Hi! My name is Cecelia and...

I’m not your average equestrian. I took my first riding lesson at 22 and never looked back.

As I began to learn more about riding I realized that if I wanted to be competitive and expected my horse to be competitive, I had to be just as much of an athlete as he was.

At the time of my first lesson, I was in college, working full time, helping to care for my handicapped brother, and overweight. I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect and an overachiever that I developed a stomach ulcer, disordered eating, and destroyed my metabolism. I began having panic attacks and anxiety issues that cut me off from the world. This lead to developing early signs of PCOS and Hypothyroidism. A scary combo which meant that I was at risk for clinical depression, my hormone levels were out of balance, and my likelihood of obesity was extremely high.

My outlook changed when I sat down one day and read a quote that read, “What would you change about yourself if anything were possible?”

My answer was a quick, “Everything.” At the time I could not name a single thing about myself and my life that I wouldn’t want to change if I could. Especially things about my physical appearance and health. (See the eating disorder talking here?)

The first thing I did was get a trainer and start working out and I lost 65 pounds in less than a year. Amazing right?!

The only problem was I didn’t think about what had caused the weight gain. I didn’t want to change my eating and God help me if I had to cook. The biggest issue was my negative mental energy. I didn’t want to admit that I had a problem and that I needed help to fix the internal issues before I could learn to love the externals.

So in two years, I put back on those 65 pounds… and 20 more.

When I saw my scale hit my college graduation weight and keep going, my riding performance tanked. I had lost my core strength, my balance was off, my flexibility was terrible, and my back and knees were crunching every single day. I hated that I couldn’t ride as well as I had two years earlier when I could barely steer my way through and Intro Level test. Cue the negative mental energy.

Riding became a circle of self-hate and frustration. I blamed myself for everything that went wrong and I focused on every negative, real and imagined. I hated even going to the barn. I wanted to quit riding, quit horses, and just go back to my college ways of binge eating peanut butter, reading books alone in my room, and cutting myself off from the world.

Deep down I didn’t want to picture my life without horses. I loved the way I felt when I was healthier, stronger, and more self-confident. I knew there was a different option for me. I had gone running back to my old negative patterns once and I knew I couldn’t do it again.

I committed to change my nutrition, to address my disordered eating, get with a fitness program that worked for me, and make REAL and LASTING lifestyle changes.

With the help and support of my accountability partners, group therapy attendees, mental retraining, improved nutrition, and a reconnection with horses I started to turn my life around.

I began healing my mental wounds and started fueling my body with positive energy, instead of the negativity and fear that had been my focus.

I can’t say I’ve finished my journey because every day presents new challenges and new opportunities for success.

I can say that my entire mental outlook has changed and that I see the world around me with new eyes. Every day is a new opportunity to get a little brighter and closer to my goal of a holistically healthy life.