Why hours in the saddle isn’t enough

Originally posted on Katmah Training:

The way we train riders (and consequently horses) needs to change.

Having had experience in the horse world, and the strength training and conditioning world- it’s becoming clear to me why some riders become great, and others reach a plateau and don’t progress past a certain point.

In my experience, the level of a rider is often based on experience levels and results. Obviously, in any athletic endeavour (when one is competing anyway), consistent results prove who has got it and who doesn’t. So.. how do many coaches and riders choose to train potential winners? By having them ride as much as possible, schooling a variety of scenarios (on a variety of horses) to train performance. High level riders often also end up training or riding horses to aid in making a living, to further their skills, or just for the pure joy of it. All this builds experience and gives us…

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Highlights from Hi Point Horsemanship

Katmah:

See the attached post for some highlights from the clinic I was apart of this weekend.

The entire time I found myself spewing out words and ideas that I honestly didn’t know were even in my head. Coaching riders through their postural issues came more naturally then breath for me it seemed- and even though this was the first official clinic I’ve done.. it felt like something I’d done many times before. From the first rider onto the last I learned so much, and as you’ll see in the post built some valuable skills for future events just like this. Sometimes it really hits me how far I’ve progressed personally from even a year ago to now. While I was getting these ideas rolling a year ago, I wouldn’t have been ready to do something like I did yesterday. The things I learned through my Rebuilding thesis and working with clients through that and just in the clinic and on the field as a therapist have joined to make a wonderful partnership with my experiences as a rider myself. I am really excited to see how all these things keep building!

Originally posted on Katmah Training:

This weekend I was lucky enough to do a clinic at Hi Point Horsemanship for the Western Dressage Assoc. From the first minute on I was met with pure enthusiasm and focused attention on my words on biomechanics, posture, and my rebuilding the equestrian project. As someone who is new to being a clinician/speaker.. it still amazes me sometimes how word of new ideas travels fast, and how dedicated the athletes in our sport are to bettering themselves however they can. I didn’t give myself too many guidelines to follow for this event, as it was the first time I’d worked with this many people in a day and I wanted to let the experience guide me a little. After giving a short lecture on the basics of chronic pain, posture, biomechanics and the rider (similar to what I did earlier this month for the Dressage Assoc.), I demonstrated the…

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Spring forward 

My last post was a bit dreary, and I’m going to blame that on mono brain. While I’m still feeling some effects of this annoying virus, I’m starting to feel a bit more like myself. 

Through the end of February and early March I was so focused on finishing my thesis, and then getting my first seminar organized that nothing else really held any room in my head. That being other promotions and following up on other ways to progress me and my business. Yes my paper and first presentation I realize were two very big steps for me. But they kind of ate my attention alive for a bit and combined with mono the last few weeks I took a needed rest from pretty much every aspect of everything. 

I also found myself, through finishing and simultaneously launching, Rebuilding the Equestrian getting impatient. I’m always impatient but I’ve been working hard this year on relaxing that impatience. While that impatience is a huge factor in driving my ambition, it also can affect my logicality (is that a word?). Through the excitement of seeing a project I’ve been indirectly building for my entire degree, and finally getting to present it to other people and seeing their excitement build too… I now just want to be done and certified and doing my thing. However, I still have months to go before I get that piece of paper saying I have a official Kinesiology degree, and then a few more months until I get the first chance to take my AT certification exam. Lines get blurred when you’re already walking in the world you want to be in. 

Now, yes.. It’s only months.. I’ve spent years getting here.. So what’s a few more months? 

Sometimes, especially with twenty something brain, months seem like years. When you are growing and evolving so much in such short periods (seriously I feel like I’ve learned and grown so much in even just the last 2 months).. You just want to be at the next step already. Jumping through the necessary hoops is just that, necessary.. But it sure seems tedious. I have gotten the “do it right the first time speech” many times, and it only seems to be sinking in now. I have a deep desire to excel at this chosen passion and share it with anyone who will listen.. And the official papers and degrees is must in today’s world. I’m doing all I can to get all the experience I can get to better myself in every way possible in the meantime. I can find peace in that. I’ve been finding people are constantly surprised that I’m not done and attempting the next certification or already taken the exam more and more, which I’ll take as a good sign.. But it definitely adds to the impatience. 

