Corona Virus (read in Cardi B’s voice)
For years I have been wishing the world would pause so I could catch up. I never thought it was actually possible.
I was in the middle of my ‘week off’ at Sunshine Tour in the south of Spain—a tour that had been spiraling out of control for me since before it even started thanks to a broken shoulder—when I heard the news that the following day would be the final day for competition. I was admittedly relieved.
Owners of all two thousand plus horses were scrambling to get home as soon as possible before the supposed lockdown. I am so happy we were able to get on the road when we did as all the hotels, restaurants and most airports closed down around the show soon thereafter. And also because, little did we know at the time, that Spain would become one of the Corona hotspots.
At that time, I naively believed that we would only have a few weeks of social distancing ahead of us. I was already strategically planning my time, worrying that a month wasn’t going to be long enough to get everything done that I wanted to. As it became more obvious that this break would be much longer than I expected, the relief I originally had began to fade. Was all that hard work we put in so far in the year going to be wasted? Was it just of me to be thinking about horse shows at a time like this?
We are at the one-month mark of practicing social distancing and competitions are still canceled for the unforeseen future. Since it normally takes an injury, horse or rider, for me to take time off (and I have had a lot of those), it’s nice to finally be able to be productive during a break. I am able to work on the condition and rideability and everything else that a full-time competition schedule doesn’t allow for.
The idea that we are not going to be successful if we aren’t burning the candle from both ends is something that I struggle with. At what level of success is it acceptable to slow down and start caring for our own bodies and mental health? I have always felt as though when a top professional takes a vacation away from the horses (almost never), it is well deserved. And when someone who has not yet ‘made it’ does the same thing, it is lazy and means they obviously don’t want it badly enough.
I am definitely guilty of trying to do too much. Trying to fit in as many rides and hours at the stable as possible just to get one step closer to my goals. I feel anxious the whole time I am on a forced break because all I dwell on is that fact that I am falling behind and there is nothing I can do about it. I’m slowly learning that negative headspace has actually been holding me back more so than the forced break has.
It has shamefully taken an epidemic and a worldwide lockdown for me to understand that time off can be a good thing. I feel like I can take a deep breath because I am not falling behind, everyone is in the same situation. I have been riding just as many horses in the day as before, except I am able to put much more time and thought into each ride and the progress is already so much more evident. Miraculously, taking my time has added hours to my day in a sense. I can get everything accomplished with the horses and still have time for myself. I have a new found feeling of contentment with this new schedule and I am loving it. I needed this time to recognize that there is a healthy balance between working hard and working smart. I needed space from the vortex of chasing goals. I needed time for self-care. I have realized that it’s not only okay to enjoy the process, it’s vital for success.
I hope that sharing my isolation experience helps someone else make the most of their time off too. I also want to acknowledge the concern of some that continuing to ride and train at this time is in some ways negligent of the potential strain on the medical community if an accident were to occur. I have decided to take that risk on, of course with every precaution possible, for the greater health of my horses who I believe should not be kept in their stalls during this lockdown. I am looking forward to when the world will reopen to its new normal. I hope there will be more positive outcomes than negative ones. I send prayers to the families who have lost loved ones and to the doctors and nurses who are fighting this battle for us. I wish my business could be adapted to help the Corona crisis, but unfortunately it cannot. Therefore, I can only do my part by keeping to social distancing rules and encouraging others to do the same.
Until next time!