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Anyone who knows me knows that I hate winter. Correction. I LOATHE winter. I despise it with every fibre of my cold, aching body. And yes, I know this is Canada and winter is what we do. I don't. I don't ski, or skate, or enjoy the sight of freshly-fallen snow. I like sunshine and sweating and stifling humidity.
Every winter my motivation disappears with the warm temperatures. A lot of it is mental. The idea of putting on 8 layers of clothes, driving 45 minutes to the barn, grooming a furry yak, tacking up with frozen fingers, dealing with winter spooks and sillies...it all just seems too much.
Since Christmas I have struggled to ride even three times a week. And of course since I'm not riding as much, Gus and I aren't progressing as much. And when I have crappy rides I lose motivation. When I lose motivation I ride less, and have crappier rides. It doesn't help that my schedule has also only allowed one weekly lesson lately. Within that hour I get back on track and feel like maybe, just maybe, I'm getting somewhere. But when I ride on my own, more often than not it seems to fall apart.
Part of the issue is physical as well. Though the knee fracture I sustained in a fall last summer has healed, the soft tissue damage is still causing me problems. So is the arthritis I have in my knees thanks to several years of running in my younger days and a substantial amount of cartilage loss, which was somehow aggravated by the fall too.
My body hurts. My knees, my hips, my back, my neck. By the time I finish the stalls which I muck in order to be able to afford to ride, I am too sore and tired to ride. In the summer I can take a 10 minute break and feel ready to go. In winter I just want to hobble home, soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts and crawl into my bed.
On the days when I do have a plan, feel energized and can't wait to go ride, the universe laughs at me. A client has a crisis. One of my kids throws up. Gus gets an abscess. There's a freezing rain storm.
Are you tired of my whining yet? Me too.
I'm trying to remember that it's not the end of the world if riding takes a back seat to life for a couple of months. Gus and I are not going to the Olympics, ever. My biggest plan for this year is simply to show First at a few Bronze shows and not fall off in front of the judge (again).
So today, as I try not to succumb to the stomach flu that took out one of my kids and my riding plans earlier this week, I will enjoy quality time with my computer, catching up on work with a dog on my lap in front of the fire. Gus doesn't care if he has another day off - he doesn't care if he has 10! I'll ride in my lesson tomorrow and once again, will have that glimmer of hope that someday I'll figure this whole dressage thing out. The weather will get warmer; the days will get longer and I will start riding and progressing again.