Power of Defensive Pessimism

 

I’m fed up with the whole “power of positive thinking” movement!

Ode to the Power of Defensive Pessimism!

What if…

What if I fall, what if I die, what if I break a leg!

What if I feed, and it’s all wrong, what ever should I be doing?

What if I today I skipped my helmet, imagine would could happen!

What if today, with winds a howling, I chose to lunge instead?

Terrible ode.

Worst Ever!

Julie Norem, a psychology professor at Wellesley College, studies people she calls “defensive pessimists” who deal with anxiety by thinking about everything that could go wrong.

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Her studies show that by processing the negative possibilities, defensive pessimists relieve their anxiety and work harder at their task to avoid those pitfalls. Several studies by Norem and others suggest that forcing optimism or a positive mood on an anxious defensive pessimist can actually damage performance on tasks that include math problems, anagrams and playing darts.

 

….

 

What ever…. You’ve already stopped reading.

You’re pouring yourself a glass of wine, and practicing your “positive thinking” right now, aren’t you?

Let me help you with that…

When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood

Really?

Poisons?

Image result for anti-science

Or this…

Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances will change accordingly.

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Another useful technique is the repetition of affirmation.

 

 

Or this gem..

Resolve to be cheerful, no matter what happens.

 

Or, just don’t bother with adult responsibilities at all…

Do things that make you happy! If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it.

 

….

 

 

 

that’s all.

 

Arena Building with No Money

Well,  the expanded arena is moving slowly.  Since we can’t afford to rent proper equipment to do this,  nor hire someone,  we’re stuck rota-tiling the entire thing and then dragging it ad nauseum until relatively smooth-ish.

Definitely going to be a “Premier Arena” when finished. 😂 

For the small area I ride on now,  we were able to break up the weeds by rota-tiling and (after massive amounts of dragging)  make the area less uneven.  Still rolly,  but no ankle twisters,  or leg breakers. It worked okay. 

We’re optimistic this will work on a large scale.

yeah, right

 

The rota-tiling was going fairly well,  but the old machine is popping seals and protesting!

Burning engine 

Luckily hubby is a small engine repair God and can make just about anything work with barely any money.  

Engine repair

He got it working again! 

The alternative is a hoe and a rack,  and I’ll be 80 before the arena is done.  *sigh*

So,  this image is “the dream” :

And this is the reality:

Looks like a God damned alien landing pad. 

Communication

I would regale you with my exciting riding adventures,  but there are none.  I’ve been rather depressed,  hot,  and stressed out. Ponies have not been ridden in nearly two weeks.  I’m starting to hate summers here as much as I hate winters…

Anyway…  I decided this week that I better put more bells and whistles on Joy if I’m going to ensure she gets a great home if I sell her.  So yesterday I decided I would teach her…  *drum roll**..

Spanish Walk.

I’ve never done this before.

Don’t worry,  I watched all of the youtube videos.  😂

Thirty minutes of trying to teach it,  and all I can get is that she’ll pick the leg up that I’ve touched,  but only to about fetlock height. Doesn’t matter what I do,  where I tap,  or what I varied,  that’s all she would offer.

I got so desperate that I tried showing her what I want.

Yeah,  didn’t work. Nothing worked.  Total failure of communication.  Back to the drawing board.

Since that obviously wasn’t working,  I decided I’d try to teach Joy to bow.

I’ve never succeeded at this before.  Tried and horribly failed with Ava. BUT,  I watched all the video’s yesterday,  so I’m,  like,  an expert,  you know.

ijer7

Anyway,  first session..  grain in hand,  lead rope in other.. . I pick up her hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

Ask again.  Nothing.

Work on backing without the hoof lifted.  That works fine.

Pick up hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

We do this over and over and over,  until she just barely will shift her weight back a little. My back was killing me,  my legs hurt from being crouched over,  sun was beating down and I was sweating profusely..

I couldn’t coordinate lead rope,  hoof,  and grain so i take her halter off…

Joy takes a step away,  drops like a stone and starts rolling vigorously.  Then she hops up and drops to the other side.  She stops long enough in her rolling to eat a small offering of grain I held up,  and then pops back to her feet.

I pick up her hoof,  ask her to back…

Nothing…

😂

We worked on that for nearly 30 minutes.  She did start shifting her weight back, finally,  but then i accidentally dropped her leg mid back-up and she decided I was no longer trustworthy, so she left.

