Equestrian Wellness Coaching – Part 4 – Discovery/Duh!

This is the fourth part of a series on my wellness journey working with Val from Equestrian Wellness.  I will be talking about our calls, homework and my results over this series of articles.  Perhaps seeing my journey will help you begin your own journey to paying attention to your own wellness (either with Val, or with another coach).

Our 4th call was another long one (at an hour and a half)

This was my favorite call to date, as I sipped on my oat milk latte sitting outside looking at a beautiful koi pond with lots and lots of observations from the previous week.  I spent the whole week paying attention to fullness.  I found myself stopping early on almost all meals and becoming really aware with how I was feeling.

I look back on this call now with a lot of joy and sadness.  It was the last time I was out enjoying what was normal (not including barn time).  Just days later, our mandatory Bay Area shelter in place started.  I am glad I enjoyed the day so well since I had no idea it was my last dose of freedom for a while.

Val gave me some tips on how to spruce up all the massive quantities of water I was consuming daily to keep up with the breastfeeding without completely dehydrating myself.

She told me about an online store called Thrive Market where I could order some things I had found difficulty finding in our local shops (yes…even with a Trader Joes, Sprouts and Whole Foods there was still things I couldn’t find).

We discussed how I had added a new “salad” for lunch that wasn’t traditional to add in more greens.  She said it didn’t matter what was in my “salad” and it could be whatever I wanted it to be.  She made it clear again, that I should enjoy what I’m eating…and not just eat out of a sense of obligation…aka…just because my “salad” wasn’t typical…doesn’t mean I shouldn’t eat it.  If I love it, eat it.  That went back to breakfast and the changes there.  And that breakfast doesn’t have to be “breakfast.”  It is all about what tastes good and nourishes you.  I love that.

She gave me a huge list of snack items to go over to try and mix up my snack game.

She also found out I was using tap water and requested I get our tap water tested  (which I have full intention of doing once this shelter in place stuff is over).

The biggest moment of this call I will remember forever.  I had a horse show a few days before and we rocked our first test.  By the second test I was a foggy mess.  I honestly don’t remember much of it.  I made lots of mistakes that I should NOT have made.  It was sad and inexcusable.  For someone who has shown to PSG and has a bronze medal….being on the wrong diagonal at the trot is just the biggest embarrassment.

My food Diary told the tale of exactly what caused my meltdown.

Saturday…show prep at the barn.  I didn’t eat lunch (just had a couple of snacks) and had one bottle of water in the amount of time I usually have 2 or more.  I rode Jax, gave him a bath, cleaned tack, loaded the trailer and braided him.

Sunday morning.  I ate breakfast and a little bit for lunch, but didn’t eat anything from 11 until 8 that night (my tests were late at 4:30 and 5:30 pm).  I had a big coffee on my way to the show.  I only had one bottle of water in 9 hours… where I’d usually have 4 or so.

Because of some issues Jax has on the ground and the timing of our rides, I didn’t get off between rides.  I rode for a little over an hour and a half.

That night after the show I couldn’t sleep.  Everything hurt.  I hated the way the sheets felt on my skin.  I hated the way my face moisturizer was feeling against my pillow.  I hated the way my hair felt.  My brain was going a million miles an hour.  I think I lay there for 3 hours until Derby woke up…then sat there for another 40 minutes or so after getting her back down before I finally gave in to sleep.

That second test that day was a culmination of the torture I’d put my body under for two days.  Physical exertion, low fuel, dehydration and over stimulation of my nervous system.   I had orchestrated my own failure by not taking care of myself.

Note to self…pay better attention to my physical needs on horse show weekends and don’t be an idiot.

Val suggested a specific supplement to help me calm my nervous system at night when I was struggling with that…I picked it up that day and found noticeable results immediately.

My next homework was to consider the snack list some more, continue the food diary and breakfast experiments until I found somethings that worked.

And the worst….try no coffee for a week to see if that helped Derby sleep better at night.

I tried no coffee for almost two weeks.  It didn’t make a difference to Derby, but I for sure felt a difference in myself and have limited myself to a couple of coffees a week since.

As you can see, there were some big things learned/observed this call (namely that I’m an idiot that abuses her body) and I have some big homework next show (if indeed we ever have them again)!

Next installment is our wrap of our first month working with Val and our results!