JIVE, Therapy & Horses, My Heartbreak

June & July weren’t exactly good months for me. A whirlwind of some sort. Heartbreaking even, that will forever alter my well being. There is not a day that I do not think of her. I try to put a brave front and face what used to be my almost daily grind and of course, the need to go on with my daily life. I had to give up Jive. My horse. My baby. My key to recovery (physically, emotionally, and psychologically), my happiness, that I can really call my own. My chest tightens just thinking about it and tears start to fill the brim of my eyes. MANY will say that I’m just overreacting or being a brat. I’m still trying to wrap around the thought of why people don’t understand how much Jive means to me. Only a good handful of people understand this. Yes, I admit that I didn’t “work” hard enough to be able to afford her upkeep. Believe me, I tried. I spent months talking to other riders, parents and other people who would want to half-stable Jive, a good learning horse, but because of her age, most said that it was time to retire her. My own mother even said to put her to sleep but when she found out that it would cost at least P25,000 or more to do so, she kept quiet. Jive still has a few good years on her, she’s a tough girl. I could still ride and make use of being the only accredited FEI ParaEquestrian in the country and who knows, join more competitions and represent our country.

The connotation that riding is such an expensive sport is true. It is. BUT there are other sports that cost much more. Do you have an emotional and physical relationship with you golf clubs, scuba diving gear, bikes, etc? Does your gear respond to your touch? I didn’t think so.

My mother keeps shoving up my ass of how I need to work, find a regular nine to five job, etc. My mother also forgets that I have a medical condition that could be fatal if i get too stressed which I have been, trying to make ends meet. She forgets too that I have medical screws inside my ankle area that helps me walk better. As much as I want to bike everyday for at least an hour, I have a feeling that the screws inside my paralyzed leg have been misaligned because my ankle is starting to veer to one side again. No severe pain at all which is a big bonus. I don’t have any pain or pressure when I ride. Again, my mother NEVER sees my riding or my love of Jive as something beneficial in all aspects rather a big burden, a useless expense. Since my mother and I NEVER see eye t eye on this, I have become an expert of walking away once she brings up this topic. Rude, yes but it’s the only way to keep the peace and be civil.

“Physically, horses can help people gain greater mobility, a stronger sense of balance, better sensory skills, and improved neurological function. Riding a horse benefits ill or injured people who have trouble walking (such as stroke victims and those suffering multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy) because a horse’s gait has a rhythm that is strikingly similar to that of a human being. After spending some time riding a horse, people may walk better on their own. People who need help with their sensory skills or neurological functioning (such as those with autism or people who’ve suffered brain injuries in accidents) often improve after working with horses.

Emotionally, horses can help people recover from trauma, so people with a variety of psychological needs (such as abused children and soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder) spend time enjoying horses’ company and taking care of them to build bonds that give them the courage to eventually build stronger relationships with other people. The strong yet gentle demeanor of horses encourages people to talk openly with them about their thoughts and feelings, and horses respond with much-needed listening and unconditional love.”

If you come across anything about how horses are both beneficial and therapeutic ones well being, feel free to get in touch with me. I’m a living proof of how riding and horses has helped me.


Week Two and Cups of Tea

I honestly do not know where the week went. Seriously trying to think. Haha. My mind has been wandering again. Been spending my afternoons at the stables, bringing treats for Jive and just checking up on her. I went riding again Wednesday, which has been my regular schedule since before. Lately, I find myself like a broken record telling “my story” to the bystanders or parents of riding students. Don’t get me wrong, I really think it’s my mission to share my experience. But I’m tired of listening to myself. Hahahaha. It’s inevitable because the first thing that people notice about me is walking around with a crutch/cane always presuming that I broke something or injured myself. Because of that I have to narrate everything. I mentioned to a friend once that I should go around with a tape recorder and just play it when needed. Haha.

Last Wednesday, a mother of one of the riders came up to me, asking if I could talk or meet with her friend whose son had something similar to what I had. An AVM or Arteriovenous Malformation. But her son had several in the brain as she stated. Yikes. Being such a small community, I found out that this mother is the mother of my son’s former tennis buddy. We have set a meeting for Monday afternoon over a cup of coffee. That same day, after just smiling and saying hello to a rider who I do not know, I shared the story to her again. A broken record I tell you. Haha. Well, at least I was able to help her in a small way. She was wondering why she met me that particular time knowing that she was having such a bad day. Even on social media, a follower said that my experience made her believe that there is a God. That’s one thing I never let go of. My faith. God moves in mysterious ways.

I almost fell off the horse because Jive reared. She wasn’t listening to my leg commands so I whipped/tapped her a little stronger than usual. She got mad. What a bruha! But she realized her mistake because she behaved right after. Her mind was probably wandering as well. Funny girl. My tita saw it and told me to be careful. Have to make sure Jive is lunged before I ride just to be safe.

I think I have been watching The Mentalist every night before I sleep. I even have a rolling boil pot of water ready for my tea nightcap in my bathroom. Hahaha. Very Patrick Jane with his cup of tea in his cerulean cup. We all know the benefits of tea right? My favorite is from YOGI Green Tea Rejuvenation with tones of Lemongrass and Spearmint. Simply delish. A restful calming slumber is a sure night cap drink. Yes, I ran out of Chocolate Mushroom Hot Cocoa. Cheers to that!

Back on the Saddle! Yipee!!

I was excited when I woke up this morning because I knew I would be able to do something I love. After my breakfast (cereal w/ vanilla milk & coffee) someone decided to crawl into my bed and didn’t budge until I kicked him out. Yes, it was almost noon and we soon had to get ready for the days activities. He cannot sleep without his baby blanket which I actually bought before he was born.

It’s been exactly 4 months since my ankle surgery. 3 months of recuperating from a full leg cast (50 days), below the knee (2.5 weeks), strengthening my knee and muscles to be able to walk again and 12 sessions of Physical Therapy. My last session was yesterday. Not being able to wait any longer, I rode today. It’s been a while that even my yaya had forgotten our routine, what to prepare, etc.

Because I am half paralyzed or hemiplegic, I do not have full use of my right hand. I cannot drum my fingers but I can close and open them. Meaning I can grip. Therefore, when I ride, I need to bandage my fingers with Mueller tape as not to get blisters from the friction of the reins and my fingers even if I have gloves. I need my yaya Helen to put them for me and put my right hand gloves as well. Boots have been easier to put on since my brace is slimmer and thinner.

I try to schedule my riding days at the same time as Xavier’s football or tennis (then) trainings. For one, they are all in one place and more or less at the same time. We save on gasoline too. Someone’s feet haven’t stopped growing and I doubt they will in the near future.

My groom (the man who takes care of my horse) has been ill (so sad) and has been recuperating in the province until he is well enough to come back to work. In the meantime, it is his son who tends for Jive. To my surprise, it was another groom who helped me get on Jive today. For obvious reasons, he was not used to my “gear”. I use Devonshire Boots which a lot of RDA groups use to stop riders feet slipping through the stirrup, which is very dangerous, couldn’t be found. My dressage whip as well, and having to make a knot on my reins that help keep the contact on the horse’s mouth. Minor setbacks which were immediately rectified. This is how I get on a horse. (the pic taken from my other blog)

After all the preparations, off I went. Jive seemed happy. She knows she has to be a good girl for me to give her her treats of carrots and apples. She was and lo and behold. NOT once was I in pain during my ride. I guess this time I can say that the “goods” (ankle surgery) has been tested. Good job!!

You guessed it right, I was famished when I got home. This is what was waiting at the dinner table. Good ole Putanesca and Fried Chicken.