Today, i tried again…

Picked her leg up,  asked her to shift her weight back.

She shifted back!   She only brought her knee about halfway down,  but it was progress! Yay!

I had the lead and halter on again,  and decided to take it off.  If Joy actually DID bow,  I didn’t want her to step on the lead (which I couldn’t seem to keep out of the way).

As soon as i take off the halter –  straight down and rolling.

She pops back up and shakes vigorously for a second,  then lets me pick her leg up and ask her to back again.

We never got the knee to the ground. A decent effort on her part,  but she’s not there yet.

Then Joy decided she was done and left.

Maybe tomorrow…

….

Pics

Clean barn!

Foggy morning.

Everyone gets a cape when a new bag of shavings is opened!

 

Indian Summer

We had a brief glimpse of what spring may look like.  It was fantastic. I was running around in a t-shirt! I was marvelous! The sun even came out for the day.

The following day was the dreariest day in history.  Fog all day, and the worst chill. Blah!

dreariest day ever

All day with that fog.

We’ve had three days of sunshine in 2017.

Three!!

Screaming

Post-Ice Apocalypse 

I let the beast (Ava) out of her paddock for the first time in at least a week.  She was quite,  uh,  buck-y about it.  I don’t think she took a regular step for 5 minutes.  Just bucked her way up and down the pasture.

She’s beautiful when she’s expressing herself, but sure makes me glad she’s not like that under saddle. Whew!

I hadn’t let her out because the footing was trecherous. Finally melted.

I broke Joy’s stall door.  As a strong,  independent woman,  I delegated fixing it to hubby.  Heh.

The nut that holds the door up on Joy’s stall fell off.  I couldn’t find it.

I spent half an hour trying to find that darn nut. I was freaking out about not finding it.

…..

Hubby found it sitting on top of the stall door.

As usual, the solution was above my head.

Terrible Weather

It rained and then immediately froze. Everything is covered in ice.
You scoffed at the poop piles left in the pasture, but those were really traction bumps to prevent slipping. This is good equine management practices.
What really annoys me is that exactly half of the pasture (straight down the middle) is completely ice and snow free. Not a spot of anything remotely treacherous on that side of the pasture.
Guess which side the barn is on? That’s right, the side utterly covered in ice!
My idea of leaving the water tank in the large pasture rather then placing it in the paddock is working like a freaking charm. Now instead of the tank being readily available for Joy and Jessie mere steps from their stalls, they have to traverse an ice rink.
Which means I’m stuck hauling water to their stalls twice a day (if not more).
This is good human management practices. Ensuring the human gets adequate full body exercise in winter is important.
Last night I’m hauling water, sloshing it all over myself, and the darn dog decides that I’m doing all this to bring him water. The 140lb lab places himself directly in front of me, as I’m walking on ice, and plunges his head into the buckets to drink. It’s not as if he doesn’t have fresh water inside, where we JUST came from. He must drink from these buckets immediately or die of dehydration!
The entire time I’m thinking “I’m sure the horses will appreciate dog slobbered water”…
Last night we stripped and cleaned all three stalls while the horses munched hay outside. Hubby and I are standing in the barn, appreciating the freshly bedded stalls and clean barn when one by one, the horses walk in and immediately pee and poop.
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Then, last night, I find Joy standing next to the water tank in the big pasture, refusing to move.  Just a bit o’ wisdom, but putting shavings on top of ice results in slick ice, covered with shavings. Utter failure.
Anyway, I thought pulling Joy through the yard would be the best course of action. The footing seemed okay to me, but Joy felt it was absolutely no better. She slipped and skidded her way to the barn like a drunk on ice skates.
I finally got her in the barn safely and made sure everyone had water in their stalls and extra hay.
I am so over winter.
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No Stirrups November,  or Too Lazy to Use a Saddle

It’s suddenly November,  it’s beautiful out,  I have no time,  and I have a bareback pad.  

The perfect excuse for not using a saddle fell into my lap…   No Stirrup November! 

Nearly everyday I hop on either Ava or Joy using the bareback pad.  Not both.  My thighs can’t last through 2 rides a day.  I can barely walk after one ride.  

