Piper and Michael Tokaruk speak with Lyn Pedersen about her incredible story of riding, recovery and giving back that we featured as the cover story of the January 2023 issue of The Plaid Horse magazine. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!
GUESTS AND LINKS EPISODE 321:
- Host: Piper Klemm, Publisher of The Plaid Horse and Michael Tokaruk
- Guest: Lyn Pedersen has been riding since she was 10 years old, from ponies to the Junior Hunters and equitation, to the Amateur Owner Hunter division. Lyn has also been sober for 24 years and spent a large part of that time earning her degree in social work and helping others who suffer from substance use disorders. Lyn currently works as a sober coach, intensive case manager and interventionist.
- Lyn Pedersen Recovery
- Title Sponsor: Taylor, Harris Insurance Services (THIS) was founded in 1987 to provide specialized insurance for all types of equine risk. THIS places their policies with the highest rated and most secure carriers, meticulously selected for reliability and prompt claims settlement. THIS is proud of their worldwide reputation for responsive and courteous service, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your equine insurance needs and provide you with a quote.
- Photo Credit: Lyn Pedersen, January 2023 The Plaid Horse Magazine
- Subscribe To: The Plaid Horse Magazine
- Sponsors: Purina Animal Nutrition, America Cryo, Saddlery Brands International, BoneKare, Alexis Kletjian Jewelry, Show Strides Book Series, Online Equestrian College Courses, With Purpose: The Balmoral Standard, and American Equestrian School
This transcript was generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.
Piper Klemm [00:00:34] This is the Plaidcast. I’m Piper Klemm, publisher of The Plaid Horse Magazine. And coming up today on episode 321, I’m joined by co-host Michael Tokaruk week of Tokaruk Show Stables. And I’m going to speak to Lyn Pedersen about her incredible story that we featured as the cover of the January 2023 issue of The Plaid Horse Magazine about Lyn Pedersen and her journey helping equestrians into recovery from alcohol addiction and abuse. Welcome back to the plaidcast, Michael.
Michael Tokaruk [00:01:10] Hi Piper. Thanks for having me.
Piper Klemm [00:01:13] So you have two exciting things recently I hope that you’ll tell us about. Number one is you recently took a bunch of horses to the new Terranova equestrian facility, which I can’t wait to hear about. And then number two, you did the great charity challenge in Wellington this weekend. And and it looked really exciting and got all dressed up.
Michael Tokaruk [00:01:35] But I got dressed up that that is a fact. And yeah, they were both awesome experiences and very, very different. So I guess first off, the great charity challenge on Saturday night was an absolute blast. I had been asked to do it a few times but never really had a horse to do it on. And this year I had a horse and an amazing team of young ladies that are super fast competitive riders. And one of their mothers, actually both of their mothers were very into the costumes. So once I agreed to do it, the theme of the costumes this year was candies, and we were team Skittles. So once I agreed to do it, they decided I needed to wear a rainbow tuxedo for Taste the Rainbow, and I somehow agreed to it and then immediately kind of regretted that decision. But, you know, it’s a fun time and it’s for charity. So I embraced it and rocked it. And let me tell you. Miss Holly, who is Hayley, one of the riders, mothers, she she went all out on these costumes and between her and Stacey and Hayley and Riley, our teammates, and their parents and Abby, their trainer and Stephanie. I mean, it was just an amazing group. And the horses were all decked out. The girls had, like, sequins, sparkly capes of all different colors that, you know, some of the other horses were a little unsure of. What the heck is that? But it was a blast, you know, and what a fun night. And it was great, to be a part of it. And yeah, we got some a lot of money raised for some really good causes. And yeah, I would absolutely do it again. And I was I was so happy to do it.
Piper Klemm [00:03:47] Yeah, there was over $1.7 million raised for local charities. So. So that’s amazing. So I’m always curious on this stuff, like, did you get dressed and like walk out into the school ring and jump your first jump, or did you like to do a practice jump or two at home to see how your horse would react to all of it?
Michael Tokaruk [00:04:07] Well, so I rode one of my Grand Prix horses that I, I know him very well, and I knew he’d be fine. Like he is very strong willed and not a spooky horse. And he doesn’t get fazed by too much. And if he ever does, he’s just lying. Because I know he’s not actually scared of anything. And it was a little bit weird because this past week at WEF I was judging, so I didn’t really get a chance to to ride him at all. I did also clear it with show management to make sure it was fine that I could compete in this charity jumper class on Saturday night during the week that I was judging. And that was all fine. There was no conflicts or anything, but I was judging right up until almost 5:00 on Saturday, and I tried the rainbow suit on the night before for the first time myself. But I, I really I didn’t see the costumes that the girls had or that the horses had until, you know, basically we were we were headed up there to, you know, check in and then walk the course. So I zipped back to the barn. After I was finished judging, I threw on my clown costume. And of course, there’s people are giving me a hard time like, oh, there’s a clown loose roaming around the barn, you know? And I had a rainbow mohawk that that went over top of my helmet, you know, the pants went over my boots. It was a legit, like, three piece suit, like not just a jacket and pants. So the vest part was was awesome. I put my safety vest on top and then put the rainbow vest on top of the safety vest. So it all all kind of matched like it was. It was something. And, you know, I have to say, they do a really good job of, you know, because everybody’s decked out in these crazy outfits and costumes they have you start warming up and sliding around in the Rost schooling area, which is this schooling area next door to the international schooling. And then when it’s your time to jump, they bring, you know, maybe two teams, max at a time into to jump. So that was the first time I’d ridden the horse when, you know, when I had the costume on. And I, I will say I had to take my rainbow Mohawk off to get on. And then I put it back on after I was on top of him. And, you know, he he caught a glimpse of the shiny sparkly capes a few times and didn’t love them. But I mean, you just keep your distance and I’ve ridden way trafficy, horses are way worse horses that are spooken out about this or that or whatever. So it was it was no big deal. And, you know, we went in the ring and gave it a shot and we didn’t win. I think we were middle of the pack, but we won for best horse costume, I think. And, you know, I had a really good time, so raised a good bit of money. And yeah, it was all all for a great cause or great causes.
