Here We Go Again… Epiphany Time!

Multiple epiphanies to discuss. They come in story format, so bare with me. First off, I made two changes to my health habits: more sleep, and eating a bit healthier. For a couple of days I cut out any ‘added’ sugar (basically no processed food), and for breakfast I had yogurt with fruit, a smidge of apple cider vinegar (yuck) and a teaspoon of coconut oil. After that, I wasn’t hungry for hours! I felt full, and energetic. It’s a fantastic breakfast for me. The combination of eating healthy and getting enough sleep work GREAT for me! I felt so much more attentive throughout the day. I even noticed my vision was sharper and I was able to visually focus a lot easier.  This weekend was the horse show… And I gave in to the rice crispy treat temptation so I cheated a bit. Oddly enough, I did feel the affect of the sugar and I didn’t enjoy the feeling throughout my body. I could even feel the pulse throughout my limbs differently. Too bizarre for me, back to eating healthy! Although, the affects weren’t nearly as bad as when I would deprive myself of sleep and then eat that way. The sleep helped offset the sugar/energy level so I didn’t feel nearly as drained after eating that way.

I felt good yesterday after the horse show, I decided I should sit down to read my Conditioning Sport Horses book by Hilary Clayton.  I opened the book up but I just wasn’t feeling in the mood to read. This thought kind of caught me off guard… This is stuff that fascinates me, and I really want to learn more but something was missing. So I decided to dive into this thought. What would I rather do RIGHT NOW? I asked myself… Well, I had wanted to watch the movie called The Shift (by Dr. Dyer) a second time… So, I looked it up and watched it. And I’m sure glad I did! If you haven’t seen it… Stop everything you’re doing and watch it right now. http://www.dyermovie.com/ And watch it. You can choose to watch it ‘online’. It’s $5 and worth every penny, and then some! He’s got such an open mindset and is all about connecting with your authentic self.

Through the entire trip I’ve been a bit quiet down here, acting more as an observer. I had been trying to understand why people do the things they do… On the way to the horse show, my trainer was talking a bit about her up bringing and the way she acted as a child. After telling a story that I could TOTALLY see a mini version of her doing, she mentioned something along the lines of… “It’s funny how our character develops as children.” … Well, that statement popped right back into my mind after watching this movie. I’ve always been in tune with people’s emotions toward things. If I sensed someone was down or upset, I would try to cheer them up. I’ve always tried to make people laugh. I remember watching a family video and boy, was I goofy! I would frequently go out of the way to make people laugh or smile and I found great joy if I was successful in that.

At the horse show, I was watching people pick up their ribbons from the office and I could tell some of the riders weren’t very pleased with their scores or placings. I remember having a negative attitude toward the judges decision from my early, early showing days. My brother was the one who called me out on it. I remember the night we all sat in the kitchen after one of my horse shows… I didn’t get first place, so “the judge didn’t know what he/she was talking about. So, here was little Heather portraying that with an angry arrogant attitude, thinking I was the best and I shouldn’t have lost… My brother, the one who always makes me think, called me out. He’s always been the one who encouraged me to be open-minded. At the time, I didn’t want to even consider the fact that I didn’t win for a reason… Fortunately, over time I developed a better attitude about showing. My goal went from winning, to doing your best and having fun in the process! You win some, and you lose some… You can either accept what happened and look at it in a positive light, or resent and feel negativity inside. I choose positivity!

 photo 100_1699.jpg

I don’t think I wrote about my other epiphany from a few weeks ago, but in order to help accept different training styles I thought about people’s roles in the world. Some people are drill sergeants, and some people are therapists. It’s their personalities, the way they were raised, or any other factor that contributed to the way they view the world and treat other people. Horse trainers are the same way. Some care more about the mental state, some care more about the physical state. Each one is right in it’s own way. Some people thrive from a having drill sergeant, and some thrive from having a therapist. Same with horses.

