Road to the 2020 Real Rider Cup: Keep On Keeping On

Melissa Bauer-Herzog, above, as been cleared to ride again but lessons have been halted because of coronavirus. (Melissa Bauer-Herzog/America's Best Racing)

Supporting Thoroughbred aftercare, The Real Rider Cup brings riders together from all facets of the Thoroughbred industry to raise funds for aftercare. America’s Best Racing writer Melissa Bauer-Herzog is currently training for the event and is documenting her training up to the show.

What an absolute decade it has been since I left you last. In my February blog, I discussed some of the physical challenges I’m running up against. I won’t lie, that was a hard blog to write.

After the blog, I discussed my issues with people who know my case and the decision was made to change my medication. While it may sound like a bit of a surprising move to change medication just to ride, looking back over the previous six months we connected the dots and realized that part of the issues I’m having in my everyday life probably was due to the medication I’d been put on late last summer.

It was advised that I take a few weeks off riding while making the change just in case there were problems that affected my balance, muscles, and everything else my body can throw at me. So yet again, I was grounded. While it was definitely less than ideal, it also gave me time to strengthen and work on flexibility (Amazon Prime yoga classes for the win!)

In a very ironic twist. I was cleared to ride again late last week … and then everything shut down. While many barns are still open, I’ve been put under semi-house arrest due to a weakened immune system, which means no lessons for me. The only leaving I do is to go to my foal watch shift where I only interact with two other people, so it’s been deemed safe.

While all this downtime and a potential change to racing schedules in September are providing challenges toward getting to this year’s Real Rider Cup, as my grandma said: “you just have to keep on keeping on.”

So far, this journey has taught me a lot about myself, my mental fortitude, and even the weaknesses I need to improve upon, so it has been a win even for losing.

Like most of the world right now, I can’t tell you what the coming months hold. But the good thing about all of this is that it’s giving me a chance to continue working on my fitness, which will only help me when I get back into the saddle.

With my body doing better now than it has during any other point in this journey and the mental block that went up with my issues (hopefully) removed, I can’t wait to get back in the saddle … whenever that may be!

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