Piper Klemm [00:07:23] Yeah. And I think even like the the middle of the pack ones who were still raising around $40,000 for their for their local charity, which is amazing.
Michael Tokaruk [00:07:33] Right. That’s about what we raised. And that’s I mean that’s a lot of money.
Piper Klemm [00:07:39] Absolutely so. So that’s amazing. I always think it’s so much fun. Not that anyone ever asked us to dress up, but like one year we did the the Pineapple Pony Finals. And it was it was so much but it just added this extra layer of, you know, camaraderie. And and I love that they do those classes in Wellington and that people take them seriously and enjoy them for what they are. So let’s shift over to north. Northwestern, northern and western in the state that you went to Terranova last week to show with a couple horses. So that’s about 3 hours from Wellington. Sam Perot said he can make it in two and a half, but that seems like he is driving like he jumps off.
Michael Tokaruk [00:08:30] I hope he’s not trying to do that with horses in that fast a drive. But but yeah, it’s so from Wellington it’s pretty much west and then you go a little bit north once you get to the other side of the state. So it’s still, I don’t know, maybe central ish Florida, close to Tampa area. It is in the Sarasota area. But it it’s you know, it’s not really in Sarasota, it’s it’s out in the country a bit. So that’s probably the only downside of the show. But, you know, the growth and the expansion in Florida in general, it’s not going to be long until there is a lot near it. But but for the moment, it’s a bit of a drive. But I tell you, once you are there, it is unbelievable. I mean, they have I heard two or 3000 acres of property and it is beautiful property. They have massive cross-country track and fields and trails. The rings are absolutely fantastic footing, beautiful, huge schooling areas, huge shell rings. The pavilion in between the rings is gorgeous. The barns are the nicest barns I have ever seen at a horse show in my life. I mean, and I’ve been going to shows my entire life. And, you know, we have had some incredible facilities built over the last decade in this country. And those have excellent, excellent stabling. These are the nicest I mean, it is just unbelievable how tall they are, the ventilation, the stalls, the permanent fans, the soft cushioned rubber flooring that’s like memory foam, the electrical outlets, the permanent fixtures, for cross ties, for buckets, the stall fronts and doors with every thoughtful detail you could imagine, the massive, you know, 90 inch flat screen TVs at either end of the aisle that you can watch the live stream as it’s happening. The bathrooms are beautiful. It is. It is another level. And the horses are happy. There’s grass, there’s space. It’s peaceful. I mean, it just and Split Rock does a beautiful job. They really run a very, very nice horse show with excellent jumps and course builders. And that weekend we went because of the all the 100,000 finals. So this is something we’ve been kind of targeting for, you know, really ever since they announced them last year. And so it was just a just a great field trip, a nice change of pace from the stress and hustle and bustle of Wellington. And I just went over there with five horses myself and I would absolutely go back. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to do it and when. But I am a huge fan of those horse shows for sure.
Piper Klemm [00:11:49] And then you touched on it. But you you judged in Wellington last week. What did you what did you think of your week? You know, judging and what you saw in the horses and everything for this year in Wellington.
Michael Tokaruk [00:12:05] Well, good question. It was it was a lot of fun. I’m I’m always in a variety of rings and get to see lots of, you know, really nice horses and really nice rounds. You know, I gave away plenty of of high scores. I got to do the International Derby again, which was they really do a nice job. It’s a hunt and go in the international ring. So that’s always a fun class. Did some equitation. It was a very strong group in the talent search in the Denemethy Children’s Hunters Adults, a few ponies in the USHJA. I did that one day and it was busy. A lot of rounds in all the rings, but that is such a well-oiled machine. They keep things moving. The in-gates are great and you know, it’s I will say it’s tough. These under saddles down here are very difficult to judge because you have so many good movers. And I mean, it’s on any given day, there’s about ten horses that could win the under saddle, if not 15 horses. So those get really difficult when you have so many good movers in in a lot of these divisions. But it’s a lot of fun. You know, it’s really fun seeing great quality horses and rounds and you’re splitting hairs on jumping style. And it was fun to sit with some different judges that I hadn’t sat with before. And, you know, it’s it’s a nice change of pace as well to just have a week to to sit in the booth and and judge here, but still be able to come home and ride a few horses if I’ve got time at the end of the day or, you know, keep things going at the barn, which isn’t the case the rest of the year because, you know, I’m usually judging somewhere else other than the home or where I am at that time. So I, I love it down here. And judging is a nice week for sure.
