the positive effects it has on just about everything especially our brains and mood!
So I invested in an exercise bike and put it up in my bedroom so that in the mornings I fell out of bed and onto my bike, first thing. A 20 minute HIIT workout, which I found free on youtube, set me up for the day. I won’t lie, at first I dreaded getting out of bed because I knew I would have to cycle, but very soon I bounced out of bed knowing that in 20 minutes time I would feel fabulous! The buzz from HIIT workouts is something else! It also gave me the opportunity to work on my breathing. Breath is such an important part of our riding and Pip had commented before that my breath was out of control when I was exerting myself. My Husband made the same comment about my breathing during my workouts and he showed me how to breathe properly. This made my workouts easier and has also carried across into my riding.
Pip has always said that we can practise our riding at home and everything I’m learning about our brains, for my hypnotherapy course, has backed this up. Imagining doing something uses the same parts of the brain as actually doing it! So I would imagine myself riding and practiced the visualisation that I need to show Bronson what I want him to do. On my dog walks I worked on my posture and I bought a little device which would vibrate each time I slumped my shoulders. This was so annoying after a while that it was a real incentive to improve my posture! It also highlighted that I myself was walking ‘on the forehand’ and especially going up hills. Given that we ask our horse for the posture we want from him with our own posture, this was a very important change.
So the long and short of it is that rather than having gone backwards after my 5 month break I am actually further along than I was before and so is Bronson! I’m coming back into riding gradually so as not to upset my arms and Pip is continuing to work with Bronson in the meantime. I’m over the moon that instead of going backwards or standing still in our progress we’ve actually moved forwards! Happy days!