Lots Of Anxiety
At the point in my recovery when I was able to go outside, with a walker. I went out to the barn and unexpectedly had a ton of anxiety. Literally, panic attacks. Not fun stuff.
It took me a while to realize the reason was not that I was really afraid of the horses themselves. It was that I realized that I was so vulnerable. Not being able to move quickly at all. It made me feel afraid of the horses because I was afraid if they did something silly( you know acted like horses), that I could get hurt worse by not being able to get out of the way.
Stayed Out Of The Barn
I avoided my fears, since they were founded in common sense and stayed outside of the barn. When I taught lessons I sat as far from the sand as I could. Way back against the fence.
Despite my great effort to calm myself, worse case scenarios were constantly going through my head.
Gradually Going In The Barn and Getting Closer To The Horses
As I got more and more mobile, I have forced myself to get near the hoses again. When I was walking with canes it was at a distance still, but I managed to force myself to go in the barn. Still staying what I considered a safe distance away from the horses.
Just recently I have begun to walk independently again. It really disappointed me when I tried going to the barn. All this time I had it in my head that it was my mobility being the only reason that kept me away.
I had to come to admit to myself that there was fear and anxiety involved even now that I can walk. I didn’t want to but it is the truth.
It has gotten better last weekend I found myself having a conversation with friends sitting on my tack trunk, right next to a horse that was cross-tied. Distraction was my friend, I guess, I was just talking and having a good time and my fears are anxieties went to hide in the back of my mind I guess.
What Does COVID-19 Have To DO With It
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had to change the protocol for our lesson program. The MD horse industry board has suggested guidelines and we are trying to follow them.
This includes that the kids cannot be inside the barn, groom, or tack/untack the horses. Which is a big change for us? Normally we work with the kids teaching them to groom and tack. Now they come, sign in and wait in the ring until their horse is ready.
Now the working students are in charge of getting the lesson horses prepared and out to the ring.
So I scheduled a morning lesson, not thinking about the new protocol. The girls weren’t there in the morning…who was going to tack the horse?
I had no other choice, it had to be me.
Still Nervous With One Of The Quietest Horse Ever!
Bringing him out of the stall and into the aisle to tie him, I faked it to myself that I wasn’t nervous. By the time I got the brush kit out my hands were shaking.
I knew I had to calm myself down or I would end up making Marley nervous.
As I groomed him, I just kept telling myself,” everything is fine, you have done this a million times”. By the time I got to the part to put the saddle and bridle on, it was like the motions came back to my hands and I didn’t even have to think about what I was doing.
I wasn’t thinking about being afraid, I was just doing what I have been doing and have meant to be doing for my whole life.
Not A Quick Fix
I realize that I haven’t had a miracle cure when I comes to being comfortable around horses again. Yesterday when our other trainer was working, I helped the girls with tacking, untacking the horses and putting them back out in the field.
Seems pretty lame for someone who has been riding their whole life, I know. This is a big step for me and I want to keep up with the great progress I have been making.
Really Not That Bad
Besides, it’s nice being the one inside grooming and being with the horses rather than watching them run around in circles!