The Coat and Shirt

In the year 2006, I bought a horse trailer. I had a Wintec All Purpose saddle and I wanted to try and show my Quarter Horse. He was 5 and I was younger than I am now.

I gave up horse shows for a year and, after dragging myself out of my pit of depression, I decided that I would focus on my own horse. The plan was to work on collection, cantering from a walk, and building up muscle. After many rides after work, in the dark, it seemed like he and I had figured out our cues.

I found out that I have Lupus in April, so I took care to do most of my riding in the dark. I took my puppy with me and put him in a create while I rode.

Everything was coming into place and I had read an article from Performance Rider on Facebook. The article talked about when doing dressage it’s important to gauge how much collection you truly need. How to do circles and increase rein pressure as needed. I found that not much was needed with Bo, my horse, and it led to him lowering his head and relaxing… just like I wanted him to do for English Pleasure.

Everything stopped in August when I began having bladder pain that I attributed to kidney stones. I went to two doctors and had two cat scans to find out I had no stones. It was something that I had feared since 2015.

In 2015, I had a hysterectomy to help with my endometriosis. Benign tumors were on my uterus and had been causing a lot of plain. Post-op I felt a lot better and discontinued hormones.

The hysterectomy was not a permanent solution to the endometriosis and I knew that it would eventually returned. When it did, it grew on my bladder and everything around it. A laparoscopy was scheduled and my doctor did what she could.

It took about two weeks to recover from the surgery pain, but when the week of what would be a period arrived I found myself in terrible pain. During that week, I went to my Rheumatologist who diagnosed me with osteoarthritis and prescribed 500 mg of Naproxen for the pain.

Once the Naproxen got into my system, it made me violently ill. It took a while to recover from that, and I started hormone treatment. I began feeling better and I was ready to hunker down and get back to my training.

I received an email about a barn-only fun show and I texted my trainer saying I wanted to try and show Bo in it. I went out to the barn the following day after work and found Bo had been teach a lesson for a beginner. She suggested I ride Fleetwood, my normal saddlebred mount, and I did. She, also, told me I could show both Bo and Fleetwood.

The rush of riding him again was rewarding, the next day I returned and rode Bo. Bo, who had gotten used to being able to get away with bad behavior tested me. The ride was hard and I was tired after I was done. I told my trainer I just wanted to ride Fleetwood, but when I got home and texted her I would show both because I would regret not showing Bo.

I found myself drawn to the back of my closet where a hunt jacket and shirt hung in dry cleaner’s plastic. I knew that coat was too big for me, but I’d had it and the shirt for 12 years. I, also, knew I didn’t have to wear it. But why not?

I pulled the sewing machine out, my grandmother’s sewing kit, and went to work. After 4 hours and 4 broken needles, I had taken about 4 inches out of the coat. I was as ready as I was gonna be.

Today, I rode Fleetwood and had one excellent class and one that was him spooking at everything. I had Bo ready in his stall before I went in with Fleetwood. I got off Fleetwood and went to my truck and changed my clothes.

I bridled Bo and hopped on. My class, I had thought was a walk, trot class turned out to be a walk, tort, canter class. I said I’d give it a shot and headed in. I figured he and I would do our best and see how it went.

The first class was a tad rough as I remembered our canter cues, I had only practiced trotting and walking. Squeeze the belly, turn the head, lift the shoulder. He picked up his canter relatively quickly and we received a second place. In the second class we were both ready, the transitions to canter went better and we got ourselves a first.

My trainer was so happy she couldn’t stop hugging me. We’d come so far and had grown so much. And I had taken a major step toward my goal.

I’d dusted off that coat and I had shown. I started down my fears and did my best. I feel like with more practice, the transitions will get better and I will become more confident. I have faced my fears and I conquered them.

Now, to take that coat in for a proper alteration.

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