|January 26, 2011
|Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized
On February 1, Farley will be moving into a different barn.
Life is a series of major transitions.
My last major transition was graduating from UC Davis. Life conspired to throw a million different things at me at once (of course!) and I had my first (and only to date) panic attack during this time.
I learned an important lesson.
There is a limit to the amount of stress that can be handled, even over the short term. Stress isn’t healthy and it will demand its payment physically and emotionally.
I’ve mentioned to several of you that I haven’t enjoyed riding in the last couple of months. Even non-riding activities that I used to enjoy, like trimming feet, have fallen by the wayside. Lately, Farley has become another chore and another thing that I “should be doing”, instead of something that I look forward to all day. It’s unlike me to be so ambivalent towards my 100 mile ride in 3 ½ weeks. Yes, I want to go – but the excitement is gone and if truth be told – I’m going more out of desperation that I’ll be able to find “it” again – the pleasure that I felt at this time last year – and to see my friends than for the actual ride. I find myself wanting to make excuses for cancelling lessons (even though I still go and don’t use the excuses), and although I enjoy the lessons once I’m there – I’m struggling. I find myself going and trying because I want to make my trainer happy, instead of doing them for myself. Riding, so long my stress-managing tool, has slowly become a stressor unto itself.
As I (not so patiently) wait for word on my vet school interview and other million things that are happening this year, it has become obvious that I MUST reduce the total amount of stress I’m having to deal with.
It occurred to me on Monday that what I am paying in board, added to the cost of buying my own hay, was roughly equal to the cost of boarding at my trainer’s – which is full care. This is opposed to what I am doing, which is essentially self-care.
I didn’t realize how much unacknowledged stress was associated with how I was boarding Farley until I made the decision to move her. It doesn’t matter how well I was managing the stress or the winter-SAD stuff if the actual AMOUNT of stress is extremely high. You can only “manage away” a certain proportion. At some point you have to ELIMINATE stress instead of merely managing it.
I love having total control over the care and management of my horse, but I will get my chance again this summer for the next 4-5 years. In the meantime, not having to buy feed, feed hay, clean pens, worry about turn out, hook up the trailer 2x/week for lessons (and having to leave work early and thus trying to work split shifts), and feed supplements (only happens the 4-5 days/week I’m at the stable) is a huge relief. Not to mention access to arena with good footing year-round, not having to worry about security, and the knowledge that even on the days I can’t be there, Farley will be turned out, watched carefully and will get her supplements.
There are tradeoffs to moving Farley – it will cost a bit more, I will have less space for horse stuff (which is why lots of stuff will go up for sale and I AM open to offers – especially if you are buying more than one thing), and I will lose control over how/what/when things are done. But it is worth every single sacrifice right now – and none of these tradeoffs will create more stress than my current situation. All I care about right now is riding Farley and enjoying it and boarding her at the new barn will make that possible. And hopefully – riding will once again be enjoyable and a way to forget my troubles – at least for that short period of time I’m in the saddle.