Monday, June 21, 2010
POST BROMONT THOUGHTS BY REBECCA HOWARD
I have been asked by many over the past month… for some reflection on the year so far….
On Feb 28th, the day of my rotational fall – I could not have been angrier. My plans and goals for the spring were pretty clear, and after a solid Fairhill finish in 2009…. I thought we may (finally) be on our way. And indeed we were, until the second to last fence at Pine Top that day. “DAM IT”…. just didn’t quite sum it up !!
After that initial wave of anger, I recall a huge sense of relief upon receiving results of that initial Xray taken in Thompson – knowing I could and would recover from squished ribs and collar bones (right Will ?!). I have so much to be grateful for of course, and am humbled by the realization that not everyone is or was as lucky as I that day, but the overwhelming effect of my fall was amplification of my determination for achieving the original season goals I had set out for myself.
It bears repeating that nobody accomplishes anything in this sport (or any sport for that matter) alone – even when things ARE going well. So when you hike up the ‘adversity quotient” the role of others takes on a whole new meaning. My recovery and successful return to competition is the direct result of the efforts of my Family, Friends, Coaches, Employer, Employees, co- workers & Students.
In the early weeks my own energies were obviously focused on “healing”, with the later weeks dedicated to strengthening. I rode as much as possible, jumped as much as possible (wearing my air vest…wasn’t going to risk a stupid fall setting me back again) , sought out physiotherapy, introduced myself to yoga and exercise my body could handle, chatted with sports psychologist Dave Freeze, and paid special attention to the quality of my diet.
While the biggest hurdle presented by the fall was the interruption of my own PRACTISE, it also became an exceptional opportunity for Rupert practice – when David took the horse on for the 6 full weeks of my “lying around”. By mid April I was back in the tack with a seriously new & improved Rupert. From that point on, I dedicated as much energy to mental preparation as to my physical training. I had to make every competition count, because there were so few of them!
I was not nervous to be back competing, but I did feel the uncertainty that goes with so few practice runs, and the pressure of knowing there would be no second chances. In the end it came down to the fact that I am sitting on a truly remarkable horse that was well prepared for the task, and to the faith I have in his abilities.
It is a good time for Canadian Eventing, with enough rider depth, quality & experience to make the selector’s job refreshingly miserable. It is a wonderful (and novel) feeling to be exactly where I hoped to be – come mid June. The rest is up to me, but “the fall” is officially history, and I feel more than ready to tackle the challenges / opportunities ahead.
Taking the Long Way Around…
It’s been said that “if you can find a path with no obstacles,
it probably doesn’t lead anywhere”.