Monday, May 16, 2011

Before and After....

Long time no post, eh?  I've been busy.  Spring is always busy: there are pastures to seed and fertilize, gardening to be done, stalls to be stripped.... the list never ends. 

In one of my last posts I mentioned that Spider was rather lacking in muscle in his hind end and talked a bit about what I was doing to correct it.  I mentioned taking "before and after" photos, so here is the "before":

This is not the greatest photo.  Spider was in the process of shedding out.  His winter coat is seal bay, his summer coat is reddish bay.  This gives him a rather odd "two-tone" look in the spring.  He also managed to get a nice scrape on his hip and he was refusing to hold still for his picture.  All in all, he looks like a wreck here.

I took that "before" picture on May 6th.  Since then, we've done raised cavaletti, tons of transitions between gaits and worked in the pasture on the grass.  I took this "after" picture yesterday:

Not bad for 10 days, especially considering that he didn't actually work for all of those ten days.  One of the many things I love about Thoroughbreds is how quick they put on muscle.  I work him about 4 days a week: one day lunging over raised cavaletti, the other three under saddle doing various exercises (mostly 1st and 2nd level stuff).

As far as my back goes, I waffle in between being totally bummed about it and being completely defiant.  What do doctors know anyway?  Horsemen are cut from a different mold than the rest of humanity.  We put our bodies through stresses that most people would crumple under for fun.    A little bit of back pain isn't going to stop me.

I think my husband said it best.  After listening to me whine about my back for a day or so he said "You're still the same as you were before you found out how bad your back was."  He's right.  Three weeks ago I had a sore neck and rode my horse just the same.  I was blissfully ignorant of my degenerating discs.  I can't let a mere diagnosis get in my way.  I've learned over the last five years that activity is my friend, no matter what the doctors say, and that no one can tell me what I'm capable of besides myself.



  1. glad to see you're alive, lady! :)

  2. Missed ya! Spider is looking good!

  3. Spider is looking good in his after picture. You're right about how tough horse people are. I say do what you can and keep active with what makes you happy. In a few years there may be lots of new medical breakthroughs that can help your back.

  4. Just wondering what you were up to...

    Spider looks great! We're working on the same thing - Val's haunches could use to fill out more - trot, trot, trot! I'm encouraged by your rapid success.

    I like your attitude - if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger as they say ;)

  5. Good progress for Spider. His hinds are much rounder.

    You are right about horse-people being tougher. I met a lady who had a terrible fall from her Dressage WB that left her paralysed from her breast downn to her feet, including her right arm. Now 5 years later, she is walking with a cane, and she can use her right arm and ... she is back on horseback, though she has bought a Quarter Horse.
    She is a tough Lady, a real inspiration really! Only You know your limits.

    Good luck

  6. Nice difference in his topline.

    I'm with you on the physical thing, but to be honest, right now my knees are really hurting...although it could be the weather. I am finding it rather hard to get into the swing of things, so my hat's off to you for persevering.

    You are so right about Thoroughbreds and the muscle. Little work can produce a lot.

  7. Horse people are tougher. When I got run over I had two doctors. One thought that I shouldn't be around horses - they are dangerous you know - and at my age I was more likely to get hurt. The other one has a daughter who is an Advanced event rider - he told me not to do any jumping until I really felt like it, don't push too hard. Different attitude toward life. As for Spider - great improvement, I think I will show this to Nina.

  8. Amazing difference! Looks great :)

  9. I was worried after your last post and then no posts. Glad it's because you were so busy - I should have known :). I know you have a serious condition, but don't be influenced by people who tell you to stop riding. I know so many people who overcame a bad diagnisis.
    Spider looks great. Good work.

  10. My, that's quite a change for a short time. I hope you can find a way to be comfortable and enjoy whatever riding you let yourself do.

  11. Wow that's a big difference already. He looks great. :D

    I'm the same way about a diagnoses. I guess that's why I don't like going to the doctor. Knowing just makes it worse. I'm glad you're tough and working through it. Horses keep us young. I believe it.


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