Piper Klemm [00:14:16] Yeah, it’s the quality across the board is just so high right now. And, and I think so many people are very educated and understand what we’re looking for. But it also makes these classes like so much, you know, closer in competition than I think they’ve ever been.
Michael Tokaruk [00:14:32] For sure. And I think, you know, at WEF they’ve kind of gone back and forth with the scoring and not scoring, you know, and I know we’ve talked about it before, but I do think in general, everybody or most people want scores, they want some type of feedback, and that’s great. I’m all for having more transparency in judging and, you know, giving people something to take away from the round, not just, well, the judge liked me or they didn’t like me or I was, you know, 6th or no ribbon or first or, you know, these these sorts of things. So, you know, I think in general, you know, you give away a lot of good scores. And in some classes, you know, even in the eighties doesn’t get you a ribbon, depending on how big the classes and how good the rounds were. But I think it’s just a reflection of, you know, the quality of horses at WEF and the quantity of horses at WEF. So it it can make a judge’s life very difficult because really your number one job is to order the class and to get the results in the right order. But then when you have to assign a number to that and that number and that, you know, you’re you’re grading things on a curve, every class has a different curve to it based on, you know, who sets the bar early on and your first horse in the ring can have a big effect on, you know, what the scores are for that class. So it’s you know, it’s such a balance between getting it in the right order, but then also getting the scores as right as you can in every class, in every division. So it’s it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge at every show, but especially at WEF with the number and the quality you see there.
Piper Klemm [00:16:32] All right. And and what do you have to look forward to? You never stay still for long. Coming up in the next few weeks for for you all.
Michael Tokaruk [00:16:42] Well, we’re just we’re here. We’re going to do more horse showing. We’re here another few months, and I’m excited to get back on and ride some more horses. We’ve got some interesting new horses and someone’s that I either own or we’ve bought with customers and sale horses or green horses that we’re bringing along. So some of those are getting made up and more ready to to make their debuts. So I’m excited about that. And then some students will be showing in really all levels of the the divisions in the jumper ring especially, but some adults equitation and some children’s junior hunters, that type of thing. So yeah that’s that’s kind of what we’re up to if we can get back over to to TerraNova or. I do always love going to Venice. If we can make one of those field trips work in the next month or two, I’d love to do that. But it does get difficult when you’re entrenched with the, you know, your barn and lots of horses here in Wellington. But it’s that could be on the agenda as well. And how about you? You’ve been showing up in Chicago and how’s it been going?
Piper Klemm [00:18:00] Yeah, I got I got one Ledges in in January and Rueben was great. And then I went out this past weekend and he did not feel like horse showing. So he wasn’t 100%. So he was yeah, he was just he was a little dull and uninterested and, you know, things that lots of words that might describe other people’s hunters, but not him.
Michael Tokaruk [00:18:25] No.
Piper Klemm [00:18:27] So he’s he’s pretty excited and pretty curious and pretty game all the time. And he just wasn’t himself so taken some time to make sure that he’s he’s back on track. There is a big, big temperature swing. It was like almost -30 and then it was almost 40 pretty like within 24, 36 hours.
Michael Tokaruk [00:18:48] Oh, wow.
Piper Klemm [00:18:49] Yeah. And he he runs hot and he always struggles a little bit in general. And so, yeah, getting I think getting to ledges, being so cold and getting to ledges and, you know, I think he just got out of sorts. So hopefully it’s something just minor but.
Michael Tokaruk [00:19:07] Right.
Piper Klemm [00:19:08] Given him some time and then and then yeah I maybe starting to do taco, Taco has been doing Ledges all winter in the Ledges schooling ring and nothing says I’m getting over my traffic issue by spending the winter the Ledges schooling ring.
Michael Tokaruk [00:19:26] Amen to that. So I have a Ledges schooling area not good story. When I first moved to the United States, we moved to Illinois and I rode some with Greg Franklin and Diane Carney and Canterbury Farm, and we would go to the indoor shows in the wintertime and in Illinois, and we went to Ledges and my mom was in the schooling area and it just was really tight, really congested. And I mean, she got run down by a horse and thankfully she was okay. You know, the medic checked her out. But it’s just I mean, you know, you really need to be careful about traffic at any indoor show. But especially, you know, they are when it gets busy and there’s a lot of horses in there. And I, I did really enjoy that show otherwise. But that was not fun and it was tough. And thankfully, my mom is even tougher and she was fine. But that was you know, that can be difficult. And if you’ve got a trafficy horse like yours is, that’s a challenge for a rider, for sure.
Piper Klemm [00:20:42] Yeah, and it is a tight space and I think that lends so much skill building. And you know, you can, you can tell in Wellington which riders started doing the jumpers, in the indoor at ledges for sure.
Michael Tokaruk [00:20:56] Right.
Piper Klemm [00:20:57] Yeah. No, the list of Olympians is crazy that, that have come out of that area. And I think it is, you know, from learning to manage that track in that ring and that technicality.
