Confidence....and the black dog

Posted by Liz Park on

I'm probably taking a bit of a step back here from my first post...but I feel like I need to say this..
Sometimes, trying to put into words things that you just 'feel' is hard...... I think this is why Victoria Brant's books 'How to get your leg over' and 'How to Stay on Top' are just genius - (Diary of a Wimpy Eventer, check her out on facebook if you haven't read these bibles of brilliance!). She can do it, she can translate how she feels into words, writes them down in a way that makes us nod our heads in agreement (usually laughing too), and then comes up with a solution to these 'confidence' issues. See, contrary to seemingly popular belief in the area that I have completely lost my bottle and am frightened to ride my horse... i'm not. I'm not frightened of being on my horse, or any other horse. I don't 'feel the fear and ride anyway' as Victoria would say....
So what's the issue and why am I wondering if I can still do it? What even is the it?
I'm not scared, well no more scared that I have been since having my children and getting a bit older. I've never been particularly 'brave'. I've always been pretty good at staying on something if it has a paddy and that has never worried me in the slightest but I'm not brave when it comes to jumping big things... (drag hunting not included here, adrenalin takes over and it's usually aided by a few large ports... ah hem.)  I have a beautiful horse, gifted to me by the most inspirational, kind women that I have every had the pleasure of calling my friend. He's beautiful inside and out and naturally talented. So what's the problem? 
The bridge incident came with a whole load of issues that I don't think I was very good at making people understand. I felt ill, really ill. I hurt, more than normal, I couldn't hear, my head continually felt like I was underwater yet every time water went on my face and I shut my eyes i'd have this horrible flashback. In fact, every time I shut my eyes I'd have that horrible flashback again. I dreamt about it every night, I was so bloody tired! And then there was the guilt. It doesn't matter how many times people say 'it was one of those things', 'it was an accident', it doesn't change how I felt inside. I'd done this to this beautiful trusting horse. I'd asked him to go and he had.  I could have very easily left two children without their mother. In my head I had made a bad judgement call and it ate away at me for a long time. How could I be responsible for other peoples safety when i'd let this happen? At the time I was 'Field Master' so responsible for the whole mounted field - (there was only one other person left out with me that day when it happened). 
Then the gossip started, 'she's a drama queen'... 'she should have just put the horse down'.....it was endless. People just wanted me to be normal...I just wanted to be normal! But I didn't feel normal at all. The harder I tried to feel normal the less normal I felt. I was at the limit of what I could cope with. I was tearful, run down, tired, everyday was dealing with 5 horses, 6 hound puppies, Tick Tock's Injury, broken ribs...not forgetting I'm a mother to a 9 year old and a 5 year old and I'm also self employed, I didn't want a medal - I just wanted to be left alone and not be hassled to 'get back out there' and 'get back to normal'. 
I knew I was starting to visit a place in my own head where I had never been before. It wasn't a nice place particularly. I read a quote about being 'Out in the Wilderness'..... It's ok to go there, just don't unpack and stay. I was definitely in that wilderness. I wanted to give up the horses, I didn't want to see anyone - other than Tick Tock's Vet and Nurse who were just incredible the whole way through, I didn't want to work, I didn't want to leave the house. I felt like I was being continually judged and criticized. Facebook was plastered with how good the new Field Master was and how much better it all was now....it hurt and I didn't want to see it anymore.
My husband bought me a puppy for Christmas. Ebony, my own black dog. I was suddenly distracted with something else...mainly piles of dog turd and puddles of wee around the house...but it gave me another focus. When you're down and not in a good place, it's really hard to see the light even when you have so much light to see. If you just hide away, then nothing else bad can happen to you can it... there won't be anything more to have to cope with because you're not putting yourself in that position again. I'm very lucky, I have a very supportive husband and two healthy kids, a beautiful house and two lovely horses. I also have the very best of friends, and a sister who is like another part of me. So so what if all I do is hack out for the rest of my life? Who really cares anyway...
I do. 
See i'm not ready to let this be it. I have aims and ambitions and dreams that I still want to strive for. Yes i'm going to have to accept that people are going to gossip and criticize and think they could do better (I don't doubt that they could). Yes there is going to be setbacks and it isn't going to be plain sailing. Yes something bad might happen again, but I've got through it once and i'll get through it again. It's time to be thankful that things weren't worse than they were and get my Badminton Grassroots plan back on track....... 
Stay focused and extra sparkly
Liz xxxx
Tick Tock Autumn Hunting
Tick Tock in the Autumn a few weeks before the accident
Ebony Park
Ebony Park
Me in hospital
Letting everyone know I was ok...cold, but ok!

4 comments


  • I echo Nicky and Barbara. Be proud of who you are and all you have achieved. Stand tall and sparkle my beautiful friend. Xxx

    Katherine Gaston on

  • You go girl. I’ve been there in many ways. You’re going to get through it. You’re right. It’s not s good place to stay. Take care of you and yours and the important ones will be there for you. The others? Out of your control and, frankly, not worth bothering about. Xx Lizzi

    Lizzi Thompson / Lizzi Tremayne on

  • You were one of those who was there for me after my own accident, even taking my horses in after my livery yard couldn’t even be bothered to ask after my welfare, let alone look after my horses – and that despite the fact that my accident happened on their land.
    I am not surprised you have had ‘guilt’ issues since your accident, that is normal when you have responsibilities. People say ‘you are strong, you will get though it’, but sometimes it takes more than just being strong. It takes support from those around you. You know I’ll always be here for you xxx

    Nikky on

  • You are the most kindest, loyal, confident person I know and value your opinion on everything. We all have knock backs from time to time, but you have had more than most, but you are on your way to a brighter future with genuine friends who want you to succeed in work and pleasure. You will get there Liz and I’m always here to help when ever you want me too.xx

    Barbara Richmond on

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