I’ve also been going a bit stir crazy the last few weeks, more so now that I’ve started feeling a bit more normal, without having my workouts and yoga. Now that my spleen has stopped feeling like it’s going to explode I’ve been slowing trying to get moving a bit. But it’s slow. A walk around the neighbourhood this weekend near killed me, and dancing at a friends wedding was exhausting. I’m definitely not 100% quite yet! 

I am however starting to get back into a groove with promotional work, and I’m getting ready for my first full-day clinic at the end of the month. This will involve both a short theory based seminar and then one on one work with riders. I’m hoping to do some more of these over the summer. 

My amazing mother has been in Africa for the last 6 weeks excelling at her career and passion, and this has definitely inspired me to start looking into how I can take my projects and skills to other places, while also gaining some valuable experience for myself. There is no better way to learn and expand then going to somewhere new. 

Outside of my own business building- I’ve also been busy keeping KSA organized, my most pressing project there is getting our grad dinner up and running. Classes are easy thankfully and require little energy. And now that the weather is getting tolerable I’m hoping to get Felix into spring training.. Get my own riding fix. 

 Football had their first event this week and spring camp is beginning, with a tournament in Saskatchewan planned. That will add to my schedule again but I am very excited to be back with my team for another season. It feels like home going back to them, this year as the head trainer, and as always reminds me why I love what I do. This week I had the pleasure of meeting with our national association’s accreditation board as they came out to review our program- and they even interviewed my coaches and expressed at how much they liked the system we have atMurdock  between the ATs, coaches, players, and school. I love that I was lucky enough to get involved with this team when I first started in the field. My experience with them has been nothing but positive and I hope to continue with them for a few more seasons yet. 



In a few weeks I’ll be done my humanities lectures, and then all that’s left is my practical course which runs until August. It’s going to be quite an adjustment to not be at the university as much, although the between TA-inc, tutoring, and finding excuses to go and consult with profs about my own work.. I’m still there quite a bit. 

As always I am full of gratitude for all those in my life.. Especially those who talk me down when my impatience gets the better of me! 

Slow motion, a brief update.

I’ve been maintaining my promise to keep a low-key schedule this year so far, but that apparently has no affect on my writing habits!

February flew by in a flurry of preparation for March. Between one midterm that was probably the easiest thing I’ve ever done, hockey finishing up, and keeping up with my two clinic shifts a week.. school is going pretty smoothly. I’ve never experienced this kind of schedule before, that being one that is pretty relaxed, so it’s been an interesting adjustment.

I spent majority of my time finishing my research project, “Rebuilding the Equestrian”, putting it together into one giant thesis, and then nitpicking on the fine details for 5 days straight. As an undergrad doing what could have easily been a Masters thesis, I got a really good taste for what my future may be if I continue down this route. I have to say, I loved doing the actual hands on research and getting my ideas in motion… the nitty gritty compiling tests and writing up cases part was a little bit tough. I definitely underestimated how much energy that part of things would take up. However, I got it done and submitted it to the national athletic therapy association’s writing award on time. The gist of this thesis was based around me taking riders who had a history of chronic pain (predominantly low back pain) through and 8-week postural re-correction (or rebuilding) program. I did a combination of a review of the current literature and a overview of a few of my own case studies.

While most of February was spent on that, the next big project was prepping my first seminar on the “Rebuilding the Equestrian” project for Dressage Winnipeg. Basically as soon as I hit submit on the thesis, I switched over to turning my ideas into a understandable, ordered presentation. Again.. not always as easy as you’d think. My brain is a series of squiqqles and ever-changing ideas. Slowing that down enough to get a 2 hr presentation with the right amount of information incorporated was a challenge. I’ve done quite a bit of one-on-one work now with riders, but presenting to a group this past weekend was a first for me.

