One of our brand ambassadors, Ellie Townend, has had a rather rough time of it lately. Ellie is a super rider, and puts her all into her competing. Here she talks about her recent health struggles and how she's putting her energy into doing what she can while allowing herself time to recover... I'm sure she'll be back, better than ever, in no time at all.
I’ve recently suffered from two kidney infections in the space of two months. Anyone
that’s had a kidney infection knows how horrible they are but for a budding young rider the hardest part is not being able to ride my horses. Now one week off I can just about cope with but then having to take another week off I was feeling, quite frankly, very sorry for myself. I had to cancel lessons, stop training my horses and miss competitions.
Then when FINALLY I was feeling a lot better I went eventing and had a fall with my horse. Luckily the horse was fine however, I hurt my back. Now I fell on the Sunday and was convinced I could go to jump
training on the Friday in prep for my first Intermediate the Friday after. I saw a physio as much as I physically could and although in pain got back on Thursday to see if I could ride. After taking some painkillers I got back on, and in all honesty anything other than walk hurt. I was gutted, but knew there was no possible way I could jump the next day. Still I remained positive and set my sights to my first Intermediate; after all I still had a week, surely I would be better by then. I kept pushing myself trying to ride even though I was in agony. I even stole some painkillers off a friend that had broken their pelvis thinking if only I had a stronger drug I could ride. Anyway, come Wednesday it was quite clear I was not going to be able to compete and by this point I was felling VERY sorry for myself. After trying to ride again and feeling beyond useless and like the horses was helping me more than I was helping him I couldn’t help but be upset. I was just so upset I was yet again missing another thing. We put so much of our lives into these horses and when silly things like kidney infections and back pain were stopping me I just felt so demoralised.
Fortunately, both my mum and boyfriend were around to have a cry and complain to,
and they put things into perspective for me. The advice was rather than pushing myself to try and do things that hurt badly (for a perfectionist like myself this was not the way forward) I needed to focus on doing things I could do well.
So for the next 4 days I didn’t bother forcing myself to trot and canter because it hurt, instead, I just took the horses in the arena and schooled them in walk. We worked on our halts, shoulder in, leg yield, rein back, pirouettes – you name it. In all honesty I forgot how much you could do just in walk! But the most important part of this is I just let my back rest and heal.
I am writing this blog 4 days later in a much happier state. I finally rode my horses today and wasn’t in a huge amount of pain, I felt like I was effective rather than just holding on. I’m not perfect just yet but I’m on the mend and that’s the main thing. It’s the nature of horses (and life) that things are going to get in the way and stop us doing what we have planned, and we can’t do anything to change that but pushing ourselves to try and do things before we are ready isn’t going to make us heal faster and will only drain us mentally.
Do what you can do well and don’t bother pushing yourself until you feel you are ready. Try not to get down about missing things because it happens to everyone and its no bad thing for the horses to have some chill time now and again.
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