Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Riding Journal 2016: Week One

We're back!

Sunday I didn't ride because it was Easter and I ate too much ham and potato salad, Monday rained and was crazy windy. That shouldn't really matter, but I was feeling unmotivated. I did do 20 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes on the rowing machine, though, because I can do that in the house. 

Tuesday I got Spider out. Nothing fancy or hard, a warm up at walk, trot serpentines and leg yields, canter, then back to trot. Forgot to turn on the thingy, but about 20 minutes. 

Wednesday: tight, reactive. Long warm up at walk, then Cantered mostly. A few canter trot canter transitions at the end. 

I started this post two weeks ago, but I never finished because things fell apart. Thursday I was just in too much in pain to even try riding, so I took the day off. My back didn't feel any better on Friday, so I took that day off, too. 

That Saturday I had a Hunter Pace, and I was bringing my friend who had never been to one and her 6 year old newly OTTB. So, I couldn't really back out on that! We were doing the "Fun" division, so that was no big deal. I rode in my Australian Stock Saddle, and Spider was his usual awesome Trail Boss self. He loves to trail ride, he's the only horse I've ever known who goes faster out onto the trail than he does coming home. Seriously, he balks if he knows the trail and knows we're headed home. He might have made one hell of an Endurance horse. 

I didn't feel too bad after the Hunter Pace. I was muscle sore, from being in the saddle for so many hours, but not the crippling arthritic pain that I had dealt with on Thursday and Friday. Spider was fine and in good spirits, too. 

We went back to work the next Monday, and the same thing happened to me again. I was in pain, not muscle pain but joint pain.  And then I noticed Spider wasn't quite right. He wasn't picking his right hind up like he should, he was dragging it a little. He probably pulled something running around like an idiot playing with 6 yr old Jack and 9 yr old Spots. 23 yr old Spider should know better. 

So, I took some more time off. Mostly to think....... 

I thought about my goals, what I wanted for my horses, what I was realistically capable of with my back and hips the way they are. 

"If I can Hunter Pace and be fine, but schooling 3rd Level collection renders me crippled on Spider and he's trained, and now he's a little off, how am I going to train Spots and Jack."

I thought and I thought and I thought. And I thought maybe we were done, maybe it was all over and it was time for me to take a step back. And I was sad. 

And then last Saturday, when it was snowy and nasty and anyone with sense was inside, I watched my 23 yr old horse, who is still not picking up that right hind leg like he used to, stand right up on his hind legs to play with the 9 yr old and the 6 year old, and then canter around the pasture in the lovely dressage form I have spent years teaching him, and also the form he rarely exhibits at shows. 

And he played like that again the next day, and the day after that, and I just watched him do it again before sitting down to write this. He may not be picking his hind legs up like he used to, but he ain't ready to quit yet. I guess I shouldn't be ready to quit, either.

He and I will both see our respective vets and get ourselves comfortable. We're going to work with what we've got. We aren't what we were 10 years ago, and I suppose we could have been a lot more. I don't know what our future holds, but this is what we are now and I wouldn't trade a minute of it. 


Not bad.











7 comments:

  1. The best parts of life are spent with horses. So glad you're not giving it up. If there ever comes a day that I can't ride anymore I plan to buy a cart and a pony (if the horse I have isn't able to pull).

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  2. I'm sorry you've been hurting, that is no fun. About riding the younger horses I wonder if they might move differently enough that you body might react differently? I am keeping my fingers crossed that you still have lots of enjoyment left with Spider!

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  3. I am sorry about your back. Trust me I know about the horrible realization that you may need to give up what you love. My back bothered me all last year. Turned out I had fractures in 2 of my vertebra and eventually had a massive hernia that compressed my spinal cord. I have had 8 months out of the saddle, but my story is not all sad. I am so happy for you that you can still get in the saddle with Spider even though it may not be at the level you both are used to.

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  4. Fingers crossed the people vet can pep you up a little. Plus it has to quit being winter eventually, right?

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  5. So sorry to hear that your pain is worse. You have an amazing spirit ��.

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  6. So sorry to hear that your pain is worse. You have an amazing spirit ��.

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  7. You wrote:"He and I will both see our respective vets and get ourselves comfortable. We're going to work with what we've got. We aren't what we were 10 years ago, and I suppose we could have been a lot more. I don't know what our future holds, but this is what we are now and I wouldn't trade a minute of it."

    Sometimes it's hard not to expect more of yourself than your body can give, but that's a reality of growing wiser (older).
    I love your outlook on it all; inspiring words.

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