March started with my thesis submission and then this presentation. Conveniently coordinated with the onset of what I now know is a mono infection. Which made this past week more then horrible. Endless fatigue and flu-like symptoms combined with getting a 2 hr presentation ready to fly is beautiful. Thankfully I got it done and managed to get it out of my mouth in half-decent form, even though I didn’t have a voice by the time Saturday rolled around and it took me an hour to get the projector to work. But as my mother said (typed, from Africa), there would be something wrong with the Universe if my first seminar went easily.

Now that I have those two things over and done with, I can switch my focus back to… rest… until this mono thing chills out. I’m finally at the point where I can do about 5 or 6 hrs a day without headaches and horrendous fatigue (that’s if I get a minimum of 12hrs of sleep the night before..). Which is definite progress from last week where I felt like what the walking dead looks like 24/7. I’m looking forward to the end of the month where I’m doing a clinic for the Western Dressage association, built again around Rebuilding the Equestrian. I’ve gotten some great feedback from this first seminar, and can’t wait to continue preaching my preach. Hopefully my voice returns sooner rather then later.

Student Therapist Thoughts: The things you don’t learn in class

Arnheim’s Principles of Athletic Training list communication, stamina, empathy, sense of humour, intellectual curiosity, and ethics as the qualities necessary for an AT. What isn’t listed? The ability to self-motivate after a 14-16hr work day. All the multi-tasking. Being an educator, first-responder, student, personal trainer, counsellor, life coach, strength coach, nutrition advisor, substitute mother, and clinician all in the same day (sometimes all in the same hour). Self-promotion (most graduates are not walking into a job), and an excellent time manager (which includes keeping yourself sane).

As a intern, almost graduate, and someone who is attempting to set up their own business in a niche market that has been, for the most part, untouched by athletic therapy thus far.. these are all skills I’m developing on the fly. It’s not uncommon for me to hear from the clinicians I work under things like “you know what you don’t get taught in class..”, followed by any number of skills such as dealing with difficult patients, or insurance companies, or technicalities of charting or running a clinic. The skills and qualities I listed above often are seen as a given requirement, or a make it or break it set of abilities for young students or therapists. Many find that by the 3rd or 4th year of their studies, they aren’t cut out for the demands of this profession. Like any career, the ones who take a vested interest in personal development for the sake of their profession are usually the ones who thrive… and have fun while doing it.

In the clinic, working my way through the internship hours, I’ve found many things that are not even touched during lecture time. Including the silliest of things like getting cervical hot packs into the corresponding insulators, not getting adhesive IFC/TENS pads stuck to yourself while trying to apply to a patient, and not getting ultrasound gel everywhere. In the field, what they don’t teach you is that real live injuries don’t present themselves like the ones in your exam do (that goes for clinic too, actually), not every coach or parent will be convinced by your education, knowing how to interact with teenage athletes, the glamour of glove sweat, knowing how to layer appropriately so you will stay warm and be able to assess, tape, and stabilize too, and no matter how much you tell yourself you won’t lose your penlight.. you will always lose your penlight somewhere in the depths of your fanny pack.

All those things and more are things you learn when you step out into interning at various placements. You pick up little things here and there from the different therapists you work with (and all you upcoming students out there.. work with as many as you can!), and the different teams and events you frequent. You’ll learn that when you’re covering different events the sense the moment when athletes realize who you are and why you’re there (its usually signalled by the sudden onset of EVERYONE wanting ice, tape, a bandaid, or an ache assessed- most common with ages 17 and under). You’ll also learn how to manage burn out (in both yourself and your patients/athletes- often simultaneously), eating a half way balanced diet between time commitments, and how to carry a med bag, crutches, a coffee, and sometimes a table all in one trip.

