A hard concept for horse people.
East Tennessee and, indeed, much of the South, has had an unusually wet winter and spring. The rain and mud seem endless, sometimes. Some folks have covered or indoor arenas. Lucky you.
I know some riders who saddle up no matter what the weather. Yay for you – sincerely – if you’re one of them. I am not.
I don’t mind riding in a warm summer rain, but getting soaked when it is forty degrees (Farenheit) is not my idea of a good time, frankly. I do my own barn chores every day, so I’m mucking stalls and tending horses no matter what the weather, and that’s okay because it is part and parcel of horse ownership.
Riding in the snow? Let’s GO! But somehow, the idea of tacking up while my teeth are chattering and rain is running down my face is just not my thing.
Instead of griping about all the rainy days over the past few weeks, I have decided to embrace them and incorporate them into part of my weight-loss regimen. How, you ask?
After the workday is done, I sit in my favorite chair next to some lovely wind chimes (shout out to the blacksmith shop at Dollywood!) and practice doing one of the most challenging things I have ever done.
Raw honesty: we’re horsepeople. We have no clue how to do “nothing” because there’s always something that needs to be fed, groomed, exercised, bathed, clipped, trimmed, washed, swept, mended, and on and on and on. “Nothing” is not in our vocabulary. Doing “nothing” is so very difficult, and yet so very good for us!
We understand this concept for our horses. Daily turnout and getting to be “just a horse” are wonderful and, arguably, necessary for even top performance horses.
But we horsefolk tend to fill any “down time” of our own with striving to accomplish something on the never-ending “to do” list. This sense of being driven to do all things, and do them well, is a major source of stress, at least for me. And stress causes me to crave sugar. Stress also causes my body to hold on to every possible fat molecule. Stress also makes me tense up so it negatively impacts my riding. Boo, stress!!!
So the past few weeks of chilly, rainy days have given me an excellent opportunity to work on the concept of doing nothing for at least a few minutes each day.
I made a quick video, starring Sydney the farm cat, as we sat and listened to the chimes and the rain. As you’ll see, I have a heater going because it was so cold! (If you look closely, you’ll see another farm cat, Owen, sitting next to my largest set of drums. These drums are 55-gallon containers I painted; they are such fun to play!)
The gentle movement of the chair in the breeze, along with the wind chimes and the rain, made me feel like I was at a spa instead of curled up on my own front porch.
As I continue to learn more about what constitutes good self-care, I now embrace chilly, rainy days as an opportunity to invest some time in other aspects of becoming a fit and healthy rider. Like, for at least a few moments, giving myself permission to do absolutely nothing.