I would like to do NaNoWriMo one year. But preferably one year where November didn’t fall in the winter and before Christmas. I do know someone who has SAD and still does NaNoWriMo, but honestly I usually find November a difficult month just to get up, get dressed and get washed in. Add to that the necessity of going to work, being responsible for my horse and occasionally spending time with my husband, it’s just not feasible for me to commit time in bulk to something that doesn’t have to be done. Also there’s the physical strain of bashing out 2,000-3.000 words a day – that’s quite a lot of typing to add to your usual output and I’d have to manage my RSI very carefully to avoid a flare-up. My desk at work has excellent ergonomics, with a split and tented keyboard and a tracker ball mouse as well as a conventional one (I swap between the two mice regularly) but our home office is, well, a compromise. Mr S is used to standard equipment and a certain desk set up. Things that suit me he finds unusable and vice versa. Were I to do NaNoWriMo I’d either have to stay at work late to do my words or invest in a new keyboard, chair and possibly even desk for the home office. So although in principle it’s something I’d like to try, I’m not sure I’ll ever do it.
I would also like to do No stirrups November, which I first heard about here a few days ago. But I don’t feel it’s right for me this year. Since I’ve been seeing a chiropractor I have been taking away my stirrups occasionally and it is much easier now my psoas aren’t locked up tight, but I still find it really hard to sit the trot. And when I get bounce, he goes faster, so the bouncing gets worse and he goes faster still. Cue vicious circle. At some point I have to grab the saddle to drag myself into it to stop the bouncing which means I have to lengthen the reins, lose contact and hence lose steering and brakes. Clearly we are not ready for a month without stirrups. I haven’t even tried to canter him without stirrups yet because when he comes out of canter he goes into rocket-trot and I would be on the floor. My sitting trot will have to get considerably better before I could think about cantering without stirrups.
I read about No stirrups November on Thursday lunchtime. I had a half-hour lesson on Thursday night after which I still had quite a bit of energy left. Mine was the last lesson so the school was free and I thought it would be good to cross my stirrups and have a go. As we were in the indoor school I could check my position in the mirrors and as we were alone I didn’t have to worry about annoying anyone if I lost brakes or steering. As usual, I found my sitting trot attempts tipped me forward, off-balance, but I kept resetting myself and trying again, getting moments where I felt that I might be doing OK in between the moments when I wasn’t. On lesson horses in the past I had found rising without stirrups easier than sitting, so although I’d not had much success with that on D, I gave it a go. With the help of the mirrors I could see where my position was hindering me and was able to get some decent rising trot going and try rising for a bit then sitting for a bit. D seemed OK with this plan so we continued. It was markedly easier when we were on his happy left-rein than on the right, but I kept trying to work both, having the occasional flashes of feeling like we were getting somewhere. I realised afterwards that we did about 30 min without stirrups and without him getting too upset or me falling off or having any near misses. Pretty good huh? I also realised that my core was so exhausted I could barely coordinate my limbs to walk across the yard! I was also too sore to ride the next day!
All in all it was a positive experience and I’m hopeful that next year I’ll be able to do No-stirrups November. Whether I’d do it sponsored or just for myself I don’t know. If I do it sponsored I’ll probably do it for a charity of my choice rather than the official one because I’d rather support a UK run charity. I might choose LUCIA, a charity founded and run by people I work with. If I gave them even just a penny I know that penny would be used to make a difference. So how much better would it be if I gave them more? If I keep working away without stirrups little and often then by next November maybe I’ll be able to do this.
It might be fairly obvious why I’m not doing Movember, so I won’t bother to explain it, nor say that I’d like to do it one year. I’m sort of glad I can’t. But someone else I know has been growing his mo for Movember…
It is more difficult than you might suppose to get a decent picture of a horse’s moustache. It took me a lot of work and a silly number of deleted shots to get these!