Michael Tokaruk [00:21:11] You know, it was it was funny, actually, cause Charlie Jane went to Terra Nova for the split Rock finals and Caitlin Lahey, and they were asking me if I was going in and I was like, Yeah, I’m going. But sorry, there’s I was joking. You know, there’s no Chicago riders that are allowed there. You guys are too fast. But we we can’t have you there. And sure enough, Kaitlyn won one of the 100,000 finals. And I know Charlie did well with this horses. So it’s it’s a really good group up there. And, you know, if you can’t make it to Florida, those are good alternatives to go horse show between there St Louis, WEC Ohio. You know, there are plenty of of good indoor shows and options that I certainly have done in the past and would be happy to do in the future. But I’m for sure grateful to to be in Florida.
Piper Klemm [00:22:11] Yep. Yeah. So. Yeah. So I’m going out to Thermal next week. I was in Wellington visiting last weekend, so just kind of having a little different winter bouncing all around this year. And thankfully, aside from the last week or so, the winters been mild enough that I haven’t had too many flights canceled. That’s normally why I don’t do this quite as much.
Michael Tokaruk [00:22:32] Oh, no kidding. And it I mean, the airports are just a mess between flights getting canceled and TSA and spy balloons flying over our country. It is it’s an interesting time for aviation.
Piper Klemm [00:22:47] For sure. And yeah, I think we hit -28 or -29 at my house last week.
Michael Tokaruk [00:22:53] What do you even do in that? I mean, I just feel for you. I feel for the horses. That’s just bitter, bitter cold, huh?
Piper Klemm [00:23:04] Yep, yep, yep. So but yeah, it it swung back out of that quickly, so. Yep. The year we moved here, the second the first year we moved here, it hit -40. And it was the coldest winter, like on record in like, 20 years. And then the second year we lived here at our house. It went 20 straight days. At no point in the day or night did it get get above minus ten at any point in the day or night for 20 straight days.
Michael Tokaruk [00:23:31] Oh, my gosh. I mean, I, I give you some serious credit, but that is just that’s that’s miserable. And I mean, I grew up in Canada, so I was used to the cold, but I swear it was colder when we when we moved to Illinois, I swear it was colder there than where we lived in Canada. Just because the wind chill I mean, the wind just can rip right through you. And it really makes it hard to want to do anything, you know, never mind, ride and keep going. So I give a lot of credit to all the Winter Warriors that are out there. I’ve I’ve been there, I’ve done it. I’ve had to ride with the, you know, the earmuffs on under your helmet or the headband and big heavy gloves and, you know, three layers of socks and long underwear. And, you know, we never had heated indoors or anything like that. And you’re walking your horse from the barn over to the to the indoor ring through a foot of snow and picking their feet out because they’ve got snowballs in their hooves. It’s just it’s just you know, you figure out a way, you’ve got to do what you got to do. But man, it is it is not fun when it’s that cold, that’s for sure.
Piper Klemm [00:24:48] Yeah, I remember. Speaking of snowballs, I remember a big horsemanship quiz challenge finals one year and they asked the girl from California, What do you do to prevent snow for building up in your horses hooves? And thankfully, she was she was a well, well studied, well rehearsed youth. Because I was like, that’s not something you see in California much.
Michael Tokaruk [00:25:10] Right? Oh, man. I mean, my answer would be like, you just don’t ride them in the snow or you go somewhere that’s not snowing. But I know that’s not reality for everybody. So I’m I’m glad that horses and horse owners are able to to do their best and keep it going. And you know what? The winter is going by quickly and it’s not going to be long before we’re, you know, everything’s thawing out and we’re complaining about how hot it is again. So.
Piper Klemm [00:25:38] Yeah. And for those of you here who are curious, it’s you can put Crisco or Pam cooking spray in their hooves and the snow will fall off.
Michael Tokaruk [00:25:48] Oh, there you go. That’s interesting. You know that there are some of these horse shows that you go to that the footing really clumps into their hooves. I wonder if that would help with that as well.
Piper Klemm [00:26:01] That’s kind of interesting, actually. I never thought about that. But yeah, I mean, Reuben being barefoot, he he comes out of the overfences like, on stilts at some of these facilities, cause so much digs in on his feet.
Michael Tokaruk [00:26:14] Huh? Well, maybe it’s worth giving it a try, because if it can keep snow off, that maybe can help just sort of, you know, let this footing that can clump up slide off as well. Give it a try!
Piper Klemm [00:26:26] Yeah. Let us know, write in if you try it! See if it works! We’re going to take a quick break here and be back with our guest, Lyn Pedersen. In this interview, we will be discussing addiction and interventions and changes of behavior within the equestrian industry. I don’t think there’s anything radical, but if you don’t want children listening to this episode, that is your prerogative. And please shut this episode off now.
Piper Klemm [00:28:05] Lyn Pedersen has been riding since she was ten years old. From ponies to the junior hunters and equitation to the amateur owner Hunter Division. Lyn has also been sober for 24 years and spent a large part of that time earning her degree in social work and then helping others who suffer from substance use disorders. Lyn currently works as a sober host, intensive case manager and interventionist. Welcome to the Plaidcast, Lyn.
Lyn Pedersen [00:29:24] Thank you. It’s great to be here.