OKAY, this is where everything comes together…Maybe… This morning I woke up bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to do the barn chores. I felt sharp and quick. I was very efficient working that way.  Cleaning stalls after I feed and turn out horses is a wonderful opportunity to listen to music, and think. Combining the thought of: character forming from childhood, understanding why people act the way they do from their history, assessing emotions, striving for positivity, finding gratitude out of helping others view things more positively, trying to weave wellness, exercise, and horses together, and the thought “some people are drill sergeants, and some are therapists”… BINGO! I like to help people, and I like to help horses. I always put mental aspect above physical. If you don’t have POSITIVE access to the brain, you’re not going to have access to a soft, supple, relaxed and willing body. But at the same time, improving the physiological aspect of the body improves overall wellness, too. So, where do I go from here? I can’t help but day dream, I understand planning too far ahead is silly when it gets to the point of worry and uncertainty, but it doesn’t hurt to dream. I was thinking of having a program for conditioning the horse and rider physically to create a better team. But most of the things I like to think about begin with the psychology. How can I make the horse understand? How can I make the rider understand? What if the horse had a bad history? How can I regain his or her trust? What if the rider had a bad history? How can I restore their confidence? Will stronger core increase the rider’s stability and therefore increase their confidence?

IT’S ALL RELATED!

Nutrition, exercise/fitness, amount of sleep, level of stress, general outlook on life that can have impact on level of stress… It’s all a part of the system and when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, it determines your quality of life! SO… My goal is to learn about improving all of the above. I would absolutely LOVE to open a wellness clinic someday to help improve people’s quality of life. Horses can definitely be used as a resource for that. A little animal therapy always helps! So, there’s my epiphany… No stress, no worries, just leaning and sharing and being in the present!

OH! That leads me to my other epiphany! Being in the now… I called my brother this morning to share my first epiphany, and he helped me find another! We were talking about being in the present, and all of a sudden I had this STRONG urge to get the heck out of there… I wanted to go HOME! I thought, this is not where I want to be right NOW! Get me out of here and take me home! Then my brother said, “Well, assess why you feel this way, then you can do something to change it, leave, or accept where you’re at.” So after I calmed down and actually thought about it… I realized I was being repulsed by a memory from an earlier event that made me want to go home. I wasn’t living in the ‘now’, I was stuck in fantasyland! Anything other than present is fantasy. It’s okay to take a trip down memory lane, or dream about the future, but just be aware that’s where your mind is at.

One thing that helped me get a better grasp on that: live your life like you’re watching a movie of yourself. You are the star of your movie right now. I’m aware of how I appear, how my surrounds appear, how I’m breathing, how I’m moving… And I’m accepting all of it. The same way you watch a movie and accept what’s on the screen, I’m taking it all in. I’m witnessing my own movie as it’s happening. I don’t know how that makes you feel, but it liberates me! Still talking to my brother on the phone during this train of thought, and I said “DANG Nick! This is the best movie ever! It’s so fun! I choose how this character acts, I’m not the boring lazy character, I am the one that is ambitious and hard working!” After that, I blasted through cleaning the stalls with a smile on my face the entire time. When I felt tired, I just thought what I would like to see in my movie…Does Heather give up from a slight lack of energy? Or does she keep going… DUH! She keeps going! This was a fun idea to play around with.

I am absolutely in love with life. Through the good times and the bad, I know everything happens for a reason and I’m going to make the best out of all of it!

Boot Camp Begins Today

An experience yesterday left me with an urge to get more involved with this sport and truly lead by example.  I my confidence in riding has been building slowly but surely, but I still didn’t feel ready to go out and show.  Now it’s clear to me.  I’m ready to work harder than ever so I can get in  the arena and lead by example.  I woke up this morning a bit worried about Fable’s leg, so I opened my book of daily inspiration written by Joyce Meyer.  Each entry is dated, so I am on March 11th’s passage.  Oddly enough, it was relevant to today’s shift in mind set.

A Big, Rewarding Life

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering. For the one who wavers is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. –JAMES 1:6

People with low confidence are double-minded, indecisive, and constantly getting frustrated with life.  If they do make a decision, they are tormented by self-doubt.  They second-guess themselves.  As a result, they don’t live boldly.  They live little, narrow lives, and they miss out on the big, rewarding lives God wants them to enjoy….

That being said… I’m am asking to make an impact on the horse world, and I have an overwhelming amount of faith that it can be done.  I want to be able to replicate the image I have in my mind of a physically fit and mentally connected horse and rider team.  In order to do that, I have to dive in deeper than ever before.  Learning through books, teachers, exercises, whatever it takes.  It’s not my goal to do this in secret so I mysteriously come out on top… I want to share my ideas and the steps I am taking in order to get to that place.  So by all means, join me on this quest of academic riding.  If you have questions, something to share, or an idea to challenge: please let me know!