When it comes to setting up your own image and stepping out into uncharted waters.. everything is fair game. Picking the brains of your mentors is the closest thing to a text book. Even then, figuring out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting your brand out there is touch and go. When you’re already promoting and part of a newish aspect of the health care system, working your way into a sport that is just beginning to integrate the skills you bring adds an extra challenge. What I’ve learned so far is that word of mouth is the best marketing. One happy client leads to another. Knowing  how to promote yourself online, and present yourself in person are key. Even more important is knowing how to sound like you know what you’re talking about even when you feel like your brain has melted. These things go for any young professional in any business. I see so many people around my age out there rocking their own ideas and making things happen for themselves, and I see just as many stuck doing other things. Kudos to all those out there doing what they do and loving it. Even with all the unknowns, learning curves, and long days.. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

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Intention and the questions no-one can answer

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I have this vague memory of driving to the city with my mom when I was 5 or 6 (ish). Being a typical kid of that age, I was asking non-stop questions, and when given an answer.. my response would be “but.. why?”. Whatever answer I got wasn’t enough to satisfy the questions I had in my head.

I’ve been feeling a lot like that kid lately. Though, my questions aren’t as black and white.

Last week I wrote about working on being at peace with things. One of those things is accepting that sometimes (quite a bit of the time) there won’t be answers for the questions I have. As someone who is fairly open with my personal dilemmas, whether it be via blogging or long discussions with those close to me.. it’s clear that more often the not, nobody else can answer or solve certain things for me. I’m rarely happy with the answers I get, anyway. The discussion can offer great insight and further opportunity for reflection, yes, but it won’t bring a clear cut set of directions or a guide to the next step. There isn’t a handbook for growing up, another fact both twenty-something me and mature, young professional me are equally upset about.

What does give answers?

Time.

Following gut feelings. Trusting intuition.

Reflection.

That’s what I’ve come up with so far, anyway.

What I’ve noticed is that life seems to put us where we need to be, if we are able to pay attention to it’s directions. Whether those places make sense or not at first, time and reflection allow for the reasoning and answers to become a little clearer. The directions for the next step are those subtle little gut feelings. The intuition is developed via those gut and heart guidances. It’s the learning to listen with patience that’s the hardest part.

I struggled at first when I began my University career and began falling in love with my profession with how I would have room in my life for two all-consuming passions. My sport and my career. I had two deep down feelings: I would have to give up one to be successful at the other, or I would have to find a way to make them both work. It took years for the answer to become clear. Answers I didn’t even know were answers until now.. where I am living the dreams of my past self.

As cheesy as it sounds, setting an intention on what you want in your life, and then going about your daily life- making effective and conscious choices that are best for you at whatever stage you’re at- can lead to you being where you wanted to be all along.

In a different example.. I spent a lot of years complaining and making criticisms on the way my sport (and many sports) are run. Yesterday I was voted onto the board of directors for my provincial association. My intentions (roundabout) for change and evolution in the equestrian sport came about in a way I didn’t necessarily predict, but in a way that I have a feeling will give me some interesting opportunities.

Choices. Change. Letting time pass and having patience. These things come a long with fear, frustration, disappointment.. but also knowledge, gratitude, joy. You can’t have one without the other. Positives cannot exist without the negatives.

Nobody can say what the future will bring. Nobody can answers the questions of your deepest desires and hopes. You can set your intentions in motion. You can reflect on what you’ve been dealt. You can decide how you’re going to learn and wait for the next clue. However you’re doing, don’t be blind to the choices in your control and the doors opening toward opportunity.

Philosophical post complete. Now for a quick weekly update.

As noted above, I am officially a part of the Board of Directors for MHJA. I will be running for the chair of athletic development, for which I am already brainstorming ideas for. February is here and I have a busy month of writing up my research and submitting it for a national writing award, putting together presentations for the seminars and clinics coming up quick in March, and a few other articles on the go as well. I’ve hit a great rhythm in my internships and in my personal life. I have at least two evenings off a week with which I actually take off. I even read a novel this week, between work and school.. “A Scientific Romance” by Ronald Wright (definitely a  must read!). This is probably the most sane I’ve been during a winter semester.. ever. At least I figured it out before I finished my degree, right?

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Making peace with the twenty-something’s brain

Being a twenty something is interesting.. that is the summary of this post. I’m starting to think that this may become a theme for this blog… how to deal with your twenty-something brain.

