By Patty Wilber
Tuesday, January third, was supposed to be the start of my riding outside horses again, but the weather thought something else.
It was windy and snowed all day. Apparently, my house was ground zero for the moisture. Every time it let up a little, snow came down even harder a few minutes later. Granted, not much accumulated, but how much was I really going to be able to accomplish in sideways snow?
That’s OK. It gave me some time to think about my guidelines for getting back into it!
- Ramp up gradually. Going from zero to full throttle overnight is not my goal. I am still undergoing chemo, so want to be careful not to over extend. I can’t wait to get back into a training rhythm. I am just going to start small. This set of drugs (two monoclonal antibodies that target the HER2 receptor and a Taxol derivative) leaves me feelng SO MUCH better than the first set, but still, I am not at 100% of my previous energy level, due to chemo fatigue. My red blood cell and hemoglobin levels are in the normal range, but my white blood cell count is a little low.
- I am being choosy about who I bring in. I am starting with easier horses. Deets is a finished horse that I know well. He and I get along well. My second horse is a three year old that is walking and trotting under saddle already with no drama, so not a true colt start, but with a lot to learn. Also, he is by a stallion known for throwing sensible and talented babies (DK Smart Mate) and is being sent by a farm (Whispering Spirit Ranch) I have worked with for many years. I’d love to show him this year, but I think we are going to get him sold.
- Take each day as it comes. Some days might be harder than others, so I am prepared to pace myself and not beat myself up about that. Three of my personal horses are finished and they can be ridden, or not, as I have no big show plans for them this year. I don’t plan to ride my two year old (her actual birthday is 1/10) until the summer. By that time I will be post surgery (lumpectomy) into the maintenance infusion series (that lasts a frickin’ year) and should be feeling pretty darn normal.
- Find the joy. I have been loving having a few regular lesson people (Heidi! Faith! Jessica!), and I get a big thrill out of teaching horses new things. I also live in a beautiful place, and I am feeling better (that is so nice) and am very motivated. Thus, it is not hard to find the joy. Sometimes the trick is just taking a moment to look, and having this time consuming and somewhat challenging disease has convinced me to do just that!
Wednesday dawned like this! I’d say that was a thumbs up for riding (in the afternoon) from the universe!
After I did arena work with Deets, we did a short cool out on the trail and I got to pretend I was in a Bev Doolittle painting, except there are no Pintos camouflaged in the view!