Ups and Downs-Diary of a Menopausal Old Witch

Jan 3, 2012
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A Journal to document the Ups and Downs of my Riding experiences and my weight loss experiences and sundry stuff.

Over the years I've developed some phobias , anxiety issues and ME/CFS. Fear and a lack of confidence in my abilities is always present though mostly not outwardly. I value compassion, fairness, kindness, respect and doing a good job.
I enjoy reading, writing, the natural world, dancing, yoga, and of course horse riding. I see myself as much a species of the planet as any other species and my family group comprises animal and human species all equally valued and loved.
However, I don't view the planet or species through rose tinted spectacles, it's not all nicey, nicey but think it's all awesome and I'm glad I'm alive to see it.

Back to the fear, it's so self limiting! Stops you doing what you want to do which leads me into the horse riding. Why if I tend to be anxious at times did I decide to ride a creature whose survival depends on it's flight/fight response? Because it's been my dream from being a child, to ride these beautiful, awesome creatures and ultimately, to develop a mutually respectful caring relationship with one of my own. I also have to focus on being calm and quiet for the horse. Dosen't always work but it's a work in progress.

I am 51 years old 52 in March and started regular riding lessons in October 2011 stopped December 2012, started January 2012 fell with the dog May 2013 had two operations following a fractured little finger, had post op complications and now have 75 percent use in that hand. I then fell out walking and sustained a head injury in August 2012 so finally got back on a horse in September 2012 and have been riding every one or two weeks at two riding schools ever since.
I had 6 riding lessons in my 30s appeared to be doing well but developed a fear of cantering I aim to get past that this time.

I got a promotion last January whilst still doing the job I was doing before indeed still am this is very stressful at times and what with the lack of exercise, increased stress, hormones and chocolates I have gained 2st my other mission is to lose this, yoga is hugely helpful for me. I weigh 10st 11b and am 5ft 3 ins want to be 9st 4lb. I haven't set myself any time limits to my horse riding or weight loss goals don't know if I should or not would it be a focus or pressure?

I had my first fall from a horse recently. I was learning to canter the RI said take your thighs away from the horse, I understand that closed thighs can restrict the foreward movement of the horse but think that when I did this I squeezed with my lower legs to hold me on. Well laddo shot off and I eventually also shot off just before he stopped. In all honesty it was the softest and least damaging fall I've had in a while! The fear of falling was much worse than the event. I have ridden a few times since then walk, trot on a pony, and a hack out at one riding school. Walk trot, circles and serpentines at the other. At one riding school I have a rotation of four horses each with their own ways, at the other I am coming off the horse I fell from and moving onto a 14.1h Grey Highland Pony. He's more forward going and easier to get canter on - he's also for sale Mmmmmm.

I am going to track my weight loss through My Fitness Pal. Tried looking on Slimming World online and seemed too expensive also I have tried slimming world in the past and lost 3lb in 6 weeks expected more. I have also tried Weight Watchers on line but seems daft to pay when I can track intake and exercise for free with my fitness pal.

Went out for a hack today on a battle horse , she does battle re enactments, she can be steady away or step up the pace. Had a mild covering of snow today so steady away. It was steep going down the valley but truly beautiful. Lovely horses.
 
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eml

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Apr 29, 2002
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This is going to be interesting!

Not sure if it helps but if you are going through the menopause the good news is that out the other side is a good place where lots of anxieties etc disappear.

I personally do not like time limits in riding, rather treat it as a meandering journey, if you find an attractive side road go off down it! I teach several 'more mature' riders and find some that for example learn to canter as a result of learning to jump,others learn to work a horse correctly and enjoy walk and trot dressage. The good thing about riding is there is no agenda, one day out on a hack you may just feel ready to canter and just do it!!
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Thanks Trewsers and spj. eml can' t wait for the good place! and getting to where I want to be in my own time. I confess I have a secret desire to give walk trot dressage a go. Even as a child it was the dressage that drew me in.
 

Murasaki

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Oct 3, 2006
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Hi BR!

We used to be in touch a couple of years ago on this board :) Seems like we've both been on and off since then - great to see that you are still moving forwards, but sorry to hear about your injuries :(
 

LBrider

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Nov 7, 2010
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Rather spooky post, :skull: as much of it could have been written by me.

I'm 50 and have an ongoing fear of canter (or rather perhaps canter transition) and am sometimes told off a little for not applying aids correctly etc. The issue is not that I don't know how to do these things, it's simply that the fear freezes me sometimes and stops me in my tracks.