Piper Klemm [00:29:26] I loved your story in the in the January issue of the Plaid Horse Magazine, and I thought it talked about so many important things and I had so many people discuss it with me, which was fascinating. Can you talk a little bit to us about about our sport and our lifestyle and, you know, and how it kind of lends itself to almost normalizing, wanting to have addictive behaviors?
Lyn Pedersen [00:29:56] Sure. You know, there are so many aspects of society today that. Support. You know, excess, drinking to excess, doing drugs to excess. You know, I know, like the country club scene is very much in support of people having a lot of cocktails. And it. I talked to a lot of people from that scene who are now concerned about their drinking. And it’s the same. I’ve always thought that the riding industry in general is has all the pieces to support or be in allowance of a person who has maybe either problem drinking or a substance use disorder full on. Some of the things that I always call it summer camp. You know, I get to go see all my friends and it’s like every horse show. It’s kind of like the first time you’ve seen them in a while and everybody’s excited to see each other. And so there is a sense of celebratory kind of reunions at each of the horse shows. But it also is there’s so much about it that. Wouldn’t be tolerated in normal business. And I think that’s because it’s transient. It’s kind of like the circus comes to town and then it leaves and whatever. Drinking and partying, quote unquote, happens is kind of forgotten until the next time everybody gets together. And when I was drinking, I remember, you know, I was with different people every night that I went out. So I always thought that it was normal for me to be out because I was always with people every night. But when I look back now, I can see that it was different people every night. And. So it might have been there one night to kind of, you know, load up and party. But I was doing it every night with different people. So there’s two things that happened there. On the one hand, it makes it feel like, well, everybody else is drinking and, you know, maybe go into excess because I’m always with people. But the flipside of that is that not everybody is going out as many nights in a row as one might think. Being a person who does that and I I’m not. Here to judge anybody who does that. But I think it can lend itself to a little bit of denial about excess. And the horse shows are all about, you know, getting together with everybody for dinners. There’s a lot of fundraising events. There’s a lot of high functioning, competitive Type A people in the industry, which in my opinion, often leads to drinking or doing drugs to cope because you’re so stressed out all the time. Type-A people, super competitive people, put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We’re never as perfect as we want to be. There’s always something better in riding, especially like you’re only as good as your last class, Like you can win all four classes and then the fifth class, you make a mistake and that’s all you remember from the show. So there’s a lot of self disappointment, you know, not feeling good enough. So I think that many of the people in the horse industry put a lot of pressure on themselves because of the transitory kind of party like lifestyle that comes with. The horse show world. And the stresses that are there. I think if you’re inclined to have a problem with excess drinking or doing drugs, then it is exacerbated by that sport. I also think that, you know, people go to the horse shows, they have a ton of fun, they maybe do some stupid things or some damage, but then everybody goes back to their barns and then they’re immune from any of the consequences of that. So it has both a very small world social aspect and the isolation aspect. And I think both of those can lend themselves to not recognizing. A problem or. Or becoming a problem. Right. Both ways.
Piper Klemm [00:35:11] So you lived this, and then 24 years ago, you decided to become sober. And then now you’ve spent much of the last years in that time helping other people explore sobriety, get into rehab, doing interventions, all of these layers of this. One of the things I thought that was so interesting that you said when we talked earlier was about how so many people who have an addiction, view it as taking something away from you or taking away alcohol or taking away something. Whereas you view it as all of the things you’re gaining. And it was such a different perspective shift for me thinking about it. And so can you talk a little bit about all of the things that there are to gain by by being sober and being able to be present?
Lyn Pedersen [00:36:10] Absolutely. I couldn’t imagine my life without planning parties going to parties, recovering from parties without alcohol because. Alcohol became for me, the event. Instead of having cocktails at an event, the drinking was the event for me. So I tended to always be drawn to any activities that involved, you know, getting loaded or drinking or normalizing. You know, I used to go to Jazz Fest. I used to go to, you know, anything that supported my lifestyle, which just basically became all about drugs and alcohol. And as the alcohol and drugs became more prominent in my life, my life got smaller and the things that I was passionate about became less important. So what ended up happening was instead of changing my behavior to fit my life, I changed my life to fit my behavior, which shifted the focus unknowingly for me on, you know, the drinking and the doing drugs. So, you know, everything else faded away. And my life became very small and I did not see that at all. One of the biggest parts of part and parcel of addiction is denial. And the idea that we can do this on our own, because everybody I know, most everybody I know in sobriety is very strong willed and has been able to overcome huge obstacles in their lives and kind of survivors, so to speak. But the one thing that is not about willpower is getting sober. It’s actually more about surrendering and accepting that you need help, which is not a strength. It’s not a strength for riders. It’s not a strength for addicts and alcoholics. So what I didn’t see was how much I was missing both physically, emotionally and actually