First day,  I hop on Ava after not riding for 2 weeks (work got in the way).  A crazy deer and amped up horse had me desperately clinging to mane as we jumped/bolted down a steep hill.  I have no idea how I stayed on.  It was close,  one more hop and I would’ve been a goner.  

Next day i ride Joy AFTER I lunged her.  No canter work.  We’re working on 1/4 walk pirouttes.  Just playing around.  I have to get the left shoulder under her to be able to stand her up right. Once straighter she is a dream to ride. I pushed my hands out in front,  she met them,  and we flowed.  It was sweet for a moment. A moment here,  a moment there.  Most of the inbetween is crap still.  Did a few steps of bastardized half steps.  She’s learning not to get so stressed when pressured. 

Following day,  ride Ava.  Every other day.  Tried to walk past scary deer encounter spot (with bareback pad,  no saddle)  and Ava is AMPED!!  Scared me.  We made it past,  but I haven’t gone that route since then.  ‘Cause I’m a chicken.  

Joy ride following day.  No expectations,  just testing straightness,  half halts,  go forward off light aid.  She’s so incredibly easy to sit the trot on. She spoils me. 
Ava is so horrifyingly bouncy.  I can sit it with some modicum of elegance for about 10 strides.  After that I’m grabbing mane and begging Ava to walk before I fall off.  If I get her super straight and connected,  then her trot smooths out.  It is still an ab workout from hell.  When her head jerks up and her back hollows,  its like riding a jack hammer.  It hurts! 

Take Ava out to back field for ride with bareback pad.  Trotting down the path like a boss! Walking toward the big hill and Ava’s head shoots up and she slams the breaks on.  Sometimes a short looky-loo and she’ll get over it.  Nope.  She spins to go the opposite direction.  I pull her back.  She zigs left,  zags right.  I push her forward.  I’m starting to get scared,  so i sing… loud and completely off key,  with made up nonsense.  But,  she settled and we made it to the top of the hill without any histrionics!  Yay! 

I hope the deer hunters are entertained. 

Every ride in the bareback pad,  and I can barely walk afterward.  Legs like jello.  I don’t feel stronger yet.  I really need to do no stirrups with saddle. It would be far more beneficially,  but…  I have to put my riding pants on and saddling takes at least a whole 5 minutes. 😉 

I’m so lazy! 

Jessie injured herself while I was away for work.  She’s such a good old gal.  I wanted to make sure she ate the antibotic laced grain fully every meal,  so she got to hang out in the middle of the barn and eat.  She’d finish and calmly walk back into her stall.  Love this mare! 


Midway through November and the temps are starting to dip into freezing at night.  It’s not as warm during the day.  

I don’t want winter to come!  

Ava and I did some walk half-pass. We haven’t attempted that in 2 years.   I also realized if i just pretend to put my legs on (but don’t touch her)  and put my weight where it needs to be,  she automatically takes whatever shape I was going for (i.e. Haunches in).  She’s definitely a less is more horse.  Less leg,  less rein,  and she becomes more responsive. I always forget and have to relearn this every week or two,  but then i use it on Joy afterward and we always make progress when I employ the less is more approach. Why I keep forgetting this is beyond me…

I hope your No Stirrups November is going well!  Leave me a comment with your experience,  or goals,  for this month! 

#NoStirrupsNovember

Hercules

My work is promoting a fitness program for all employee’s. We track steps and workouts to earn points toward health care. 

I’m cleaning stalls, feeding, sweeping, stacking hay, etc and still barely breaking 5k steps a day (compared to the 14k steps my co-workers are getting). 

So the other day I’m tossing hay in the pasture and realize a tree fell on the fence in the back. I walk out (Joy following me like “Ooh, what’cha doing?!? Are we playing?!”). It’s a good sized tree. I was contemplating grabbing the electric chainsaw, but I’m lazy and didnt want to walk all the way back to the house (this may be why my step count sucks). So I grab the end of the tree sticking into the pasture and lift, and shove, and twist it until I can slide it off the fence onto the other side of the pasture.

At this point I’m feeling preeeetty darn good about myself. I, Hercules, single handedly moved an entire tree by myself! Raaarrrwww! 

Alright, I confess… the tree was dead. Like really, really dead.

But….

They didn’t have an equivalent work-out option on the fitness tracker for “Moved Giant Tree”. Do I put that under Yoga, or Cycling? 

TREE!

(Hubby cut it up and moved it off the path. I have the best Hubby ever!)