This past weekend I helped with my last trail ride of the season at Indian Cave State Park. It rained and rained and then it rained some more, which eventually led to the ride management making the call to make it a one day ride.

It wasn’t as cold as last year, but a soggy, muddy mess in which camping is not really a lot of fun.

Although, I haven’t ridden competitively since my son was born, I remember that going to rides was an emotional and even spiritual experience for me. Turns out, being a judge’s secretary is as good and I don’t have to sit in the saddle for 50 miles.

To be able to convey this feeling to you, I have to go back to Thursday of last week. I was completely stressed out with work and then it only got worse with family issues. By Friday noon, I was the closest I have ever been to a complete nervous breakdown. (I’m not even kidding!)

As I drove the hour-and-a-half to the park, I cried, prayed, cussed a little and prayed some more. But once I backed the trailer into the camping spot (which is getting easier) and checked in at my station, I was already feeling more relaxed.

There is no cell reception in the park so I didn’t have the need to constantly check my phone, but it was more than that. I was working with a vet judge that I just met a month ago, but now consider my friend, and a horsemanship judge that is an incredible person. I got to see my horse friends from around the region and meet some new friends too.

Our usual trails were not available and so the riders rode in a big loop. The judges didn’t even get to leave the main road mostly, but it was still beautiful and calming.

I was able to sit in my camper during the down time in the afternoon and read, wrote and reflected. How could I get to this dark place again so quickly after I just had a wonderful vacation? I slept well and even though I have to get up on trail weekends long before my usual wake-up time, I felt good.

At some point I reverted back to crying and praying in the peace of my camper and think I found the basis of my anger in the current situation and a starting point to change my “stinky thinking.”

When I’m at a trail ride the urgency of my to-do list doesn’t exist. Well, what I’ve come to realize is that “stress makes you believe that everything needs to happen right now. Faith reassures you that everything will happen in God’s timing.” (Unknown)

I can’t change the fact that there are deadlines and my schedule gets crazy, but I can change the way I react to it. I’m always going to have stress, but instead of immediately responses I’m committed to thinking my way through my responses and having faith.

I’ve also come to realize that my mental health is dramatically affected by the people that I surround myself with. What I also know to be true is that if people don’t express appreciation to me, like my horse friends do, then I don’t care to do the work.

The best supervisors I’ve had realized this early.

How about you?

“Every day focus on your purpose. Remember why you do what you do. We don’t get burned out because of what we do, but we forget why we do it.” (Unknown)

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