for all three of those things because I was focused on, you know, and again, not really aware, but that was my like reason to be was you know, when’s the next party? I’m at a party. Am I missing another party that’s better? And I was never really happy. I used to say, oh, we had so much fun last night or the other night, and it really wasn’t that much fun. It was the idea that it was supposed to be fun. So switched to sobriety. I was actually laughing with a friend earlier this morning about how the days are very, very long when you first get sober and how I was like when I first got sober, I’m like, No wonder everybody else gets so much done during the day because I was kind of either half out of it or sleeping it off or hungover or whatever. You know, I wasn’t functioning at 100% most of the time, so. It’s awkward in the beginning to switch from actively using and drinking to being sober because you don’t really know what to do with all that free time. But as life goes on and you continue to stay sober, all that time is available to you to do the things that you never did. I also learned a lot in sobriety about how my perception to things is skewed and how my reaction to things was based on, you know, my perception. And so all of that was skewed. I participated in a 12 step program that helped me work the steps, and it helped me to identify, like the the causes, the processes that my brain went through when I perceive something and how my thinking is different than other people people’s. And once I was made aware of a very simple process of changing my perception and reaction to the world, everything changed. And so many of us are treating underlying issues like anxiety, depression, you know, stress. And often it starts out being, you know, a positive way to escape in the evenings, maybe a drink or a joint or whatever. But but then. And but then it becomes a way of living. And all the things that I thought I was treating weren’t really fixed by, you know, I was still anxious, I was still depressed, I was still using drugs. And drinking is a very short term solution for a long term problem. And the problem doesn’t go away. It’s just kick the can down the road a little bit. So. You know, there are other ways to treat these things that are more sustainable. And a lot of it went away when I stopped drinking and doing drugs. A lot of my anxiety, a lot of the depression, because most of the drugs that we do and alcohol are depressants. It might make you feel better for a moment, but it’s going to be a depressant on the back side. Also, if you’re drinking on a more regular basis, when you stop drinking, anxiety is going to shoot through the roof. A lot of people I work with have anxiety attacks or panic attacks, and those go away once the alcohol is peeled back. And then, you know, the new baseline still may need medical support, but generally speaking, a lot of the issues go away. The other thing that I learned was I was very, very uncomfortable in my skin and I didn’t see it at the time. But looking back on it, I can see how. Like my insides kind of rattled all the time. And when I had a drink or did some drugs, I could take a big deep breath and relax for the moment. But I never stopped at that, you know, It always ended up continuing on till it became a problem. And the problems in my life were a result of drinking and doing drugs. I wasn’t actually doing drugs and drinking to relieve the problems because more often than not, the problems became bigger. There’s more damage, there’s more wreckage caused. And I still am me. After all of that happens, I might have felt good for a little while, but then the remorse and grief and regret afterwards would add to whatever the original anxiety and depression was. So it’s kind of a it’s a cycle. You know, you don’t feel good about yourself or you don’t feel good. You drink, you feel better, you continue to drink or do drugs. And then, you know, you either say the wrong thing to people. You behave badly. You take risks. Risky behavior is a huge part of being a drunk and a drug addict. And all these things now have piled up. And the next day or the next week you’re having to deal with those as well as your discomfort in the first place. So it’s a cycle that doesn’t end until you get sober and and get in touch with the underlying issues.
Piper Klemm [00:44:56] We’re going to take a quick break here and be back with our guest.
Piper Klemm [00:46:24] So you talked a little bit about habits and stuff and it’s really interesting to me that like my husband has a lot of habits from having a very stationary life and that’s his nature. And I don’t have a lot of habits because, you know, I’m on the road all the time and going to horse shows and and kind of kind of what you’re talking about. But it’s it makes us very oddly susceptible to to the influence of other people. And kind of what you were talking about with the camp thing. There was one year at thermal specifically where where I hung out with different people than I normally do. And, you know, I started drinking as a habit. Like they drank every day at a certain time would come. They would all start drinking. And, you know, I was part of the group and you’re not going to unless you’re making a conscious decision, you’re not going to be the one not drinking when everyone else is. And it was amazing to me how how much over the eight weeks that year. Things changed for me and I had to come back from that. And I got home and stopped drinking and was able to turn things around. But it’s all the things you were talking about. It was I wasn’t comfortable with myself. I was uncomfortable where a lot of things were in my life and I didn’t want to face them and I didn’t want to own them. And, you know, I was hanging out with people that basically told me it was okay and that’s what I wanted to hear. And so I kept hanging out with them. Right. And it’s so interesting to me how, like, this stuff creeps up if you’re not vigilant. And after that year, it was very important to me to make a policy about drinking, because once I had a policy, I was like able to be like, No, I don’t drink. But it is like you walk around the horseshow at 10 a.m. and people will offer you drinks, and if you’re not thinking about it or just say, sure, that’s easy to just roll right into a problem.