Often, once I finally get into canter I love it and feel pretty secure so I know I have talked myself into having this barrier - like you I suspect, I have this terrible, limiting, self critical voice in my head and having tried many tricks to shut it up I can't help but expect to hear it anyway. So that's me stymied before I start. I'm seriously considering hypnosis to try to kill this thought pattern off once and for all.

And the limiting, self critical voice follows me into everyday life too. Often I think that I might try something new but at some point my evil internal twin turns up, to tell me I'll be useless, an embarrassment, and that it would be best not to put myself in that situation in the first place.

This probably makes me sound like some sad old nervy plonker with suspect social skills and a dull and depressing life. But I have a lovely life mostly, and I doubt if you met me out socially you would see any hint of this affliction. But I will never never give up trying to beat it into submission.

Any of this sound familiar BR?

I wish you very good luck, and despite your confidence issues it is very clear that you have a real determination about you, so hang on to that for dear life. I look forward to reading more and cheering you on as you progress. xx
 

Tina2011

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Mar 23, 2012
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This will be interesting indeed and I am sure there is more than one 50 something on here to help and support.

I think the riding will help your ME/CFS enormously as long as you take it slow and steady and build up at your own pace.

'Nerves' and depression and anxiety have been the bain of my life since I was about 24 years old. I was on antidepressants on and off for around 15 - 20 years until I went through the 'change'. Things are considerably better now even though my doctor always told me my problems where not hormonal.

My horses have helped me enormously, particularly my self esteem. I learnt to ride as a child, loved horses and was a very confident capable rider until the dreaded 'nerves' took over in my twenties. I didn't stop riding though, although I went for long periods where I didn't ride due to work/raising a family etc.

I really got back into riding when I was about 40years with more money and time available.

The 'discipline' of riding that I learnt has a child, has helped my confidence no end in other areas of my life. It gives me goals and things to strive for, I am much fitter mentally and physically, I have made loads of friends along the way.

I still have my bad days but I find having the responsibility of horse ownership pushes me out the door in any weather and I always feel better once I have been out. I was so bad one year, I was having delusions but still managed to ride and care for the horses. I can remember my husband saying to a friend at the time "its amazing, she is in bits in doors then she gets to the horses and suddenly changes into this 'capable person' ".

Good luck, if I can do it anyone can:smile:
 

Tina2011

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Mar 23, 2012
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This will be interesting indeed and I am sure there is more than one 50 something on here to help and support.

I think the riding will help your ME/CFS enormously as long as you take it slow and steady and build up at your own pace.

'Nerves' and depression and anxiety have been the bain of my life since I was about 24 years old. I was on antidepressants on and off for around 15 - 20 years until I went through the 'change'. Things are considerably better now even though my doctor always told me my problems where not hormonal.

My horses have helped me enormously, particularly my self esteem. I learnt to ride as a child, loved horses and was a very confident capable rider until the dreaded 'nerves' took over in my twenties. I didn't stop riding though, although I went for long periods where I didn't ride due to work/raising a family etc.

I really got back into riding when I was about 40years with more money and time available.

The 'discipline' of riding that I learnt has a child, has helped my confidence no end in other areas of my life. It gives me goals and things to strive for, I am much fitter mentally and physically, I have made loads of friends along the way.

I still have my bad days but I find having the responsibility of horse ownership pushes me out the door in any weather and I always feel better once I have been out. I was so bad one year, I was having delusions but still managed to ride and care for the horses. I can remember my husband saying to a friend at the time "its amazing, she is in bits in doors then she gets to the horses and suddenly changes into this 'capable person' ".

Good luck, if I can do it anyone can:smile:
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Hi Muraski, yes I remember nice to virtually see you again.:wavespin:

LBrider Yes! Lots of similarities. I think it is the canter transition with me too. I read books about riding, Mary Wandles, Heather Moffatt, Sally Swift, Kelly Marks ( Perfect Confidence). I visualise myself executing a perfectly balanced canter, horse and rider flowing in perfect harmony. I get on the horse,instructor says as you are going into the next bend ask for canter. I start thinking next bend next bend next bend heart rate goes whoosh, oh no ohno I'm going past the Bend, kick , KICK, horses head flys up I think sh** sh**sh**, tip, tip, 5 strides and stop phew! All thought flys out of my head. It's so disorganised and down right inelegant. I think if the instructor said go around in trot and when you are ready and approaching one of the corners prepare for canter, asking for it as you go into the bend I might feel in better control. Failing that it's outside in a straight line!

