I had a fat pinch test and the fitness test started with planks, then as many squats as possible and then shuttle runs. I don’t know the results for my pinch test yet, but feel as though I’m pretty fit. The nutritionist gave me some helpful hints about how to better structure my diet as I tend to not eat much during the day and then eat a lot at night.
I really got a lot out of meeting with all three USOC folks, but particularly enjoyed speaking with the sports psychologist. Since my accident, I have a different way of seeing and feeling the jumps, and I wanted to talk with him about that. Because my stroke affected my ability to articulate my thoughts but not the thoughts themselves, I can no longer count strides in my head effectively. If you think about it, when we count in our heads, our brain is telling us how to articulate the numbers, even if we don’t say them out loud. My speech process no longer matches the speed of my thought process, so that I’m unable to count fast enough to match my horse’s striding—not because I can’t think it, but because I can’t “say” it fast enough in my head. I think the sports psychologist will be able to help me find ways to compensate for this, and also keep me in the right frame of mind to trust that the jump is going to be there and to feel it in the canter, rather than rely on a mechanical process like counting in my head. I found him to be easy to talk with and he had a good way of approaching the sport; he’s been to Burghley and Kentucky and he gets it. His main point for me was that the more I can let myself feel what I do, trust that feel and develop the ability to call on it, the better I’ll be. The same is true whether you’re a rider, a hockey player or a golfer—the goal is to not have to think about the mechanics of what we do.
I also attended Young Rider meetings; I still co-chair the committee with Tim Murray. It’s going to be really exciting this year because I feel like we have more Area Coordinators that have returned a lot of momentum to the program and who are trying to really get things done to make the program in all the areas and as a whole better.
I was also impressed with the Professional Horseman’s Council meeting this year. John Holling has really done a good job getting things done, like arranging for more cross-country jumps in warm up areas at events. I thought the PRO meeting was good, too, especially because they’re trying to get secondary health insurance for all members, which is huge. It was also interesting to hear featured guest speaker Clayton Fredericks talk about how he got into horses early on and how Team Fredericks operates today. Finally, I was really impressed with and very happy for Sharon White, who won the Becky Broussard grant this year.
I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. We’re off to Aiken the second of January!