I’ve been trying to write this blog for a few days now, and while the words come to light during the night when I refuse to get out of bed to write them down, when I actually sit down- all those witty, thoughtful words disappear.

Pro-tip: best way to break writers block is to ramble about writers block for a few paragraphs.

When I say being a twenty something is interesting, it’s a big understatement. In the last couple years, I heard many people talk about how horrible the early twenties were for them. A time of mental unrest, insecurity, and bad decisions. They really didn’t make it sound appealing. I always listened and nodded, trying to relate.. but in all reality- until lately- I hadn’t really found truth in their words. Granted many say the same about their teenage years, and I quite liked most of my teens (minus the tilta-whirl like brain chemistry and emotions I now realise I wasn’t immune to).

Lately I’ve noticed an odd awareness of my brain somewhat reverting back to being a teenager’s brain (normal, for my age category). Thankfully without the insecurities, or as much angst. Quite often I find myself observing my mood, and monitoring my actions from an almost “outside looking in” perspective. With that awareness I’ve tried not to interfere too much with what the twenty something brain goes through. I mean really, how much could I interfere anyway. This, I guess, is what I’m getting at with the title “making peace”.

We all have an inner dialogue; the angel and the devil sitting on our shoulder. For me it’s not really a angel and a devil.. it’s a mature, young professional vs twenty-something brain. It’s a tie game, for the most part lately. Which is probably why when visiting with a friend I hadn’t seen in quite a while, I replied “amazing!” to being asked about work/school and “…greaaaat/you don’t want to know” to being asked about my personal life. The last month as been a big period of enlightenment for the mature, professional brain as the twenty-something brain insisted on being freed a little. Nothing wrong with that.. just a different pace then we’re used to. Normally the one to be content to stay in on weekends.. I’ve found myself as the life of the party a few more times then usual. And in all fairness, both sides have had a fair amount to process lately. For the most part they work quite well in tandem, with one usually shaking it’s head at the other in the background.

Do I sound like a crazy person yet?

At this time last year, I had all my goals and dreams lined up nice a pretty- and was 110% focused on me. Life happened, and while my goals and dreams stayed the same.. some new ones popped up, and nothing was as organised in my head anymore. (I say organised in my head because on the outside nothing about my lifestyle appears organised.. ever.). I was happy, don’t get me wrong. I’ve learned the hard way too many times that life is going to try to make plan A, B, and C impossible.. so taking it as it comes and adapting is always the best option.

So when life happened again, and I had to readjust my organisation, I now find myself back to a really similar place to where I was a year ago before broken bones and relationship brain. It’s a really good place. Again, not that I wasn’t happy in some of the places I found myself last year.. they were just different places, and different paths. As much as my heart is still a little upside-down about some things.. I’m loving where I’m finding myself right now. Now that I’m back in that place, I’m realising that though I’m standing where I stood a year ago, I’m so much farther ahead. I know me better. I know people better. And I dare say I understand the Universe a little better too. Funny what a little emotional turmoil can do for a person. And kind of ironic that I had my identity stolen (legitimately) during all of this!

It took me some time to make peace with the upheaval my brain has been experiencing the last little while. And I’m still working on it more days then not. The awareness I’ve developed of my thoughts is a amazing tool. Being able to experience a feeling, and simultaneously coach yourself through it is fascinating. It doesn’t make the feeling any less present, but at least I’m getting some entertainment out of it this way. I like to think of it as being a friend to myself. And really, when you think about it, if you can’t be a peace (or at least work on being at peace) with you’re own mind… life is going to be a true struggle when crap hits the ventilation system.

