The Oakley Diaries 44 - Long Enforced Rest

I have taken advantage of the current pandemic crisis management to give my hip a chance to heal. I came down very hard on it last October. The thing is, Oakley always bolts leftwards or wheels so he can bolt leftwards, which always leaves me hanging out of the saddle to the right side. For the first five years or so, then, I was falling out of the saddle onto my right hip into sand, grass, packed earth, ploughed fields, roads, bushes, and everywhere else he could find to drop me. It's the same hip I broke when I was 12, along with the rest of my leg, so it's always been a little stiff. After enforced rest -- mostly -- for the past 3 months, my hip is starting to feel, if not great, at least not cramped.

Since the barn manager asked us to only visit by appointment, and then alone or with family, in accordance with the mishmash of confused suggested guidelines/possibly rules/possibly laws, on social/physical distancing suggested by both the Ontario government, Ontario Equestrian, and Equestrian Canada in order to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19, I've visited about twice. There is only so much interest in trying to groom a horse whose mind is anywhere but here, thinking of his dinner, of his herd in the field, and who really doesn't want to see me, anyway.

I thought of maybe just visiting to give him treats, but it's a 45 minute trip, one-way, at the best of times, so, even though this has been the best of times to be driving, I haven't found the enthusiasm to spend an hour and a half driving to spend a half hour doing very little in the field, when there are so very many other projects that I've put on hold, some going back to when I first got him.

Thus I find myself writing a diary entry about training with a horse that mentions no actual training.

The quarantine rules are relaxing now, so riding is back on, riding indoors (now that the weather is nice -- Thanks!) is back on, but we're still asked to schedule appointments so there is minimal to no contact. This is a very nasty disease, no matter how many people have decided it's a nothingburger, or who choose to mangle the statistics to pretend it's of no consequence, and so even if I wasn't being asked, I'd be doing that anyway. I'm still going to take the next week or so off and continue my various small projects, finish up many of them, and then start back with groundwork in June.

I'll see you then.

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Comment by Jackie Cochran on May 30, 2020 at 10:34am

About you falling off (we all fall off.)

After my last fall I invested in the Ridergrip rubbery self-glued on circles that go on the saddle flaps or on the saddle seat.  They have GREATLY increased my security in the saddle.  They are the only thing that has increased my feeling of security in the saddle more that my full seat silicon breeches.

Between my silicon full seat breeches and the Ridergrip patches I almost feel like I am young again when I ride, back when I used to be able to stick on the horse without major problems.  My seat no longer slips around in the saddle, which means I irritate the horse less, which means that the horse is so much more likely to do those little moves that end up with the rider on the ground (like the last time I fell off a horse).

Invest in your safety!

Comment by Jackie Cochran on May 30, 2020 at 10:22am

Yes, this is a perfect time to let your body heal.

It can be deflating to our egos when we finally realize that "our" horses never depend on us for their emotional health, to horses that is the job of other horses, not their owners when not training/working them.

Oakley will survive this just fine.  All those pesky little itty bitty injuries can now heal.  His mind gets to unwind.  He has the time to REALLY think through everything you and your instructor have been teaching him.

He may finally get SO BORED just hanging out that he may start looking at your rides as boredom relief instead of hard work. 

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