Lyn Pedersen [00:48:25] Yes. Yes. And I think that there’s two different types. I always tell people the difference between a problem drinker and an actual alcoholic is that when a problem drinker stops drinking, they actually their life gets better because they don’t have all the underlying issues that most alcoholics have. When an alcoholic stops drinking, their life gets worse and more uncomfortable until they treat the underlying issues. So I find like somebody like yourself and the the example you just used, that’s you know, it became problem drinking and you were able to throttle back and control. The thing about alcoholics is that they are unable or we are unable to control and enjoy our drinking. So when I enjoy my drinking, I drink way too much. When I control my drinking, I’m not enjoying it because it’s uncomfortable and, you know, I want more. So that’s a big kind of self evaluating test that a person can do. Like if you have a couple of drinks, if you set an idea for how many drinks you want to have, how many times a week, and you’re able to stick to that like two, two drinks, you know, three times a week or three drinks twice a week. If you’re able to do that successfully, then it’s might have been more of a problem drinking an alcoholic can’t. Can’t do that, not do it and sustain it. You know, I used to quit drinking for Lent every year and I could do it. So it’s not you know, that was not proof that I wasn’t an alcoholic. It was actually proof that I was. Because a normal drinker doesn’t decide they have to quit. You know, normal drinker might want to you know, a normal drinker might want to, you know, control their drinking a little more or take a break. But I used to, you know, wave my flag like, well, I can’t be an alcoholic. I quit drinking for 40 days and I do it every year. But but, you know, on that 40th day, it was it was off to the races and. And also I want to say about alcoholism is the two descriptions for alcoholism or addiction that I really like are it’s either a radical change in personality when you drink or when you have your first drink. You can’t stop. I’ve heard also in sobriety that trouble didn’t always happen when I was drinking. But every time there was trouble, I had been drinking. So, you know, I’m putting these out there as little things for people. Two possibly little flags along the way for people to maybe recognize that some of these things apply to them. And I’m talking about all of this in the nature of the horse shows, because I want people. I want to give people the opportunity to recognize a potential problem and maybe. Uh, straighten the course a little bit. I want people to recognize that the way they are drinking or doing drugs might not be expansive to their lives, and they might want to look at it a little bit. I don’t want anybody to think that, you know, I think the whole horse show world has problems. But I do want people to recognize that the horse show world is not exempt from this. I want people in the horse show world to recognize that the lifestyle may contribute to behavior that wouldn’t otherwise be acceptable and to let them know that there is help and there is a better way to live. Because every single thing that I sought by drinking and doing drugs, I wanted to be cooler. I wanted to be more comfortable in my skin, you know. I used to say I’m 20 feet tall and lit up like a Christmas tree. You know, little lights hanging all over me was my fun thing to say to friends, you know, about the night before I was lit up like a Christmas tree. But what I perceived of myself and what people, other people perceived of me were two different things. And it’s not that attractive. It’s not that funny. And it’s not that appropriate as we may think. In our own minds. So it’s it’s an epidemic throughout the world, especially coexisting mental health disorders. You know, the nature of the world as it is right now, contributes to kind of turning up the volume on all of those things. But my. My purpose of this podcast is to let people in the horse show world know that we’re not exempt from all of that. And you’re not alone. There is a better way to live. And I’m here if anybody wants to talk about it for sure.
Piper Klemm [00:54:23] So if you’re surrounded by someone or people who you think might have a problem, you know what? What can people do? Or, you know, do they call you or what? What are their options? As someone who loves someone else and is like, oh, I don’t think this is going in the right direction.
Lyn Pedersen [00:54:42] I believe that. Most of us with this disease, and it is a disease. Believe that this next time will be different or that won’t happen again. Or I can control this on my own. And more often than not, those are beliefs that we hold with zero evidence to support it. And I will will say it over and over again, expecting different results. And that’s what they call the insanity of the disease, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So. There is, you know, what people call a bottom that, you know, everybody believes a person has to hit in order to want help. But that elevator doesn’t have to keep going down and down. What I do with interventions and case management is I stop the elevator from going down and offer a solution. And the solution 100% is not that person themselves. The thinking that causes a problem can’t be the thinking that solves the problem. So I have done hundreds of interventions on people who don’t think they have a problem or think they can control it or are shocked that anybody even knows about the problem. And I do it from a place of love. I do it in, you know, in conjunction with family members and loved ones. And I’ve had maybe 97, 98% success of getting people to take the help that’s being offered, take the gift that’s being offered to actually go to treatment. And when you know, I work with the family, I discuss the issues that their loved one is suffering from age, you know, a bunch of there’s a bunch of different factors that go into where I would recommend somebody goes. Everybody’s different. Not everybody fits the same mold. And there’s thousands of treatment centers in this country, only a few handfuls that I feel comfortable recommending to people. And I work with the family to choose that. I make sure that there’s a bed waiting for the person. I make sure that I have made travel arrangements, whether it be to fly the person or drive the person to treatment, depending on where they are and in the intervention, I have everybody speak one at a time in a very facilitated manner. You know, I redirect and I can. I’m there just to facilitate other people speaking their truth to the person. And more often than not, nobody has ever spoken their whole truth because an alcoholic or an addict is very good at manipulation, manipulating a person, convincing them that they’re wrong, or flaring up and walking out. And they’re not generally able to do that when there’s somebody like myself there. But I can’t tell you the miracles that I have seen happen as a result of a family intervening or a loved one intervening. And, you know, people go to treatment. Many of the places that I refer people to are super successful at getting the person to kind of peel back all the layers of denial and, you know, excuses and see how the problem is really negatively affecting their lives and helping get them on the road to a life that they can’t imagine. And that’s what I got from it. You know, if I had written down the things that I would have liked when I first very first got sober, it would have come up so short to the life that I have now. So I always tell families to stay hopeful and, you know, believe that that it’s possible for their loved ones. I’ve had people in their seventies and I’ve gotten them to go to treatment and, you know, live a life. That they’re you know, they become a person that the family members have never met before because they’ve only known the alcoholic person. So that is I think and by the way, the worst case scenario of an intervention is that. The person. The worst case scenario, let’s say if a person says they won’t go. Everybody there has had the chance to speak their truth and explain the effect that that person’s behavior is having on them. And worst case scenario, everybody knows that they’ve gone to any lengths to help a person. There is such a thing as loving a person to death by not confronting that, you know, the monster in the room. And so at the very end, it’s you know, everybody is on the same page. Everybody knows it’s out. The elephant is not in the room anymore. It’s amongst everybody. And the seed has been planted. And that goes as well for people who go to treatment. And it doesn’t. So as people say, it doesn’t stick. That seed is planted and it will grow regardless of whether the individual feeds the seed or wants to pretend it isn’t there, it’s going to grow and it will eventually, hopefully turn into. You know something that causes them to realize they know where help is, they know where the solution is, and they’re going to actually do it. I’ve had very few people say absolutely not and then not change. Sometimes people don’t go right at the end of the intervention, but in a week or two weeks or a month or six months, I continue working with the family and eventually they’ll say yes and go get help.