So thats a long ramble on the twenty something brain. The seemingly mature, professional brain has been on top of the world lately. This week I submitted my first article as a contributor to Heels Down magazine (look for it in their March issue), and was booked to present another biomechanics seminar for this spring (Dressage Winnipeg) to go along with the other clinic I’m doing (Western Dressage Assoc.). I bounced from covering a elementary level track meet to covering the Scotties Provincial Curling Championships (front row seats to watch Jennifer Jones for a few days). My research has been giving me great results, and the participants are all very happy. I got my training specific site up and going, and signed up/was nominated to take on a board position with the Hunter Jumper Assoc., to focus on Athlete Development. This week kind of kicked ass in that sense! Which was nice, especially on those days/nights when my brain takes time to process some of the other aspects of my personal life that it’s still working through. I have all these great things to lean on. And if there’s one thing I do well, it’s throwing myself into the thick of it.

To all you readers who are going “oh my gosh.. she’s taking on too much again..”, have no fear! I’m staying true to scheduling “me time” and am very aware of NOT over scheduling myself.

My weekly yoga class provides me with the atmosphere to reflect on my week, and offer gratitude to both my body and my mind.. and keeps me focused on achieving my goal of a free-stand by May. Wouldn’t be a hobby with me if there wasn’t some sort of inner competition.Today I accomplished my first wall assisted hand stand in a long time.

I make sure I get into the gym 3-4 times a week, and I am pretty good at getting some time to write and reflect, or just read throughout the week too. As much as my twenty-something brain gets me a little more, lets say, ‘social’ on the weekends, (and leaves me with some VERY entertaining stories).. I think I’m finding a fairly healthy balance between all my selves. It’s all part of the human experience, right?

As always, living and learning one day at a time.

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The missing piece in rider performance

Katmah:

I’m in the process of writing a not-training related post as well, but for all you riding/training folk that subscribe.. here is the first post on my NEW SITE that is dedicated to focused posts on rider biomechanics, health, and conditioning. Subscribe to that one if that’s what you want to read about… Stick to my regular site if you enjoy reading about my weekly shenanigans in life. Or do both! :)

Originally posted on Katmah Training:

What defines an athlete? A unlimited dedication to the betterment of themselves and their sport is the first thing that comes to my mind.

The equestrian athlete is no exception. Through all levels of the sport, countless hours of schooling, grooming, and monitoring the horse’s nutrition, conditioning, and movements are normal requirements of any rider with competitive goals. Lessons and clinics are attended with the goal of improving equitation, position, and ability on the horse.

And, like any other athlete, equestrians run into aches and pains. Whether it be from a nasty fall, or a long competition. A recent research article by Kraft and his colleagues in 2014 stated that 88% of equestrians across the dressage, eventing, and show-jumping disciplines experienced some form of chronic low back pain. Even more troubling then that statistic is their introductory statement that implied equestrian athletes accepted chronic pain, especially back pain, as a part…

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Back Into It

I couldn’t help but think today as I shuffled down the main campus hall in slippers, my hand-knitted rainbow socks, lulus, and my UWinnipeg Kin shirt that I must look absolutely ridiculous to every other person here. Then I remembered how little I cared.

Reading through the statuses of my fellow students who are also done with Kinesiology/AT courses and are stuck doing random arts courses to complete our degree.. it’s easy to see that we are supremely over our humanity choices, and it’s only a week into the term. This week I found myself getting to school early just so I could hang out in the Kin department chatting with familiar faces, before heading to Indigenous Spirituality and then Women in Pre-Modern Europe. Needless to say.. I miss science. But more-so my kin family..

The first week back for me began with me forgetting half my clinic outfit for my first day in a new clinic, a somewhat frustrating student association meeting, having my bank account forged, having the university try and tell me I was in the wrong final practical course, and almost forgetting a months worth of hockey games (don’t ask how that’s possible). On a more upbeat note, I got back to work with some research clients, who are all showing fantastic results, and was encouraged by a prof to revise and submit a writing piece based on one of my term papers (two actually) and my case studies to a national award. Which means I can’t write in detail too much about it on here until after I submit all the official stuff.. (#excuses). That’s my next big project! My schedule is a little more under control now that I have less course work to do. I’m working in two different clinics on two different days, and on campus for courses and teaching two other days. That leaves me an entire day open in the middle of the week. My first instinct was to find another clinic or take an extra shift… but after a week has passed and realizing that my weekends are usually busier then my weekdays now, I’ve realized that I am going to need every minute of that day “off” to fit in administrative things, research things, writing things, and general just keeping my life organized things. See.. I am learning from all those years of burn out…