Gaining Strength Instead of Losing Weight

First things first: I unburied my daily calendar so I could create a workout schedule.  I’ve discovered it’s a lot easier to work out when you have a goal of gaining strenght vs. losing weight.  Also, thinking of the law of inertia, an object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it… So this is YOUR call to keep moving, or GET MOVING! This blog post is that external force acting upon you to get up and move.  Start with standing up, sitting down, 10 times, then do some jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, anything! If you don’t have the discipline to do those things, take the dog for the walk, walk your horse around the arena, just get moving!

My weekly workout consists of this:

Monday:

Balance Ball exercise in the morning, and before I get ready for a potluck at Hampton Green Farm I will do 100 crunches and 20 go-stops.. What’s a go-stop? Sitting on the floor with good posture so I can feel my seat bones, while keeping my legs straight out in front of me lift them just a hair off the ground and think about stopping, and going on horse. Not leaning way forward or backward, simply through the power of the belly button! Keep your back in the same place, but think of moving your belly button toward your spine down into your pelvic floor to stop.  To go: think of keeping your back engaged but push your belly button forward, and letting your belly release and expand outward. I will try to get illustrations for these weird little exercises I am going to be creating. If you find that to be too difficult, try it in the bath tub or a little kiddy pool. It’s still the same exercise, but the water modifies the exercise quite a bit.

Tuesday:

  • Jog in Place for 5 min
  • Jumping Jacks for 5 min
  • Jog in Place for 2 min
  • High Knees for 1 min
  • Butt Kicks for 1 min
  • Jumping Jacks 1 min
  • Stretches from my Balance Ball DVD
  • 10 Go-Stops
  • I will wrap my day up with a bit of Yoga before bed

Wednesday:

  • Balance ball (morning)
  • After work/on break: 100 crunches
  • Yoga Stretches before bed

Thursday:

  • Jog 5 min
  • Football Sprints 2 min
  • Jumping Jacks 3 min
  • Jog 6 min
  • Punch 2 min
  • High knees 1 min
  • Butt Kicks 1 min
  • Stretch
  • After work/on break: Shoulders, 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Yoga before bed

Friday:

  • Balance Ball (Just stretches for AM)
  • After work/on break: 3 sets of 20 reps squats and leg lifts (glutes)
  • Yoga before bed

Saturday:

  • Jog 5 min
  • Jumping Jacks 5 min
  • Push Ups 1 in
  • High Knees 1 min
  • Butt Kicks 1 min
  • Jog 5 min
  • Stretch
  • Yoga before bed

Sunday:

  • Balance ball stretching in AM
  • Yoga before bed

Let the games begin! Support me by asking questions, sharing ideas, and by joining me in trying to impact the horse community.

Rewind!

Time flies when you’re having fun! A lot has happened since I last wrote, so I will list the events somewhat in order, recent events nearing the bottom.

Epiphany- 2/16/13

I had always struggled with accepting any sort of religion… Today I was able to open my mind and truly accept all perspectives.

Fable got kicked! 2/17/13

Image

He got a good wallop on the tendons behind his cannon bone, and one on higher up on his leg toward the inside of his butt muscles. Great spots to be kicked by well equipped friends (rear shoes!)… He was incredibly lame the first couple of days because that muscle higher up on his rump got stiff and sore from the stall rest. He had pitting edema all around his cannon bone from the bottom of his hock all the way down to the cornet band, too.  Once we got him walking around, his muscles loosened up and the pitting edema slowly but surely went away and he was much more sound. Thank God he is sound and okay now! He’s still got a bit of swelling in the tendons but it has gone down dramatically. We’re continuing work as long as it’s not bothering him. So far, he is doing great with the work outs and is continuing to progress!

One of the first evenings after the kicking war happened I was walking Fable around the outdoor. This was after we realized he had been kicked higher up on his leg which was making him sore and stiff. At this time I was confused whether I wanted to finish my degree with Animal Science or Exercise Science… Meanwhile I am walking around, it starts to rain. The sun is out, but there is rain… Very peculiar. The more I think, the darker it gets from clouds rolling in. I wasn’t thinking anything of this weird weather until I came across the thought “exercise is medicine”. Right at that moment, a giant blinding ray of sun split through the clouds and shined about a 20 meter circle around Fable and I. Like the light was illuminating my mind. Everyone has different ways of connecting with God, and I believe sunshine is one of mine. I got overwhelmed with joy and knew that was my answer. Exercise is medicine… And God is crazy amazing.