Piper Klemm [01:01:36] It feels so impossible sometimes, again, given given temptation and lifestyle and pressure of horse shows. I’m always interested in how many people are sober and when you kind of dig into it there, there’s a big cross-section of our community that that doesn’t drink at all.
Lyn Pedersen [01:01:56] You would be surprised. You would be surprised. There are little sober angels throughout the industry. And, you know, they keep it to themselves or isn’t. You know, I’m sober. A lot of my friends drink probably some borderline problem drinking, but I love them and I don’t have any opinion on it. If they wanted help, they know what I do and they can ask me. And I believe that the other people in the industry who are sober feel the same way. You know, it’s a it’s a it’s a process of attraction rather than promotion. You know, life happens. Getting sober doesn’t mean that nothing bad is ever going to happen to you. But I can tell you that the solution is always available to me, to any problem, either by talking to another sober person. Sometimes going to a meeting, but. I have been able to work through some pretty challenging things in my life with grace and dignity, whereas before it would have been a big drama and, you know, I would have made a lot of splashes and it would have become a poor me situation, whereas now I, I just suit up, show up and do the next right thing instead of reacting without tools. So instead of reacting without tools that I’ve learned and gotten through sobriety, that helped me react to things in more of a thoughtful, accepting way.
Piper Klemm [01:03:53] Lyn If people are sober, curious, or, you know, want to talk to you about themselves or someone in their life, how can they find you? How can they get in touch?
Lyn Pedersen [01:04:04] I have a website. It’s my name. And my name is spelled very oddly, it’s l y n and the last name is P e, d as and David e r s e n dot com. They can find my number and my information there. I think I have my phone number. I know I have my phone number on my Facebook page. You know, if they want to just find me out of your show and tap me on the shoulder and say, is there a chance we can talk at some point? I’m I’m pretty much available, you know, any way that they feel comfortable reaching out. And again, it’s a conversation. There’s no commitment. There is no label labeling or judgment on my part. It is totally up to the individual whether. They want to follow suggestions or whether they feel. Like they would like to change things. I mean, other than in an intervention where I’m hired to change things, I don’t tell a person what they need to do or who they need to be. I offer insight, support. And tools to people who are either sober, curious or concerned about their own drinking or doing drugs, or just want information about being sober in general. Like what? What is that like? I have as much fun or more when I go to parties and events than I did when I was drinking and doing drugs. And I’m more present for everything like my brain is. I’m in a very. Very strong state of be here now. You know, I am where I am. Wherever my feet are, is where my head is most of the time. And if anybody were to be looking on from afar and not know that I was sober, they probably would think that I’ve been drinking because, you know, I’m dancing as much as everybody, and I’m enjoying myself as much as everybody. And sobriety has taught me a lot of things about, you know, being willing to look stupid. Being willing to be bad at things. I was never able to allow myself to do any of that because I was too fearful of what I would look like to others. And more often than not, it turns out nobody even was looking at me or considering my behavior. I have a good friend in the riding world who always reminds me that I’m not the star of everybody’s movie. And it’s a very, very useful thought. Like, nobody’s wondering what you’re doing. Everybody’s thinking about themselves, basically, and learning that and being able to be willing to to kind of suck at something has allowed me to try new things, to put myself out there to, you know, if you’re not willing to be bad at something, you’re never going to try something new. And that has changed my life for real. You know, the ability to not be good at something, to be bad at something, to be embarrassed, to make a mistake has given me so many more options of things to do in the world. So that’s been amazing too.
Piper Klemm [01:07:46] Lyn Pedersen, thank you so much for all your hard work in the industry and thank you for joining us on the plaidcast.
Lyn Pedersen [01:07:52] Thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity.
Piper Klemm [01:09:32] To learn more about anything we’ve discussed on today’s show, visit theplaidhorse.com. You can find show notes at the plaidhorse.com/Listen. Follow The Plaid Horse on all the social medias. You can subscribe to the print edition of the Plaid Horse Magazine at theplaidhorse.com/subscribe. Please write and review the plaidcast anywhere you listen to it. And if you enjoy this episode, please share it with your friends. I will see you at the ring!