Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I will openly admit it: the last few days have been very frustrating ones for me. I struggle with many mental aspects of riding, especially fear, but have for the most part gone through the past two years of my riding career very fear- free. Additionally, while I definitely struggle with pressuring and sabotaging myself, I also think that normally I have a deceptively positive outlook on my life with horses, and keeping my chin up to the next show is something that I give a lot of priority to.

Yet, in the past few weeks, I have been struggling. Struggling in my riding some, but struggling with the mental side much more so. I have been afraid, as bad as I was in those horrible days after I broke my neck and questioned whether I could continue riding at all. Worse still, I've really been fighting against feeling negative and down. Normally I can laugh off what a ridiculously (and often painfully) chance-based sport eventing is, but lately it seems like it's been a downhill battle.

I don't really know where to go from here. I just want to enjoy my horse and have fun, but even that seems difficult at the moment. I'm very frustrated.

I ended up not going to Galway this weekend. I was hoping at the beginning of the season that it would be my first CIC**. Now I'm having my trainer ride my horse around Training. I just don't understand what went so badly wrong.

Well, that's more than enough wallowing for one post. To lighten the mood:

(Even on the worst days, that face always makes me smile)


Suzie said...

Stick with it! This, too, will pass. When the expectations are that ambitious, it is almost impossible to succeed since one is focused on the big goal instead of the smaller goals along the way. I can understand the feeling. I was competing on Penny at 4' and realized she didn't have the mind/scope to continue at that height. That is when we got Ed. First show, I entered 4' and stopped out in 2 out of 3 classes before scratching for the show. He and I had to take a big step back and learn about each other. I decided to take a break and play with Ed more and train less. The next show, I only entered the 3'3" classes and did one 3'6" class near the end of the weekend, which we won! The next show, we did Children's Jumpers (3'6"-3'9") and ended up being division champion. After that, it was history and we now have several wins at 4'3", 4'6" and in mini prixs under our belt. There is an adjustment period for any team. I know that you guys will be amazing together once you two "get" each other!

Call me if you want.

Beckz said...

Have you thought about seeing someone about this? I was doing the same thing with my riding and recently have been diagnosed with a mild depression. It's food for thought anyway? I'm sorry it's not going well for you. That being said it may just be a phase that will pass

KaitlinMarie said...

You are doing a fantastic job, you can't give up! I have a horse that I can barley ride through the winter because he has the good old, "sensetive thoroughbred syndrome" as I like too say, and the hard ground his too harsh on his legs. It frusterates me more than ever, but I stick to him, because I know he is a great horse, and a great jumper who loves his job. just only in the spring-winter-fall months ;)
Even with alot of time off in the winter, come spring and fall, he can jump a 3'3-3'6 course better than ever. You just have too listen to your horse, and I think you've been doing a great job at trying to take care of their needs, as well as your own!

You have been doing a fabulous job, and I think we all really love reading about ringo and kiki, and your time with them!

I agree with beckz too, I also have mild depression, But I truly believe its probably just a phase with what your going through. Dealing with depression, yeah, its tough, But horses have made it a little easier to cope with, atleast for me. Even if you have those days were you think everything is going down the drain. Its not, you just need too give it some time and a little TLC :)

Keep going strong!

Heidi said...

If you are not aiming to go pro, maybe you could move down a level or so for awhile. That way maybe you would have more fun and less fear. Just an idea. If your goal is to have fun, just get out and play! You are awesome, and so are your ponies :-)

Shane, like a boy said...

Hi, Katherine. I enjoy following your blog so much. You capture so well in writing the many emotions of riding. I am sorry that you are in a "trough" right now; as others have said, you are an amazing rider with 2 fab horses, and that's what you need to remember. As a new rider, I have experienced some of my lowest lows and highest highs on the back on my OTTB. When riding is going poorly, I become a toad. When it's going well, everything else goes swimmingly. Probably not so healthy! I think we just have to remember that the challenges always seem unsurmountable in the moment. You will emerge from this. I agree that just having fun for a bit is a good prescription; this is supposed to be fun afterall! Give yourself credit for all you have accomplish and let the goal be to enjoy the ride. And I'll come back and read this comment when I need the same advice!

Katherine Erickson said...

You guys are all wonderful; thanks so much for the kind words. Do not fear that I will be giving up! Even though I've been feeling really bad lately, if I take a step back, I know that it's just a bump in the road.

Beckz and KaitlinMarie, you both have hit on something. I have very severe bipolar, to the point where I have been self-destructive in the past, but have been well managed on medication/therapy for the past two years. I've been having a lot more erratic behavior and emotions in the last few months, so I've been beginning to wonder if I need to change my program. It definitely makes it hard to be positive when your brain is fighting against you!

KaitlinMarie said...

Katherine, I agree so much with your comment. It's so hard too keep fighting to do what you love, for the sake of your horses, and make sense of it, when your brain is just telling you too shut down. I know your going to go a long way! your a wonderful rider, and while reading your blog, you seem like a wonderful person as well! :)

Beckz said...

Agreed about the brain fighting against you, le sigh. I'm so in awe of you as a rider, and what you have achieved. I look forward to seeing more of your adventures, especially as winter is coming and I wont be doing much.

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