I’ve began scheduling a little more me-time into the weeks. With time for the gym slotted into my schedule, at least one yoga class a week, and time to cook like I should.. so far 2015 has been a well oiled machine. For the most part. I’m starting to feel healthy again, after sliding into a few (more then a few) months of not working out and not eating amazingly near the end of 2014. I also have a clearer vision of where I want to take myself this year. For the immediate future my main projects are planning the grad celebrations for the Faculty/KSA, continuing to progress my research clientele.. most of them are half way through my programming, and writing an article on posture… oh and doing my humanities readings of course (sigh). My evenings are usually busy with hockey games, work, or teaching and weekends fill up quick with clients and basketball games to cover, but I’ve kept my schedule open for my favourite yoga class and a little extra sleep if needed. I need to get on studying for my Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam too (CSCS), which is coming up in February.

I’m not sure why but I’ve been feeling more and more at home in the city lately. Last year I escaped to the country as much as possible. Maybe it’s the cold weather, and there being not much to do outside of the city. Either way, it’s nice to be content with where I am and spending time with the close friends I have around me. Being 5 minutes away from work, 10 minutes away from yoga, walking distance from coffee shops, and having access to three free gyms all within 10 minutes of my apartment is pretty handy. I even cleaned my room and completely re-organized it last week. Who am I?? Since returning to school and getting back into a healthy routine.. somewhat not surprisingly my bum leg has been feeling pretty much like a normal one. Minus the severe lack of balance during yoga classes, but even that has been coming along quite nicely. I even regained sensation to the parts of my leg that had nerve damage just before New Years.. sensation I hadn’t had in 10months! That was an exciting day!

Now I feel like I’m just starting to ramble.. Long post short, January has been refreshing so far! Lets hope I can keep the clear head and organization going!

Re: 2014… An open letter to myself

I usually do a Top 10 of the year to bring in the New Year, but this year I thought I’d do something a little different. In place of a list, here is a letter written to myself on the past 12 months. 

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Dec 31, 2014

As 2014 comes to an end, you are reliving countless moments from the year past. Most of them good, some of them not so much. 2014 began for you with fate halting you in your tracks (quite literally), with a broken leg and a ambulance ride (this post has more detail). You probably won’t ever forget that night.

The year continued as your leg healed and your eyes were opened to new things and new experiences. 2014 was a busy year for you, in almost all areas. You began work on your own brand with Katmah Training, starting out with a strength and conditioning class for riders- and, now at the end of the year, you find yourself promoting biomechanics and position assessments, booking group clinics for riders on biomechanics, and working on your own research project. Not a bad progression. As spring came and your leg continued to mend- you had to deal with some fear around getting back in the saddle. By refusing to let fear control your season, you pushed through and got yourself through one of the toughest competition seasons of your life which brought true meaning to the saying “sweat, blood and tears”- and even made the transition from hunter land in the the jumper ring (why you chose to do this while recovering from a broken leg and nerve damage is still up for question).. all the while having great support from your teammates and now close friends M and L, your coaches, parents and boyfriend. As the show season ended, and your fear became less- you faced another hurdle when you made the decision to sell your long-time teammate Will (see When you know, you know for more on this). This meant letting go of yet another fear and letting yourself let go of the belief that taking a break from the sport meant giving it up forever, or that it made you any less of an athlete. Again- the support you had from those close to you was outstanding. Without these people- what you did this year probably wouldn’t have been possible. One of 2014’s biggest marks was likely showing you how much you appreciate the people in your life.