" best not to do it anyway" It's fear of failing isn't it? Or it is for me , if I am doing something I want to be the best I can be at it writing for example, then I read an amazing piece of fiction (no not 50 shades of Grey) and think why bother what have I got to say that this writer can't say a million times better. Personally, I need to focus on the journey not the destination or I would try nothing. I know for sure having tried it last year that skiing is not one of my strengths.:redface:

Tina ME floored me 6 years ago for nearly a year, at first family and friends were supportive but when various test results came back negative, no diagnosis forthcoming, and the general consensus among the medical team was Anxiety (despite my physical symptoms manifesting 6 months before I started getting anxious about it,) well then doubt started creeping into their minds regarding my " illness" and I felt incredibly isolated and alone but soooooo determined to get better. I think sometimes when you have been strong for so long and you have high expectations of yourself sometimes your body just thinks sod it I'm throwing the towel in you're down girl and staying there. Now I have some pains now and then , particularly my ankles when riding,a dodgy eye and headaches. Well done Tina for coming through your anxiety and depression and I also think hormones have a lot to answer for.

Nowadays fuzzy head,headaches, and lack of concentration could be menopausal symptoms and not ME. However, after that horrendous year I'm better able to cope. When ME struck I couldn't understand how i could have gone from a fitness fanatic to barely able to walk and very frail.


I decided to tackle the grey hairs last week. My hair is naturally dark and I have been dying it a medium/dark brown but recently went to a dark red but every two weeks the silver hairs start showing. So I decided enough is enough and bought a platinum hair dye guaranteed to lighten your hair by 8 shades this is it Blonde Bombshell here I come thought I ooohhhh nooooooo! Egg yolk yellow with bright orange streaks:redface: Lukily I managed to get in the hairdressers 3hours and a lot of cash later I'm a beige blond ish. Hairdresser said I looked like a fruit Salad!

Weight loss efforts - some one as swapped the hey BR how low can you go scales to some that screech who ate all the pies! Weight on despite less food and more exercise. Zumba is so much fun! I was in class on Monday waving my arms around in a limp lettuce kind of way wondering why something didn't feel right this week and realised I'd forgotten to pay! hormones I tell ya it's the biddy hormones.
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8395399194/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8395399194/

Thanks Trewsers :happy:

I am always up for a coven selside.

The links above should link to a 14.1 13 year old Highland Pony I am considering buying from my RS works in the school, out hacking and hunting, good doer, good bloodlines, weight carrier! not cheap as such but seems to be an average price for these ponies. My family who all have horses and ponies but do not work full time like me say they don' t know why I want one and that they are hard work yet I don' t see them rushing to give theirs up no matter how difficult it gets. OH is retired and at home all day says he is having nothing to do with a horse and thinks we ought to get some land first! Goodness knows how that would ever happen I could be six foot under before then! My pony my responsibility that' s what I say. What do you think of the pony?
 

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Trewsers

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Well, I am slightly biased - I love greys!! And I also love Highlands - they would have been my alternative if I hadn't got Storm (connie) at one point. I'm sure somebody on here will have some constructive points though!
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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... I could be six foot under before then!

That was one of my arguments when 'negotiating' with OH. Having started to lose family members in the generation above me I realised life is indeed very short and I told OH I wasn't going to die regretting that I'd never achieved my ambition of owning my own horse. He wasn't keen but he went with it and he fell for Raf so much that a year later he got his own horse.

I'm with Trewsers on the pony - I have a very soft spot for Highlands! Highlands were my second choice after an Arab (closely followed by Criollos, Icelandics and just about any of the native ponies).

Good luck with your decision. I'll boil a few toads and the hair of a minor celebrity in my cauldren tonight ...
 

Tina2011

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Mar 23, 2012
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Highlands rule ok!

Excellent ponies. Nice natured and easy to keep. They bond well and have long memories. Versitile, weight carriers, ideal first horse for the mature lady.

I couldn't link to the pics on Yahoo but he looks well in the thumb nail.

Life is short, go for it.

Only advice, have him vetted before you buy, just in case.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Thanks for the cauldron mega mix Bodshi:giggle:
Tina I knew you would understand the pull of The Highlands .
I read somewhere on the Internet that Highland Ponies seem to be the pony of choice for nervous, novice, fat middle aged ladies, trying to live their dream and spoil their babies seems me and the lad are well matched:giggle:
Trewsers can you remember a programme on I think Saturday mornings about Lippizaner horses the theme song was on white horses let me ride away da da da da da da da da da let me fly to the sky on white horses snowy white horses let me ride awaaaaay away! You may not be old enough but ladies of a certain age will know that one. I've been hooked on the colour ever since. Obviously white is really known as grey cos that's the colour they end up as soon as they put a hoof outside.
 
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