Vienna Piano Trio! 2/19/13

I went to a concert at the Flagler Museum. I am required to attend two concerts outside of the popular music genres. So, a group consisting of a piano, violin, and cello, was perfect!  I had no idea what to expect when I got there. But, it was a great experience! When I first sat down I met a very nice couple who had come to a few concerts at the Flagler before and said they were wonderful. It was a relatively small concert but it felt more personal that way. When they started playing I couldn’t help but notice the expressions on their faces. They had so much passion. If the music was sad, it almost looked like they were about to cry. There were times you could tell the music was playful, passionate, angry, or any other emotion from merely looking at their body language. Half way through I decided to close my eyes. I listened to the music and the sound started painting pictures in my mind. I couldn’t help but thinking of horse’s dancing to the music. It was absolutely beautiful. I felt so calm, so refreshed afterwards. Like I had just meditated.

Image

Afterwards they opened the back area for the audience to accompany the artist and enjoy a bit of dessert. They had cheese, crackers, grapes, dates, and other dishes being passed around such as crab cakes, and little chocolate desserts. I have no idea what kind of cheese that was, but I can definitely tell you it was quite a few steps up from cheddar and mozzarella! It was AMAZING! Past the food, I noticed people stepping out a door in the back of the room. It was dark outside, so I couldn’t see out the windows but I wanted to see what so many people were drawn to out there. I had an out of body experience once I stepped out those doors. The silhouettes of palm trees intersecting the city light’s reflection off of the ocean canal… It was amazing. Water tends to put me in a very reflective state. I couldn’t help but sit and stare for the remainder of the dessert time. I got to talk with a couple very nice people during that time, but I was mostly awestruck by the night’s beauty.

Image

Sunshine State Races West Palm Beach- 5K run! 2/23/13

This was my very first 5K. I didn’t get much sleep the night before, since we were at a horse show all day and then had a birthday party fire-pit Friday… but when I woke up at 4:30 to get ready to leave, I felt INCREDIBLE. I was so happy, so ready. I checked my email before I left and I saw a message my friend left for me praying that I woke up well rested and ready to conquer the 5K. That lifted my spirits even more!  It was dark when I got there. The race started at 6:35am, so I picked up my packet and walked around to warm up my muscles. Once again, I was entranced by entranced by the ocean. Image

It was amazing to watch the sun rise over the ocean. Thankfully I was able to have a clear view through the entire run. My goal was to keep a pace that would not hurt my hip. I had been having problems with it from running… If I don’t keep my core engaged something gets tweaked in my right hip. I’m sure there is a lot more to it than just that, either way that was not an issue for this run. There was so much beauty around that I had no urge to run fast.

Image
Toward the end, I felt like God was smiling at me. I looked over at the clouds and saw a big ball of light that gave me an electric feeling all over my body. I felt so alive, I couldn’t stop smiling. At that point the finish line was in sight, so I picked up the pace and ran as fast as I could! It was so satisfying! I am officially addicted to these types of events, and I can’t wait for the next one! A goal I see in the future… Triathlon! My time for this race was 31:43:4. I will remember that number forever!

Image

After the race everyone was huddled around the finish line cheering on the rest of the runners. Such a positive environment! They had bagels, Gatorade, bananas, and some other food. I found a bench facing the ocean and took a minute to soak up the view. After a few minutes of sitting there, a young man walked up to the ledge right next to the water and started doing Yoga. Mind you, one slip and he would have fallen down into the water… Brave, brave soul! I envied his courage and trust.

Image

Trip to Ocala! 3/2/13

I got to spend a weekend with a good friend of mine who was down for a Parelli Instructor course. I loved hearing about her experiences and I am very excited to see where this leads her! We were the only crazy people in the pool that weekend… It was about 45 degrees or so, people were walking around in their winter jackets as we’re partying in the pool and the hot tub. Very entertaining to see people’s expressions. The water was warm though! Between the pool, watching the Grand Prix jumping, a fun Olive Garden experience, and raiding Publix for snacks……. I had a blast! I’m so excited to come back home so I can visit with everyone! So many exciting things to look forward to… All about the journey!

Edit… GREAT NEWS!!!

Congrats to Allison for passing her Parelli Course! You have such an incredible story and you are such an inspiration. I’m so happy for you and I’m looking forward to seeing what other great things come your way! The sky’s the limit!

Image