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Academically, you faced the most challenging year yet. However, you surprised yourself with your dedication to your studies and the profession of athletic therapy. You realized you’ve found your calling, and you began to see your own potential. You took on a leadership role in your student association, and a few teaching assistant roles. Early in the year you even applied to go to Mayo Clinic in Rochester for their AT-student internship, but fate had it that you were meant to stick around home this year. Instead you began your own research and focused your in class work towards the equestrian sport. In the field you spent the spring covering the MB Winter Games (click here for more on that experience), and football. Summer brought working at the Winnipeg Folk Fest, the Morris Stampede, and then more football, basketball and hockey in the fall. You were the main therapist with your football team this year, and got to see a truck load of injuries. Unfortunate for the kids, but excellent for your confidence levels in the field (this and this are good reads on how your football seasons went. )! You even got published again by CATA with your post Meet Your Athletic Therapist. As an executive of the student association, you were also lucky to attend the first annual Gupta Faculty of Kinesiology and Applied Health Fundraising Gala. This event inspired you and kept you in love with the ever growing profession of kinesiology in Canada. The passion of those involved in it is slowly but surely making it a well-respected part of the health care system.

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Other then being swamped by football, you were also working in the clinic(s), manning the student association, teaching, and taking the four final AT courses, and then hockey. While the entire year had it’s ups and downs, the fall took a lot out of you. While the summer made you feel like you were living a double life, being both the athlete and the therapist, the fall flew by until sh** it the fan for about 2 months straight. This is usually how you experience burn out, and you’re finally starting to understand the pattern. First your car got broken into (and all of your ID and medical supplies stolen). Then you got some marks back that demonstrated a clear case of burn out, and your leg began acting up more then necessary. Then your car got towed (you hoped it’d been stolen). Following this, and numerous breakdowns, you headed into final exams while simultaneously facing the end of your first major relationship. Oh, and then your car broke down and completely died. Ya think the universe was sending clear enough message? This post gives a longer summary. Here, again, you got a front seat view of how much support you have within your different circles. M and L, your riding teammates, didn’t just stop being your friends when you left the sport- they stepped up in a big way for you this fall and winter. Your parents were endlessly supportive, as well as all your friends and colleagues at school. Even through closing the chapter on your relationship, J remained a big support and friend for you too.

When you look back at 2014, it’s easy to see that it was a year of learning (as every year is) for you. Learning took place in new areas. You were forced to deal with many emotions and feelings you either hadn’t given time for (love), or had locked away (fear). You proved your ambition within your career, and that is paying off looking into the new year. Before the year ended, your research took off and you began to form your own biomechanics program for riders. While it’s in the early stages, it will come in handy for the few clinics and talks you’ve been booked for early in 2015. It was very much a year of growing pains, in pretty much every aspect of your life- whether it be sport, career, or personal life. After getting through December full of exams and focusing on your research before taking some time off around Christmas, you road-tripped out to Lake Louise with your cousins. You definitely couldn’t afford this excursion- but your head thanks you for it. It was a great way to hit reset and bring in the New Year.

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As the clock nears midnight, you’re sitting in the Fairmont Chateau watching rich people in velvet suit jackets get progressively more confident on the dance floor (it’s as entertaining as it sounds). You have a fresh mindset on many things, and are looking forward to 2015 as a exciting year for you. Right now you have plans to work the Scotties tournament, the National Badminton Championships, and are starting in a few new clinics. You will continue with hockey, now with a younger student shadowing you, be a teaching assistant in two new classes, continue your own research, and come spring return to you beloved football team. You are done course work now, with just two humanities left to finish- which means your schedule is much more flexible and coordinated to your AT life. You will return to MORFit, after a month off, continue running your own business, and tutoring. With a little more wisdom when it comes to scheduling (we think) you will get back into the gym and yoga on a regular basis, because you know it’s what you need– that time for you– to stay sane and keep the Universe off your back. Since you aren’t riding competitively anymore, you need to find other ways to keep your body moving and your mind settled. Hopefully you’ll make it to this years CATA conference in Halifax, and surely you’ll find some new adventures to fill your summer with. This will be the first summer without a heavy training and competition schedule to keep you busy- but also the summer before you challenge the national certification exams.  After reflecting on 2014, you’re grateful for all the things it’s shown you- and are welcoming 2015 with a smile!

For future reference- practice gratitude everyday, it’s one of the things that kept you going through the low points of 2014.

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