Maybe the Universe is starting to smile on me again. Maybe I will be able to stop the relentless degradation of my body. Maybe I can finally start to recover from my MS exacerbation.
The first week of December 2013 I rode four times. Since then the most I’ve ridden in a week was two times around a month ago. I am walking a little better but my physical fitness took a big hit this winter, I am weaker and my muscles just won’t work as long as before. Before December 30, 2013, the day of my attack, I was able to do a posting trot up to one and a half way around Debbie’s ring, now I collapse with exhaustion after maybe 10-15 strides. I actually started getting sore riding muscles in my thighs and butt when I rode just once a week.
But now Spring is here.
I rode Mia twice this week, for my lesson and once for just walking around. I’m not riding Mick right now because what I need the most is physical therapy, and I walk better when I ride horses with nice, loose, relaxed and “mobile” backs. Mick’s back is just too stiff still to give me the therapy I need. However Mia’s back is just fine and she’s got a wonderful walk and a pretty smooth sitting trot, plus I love riding that mare!
I was pretty weak on Wednesday for my lesson so I just used the hoof knife some on her soles so I would not get behind when the spring grass comes in. She had been trimmed the day before so I did not have to use my rasp. Still I was pretty tired when we got to the ring. Mia did her usual objection to my clumsy mounting, walking off as soon as I eased my seat into the saddle. Debbie had me do the posting trot several times and told me that my hands were nice and steady, Mia agreed because she let me keep contact for much longer than usual the past three months. Her turns on the hindquarters started off less crisp than usual, but by the third step she kept her hind end where it belonged so I could praise her. Her backing up is improving too, Debbie commented on how pretty she looked doing it! The Back on Track hock boots are definitely helping Mia move better. AND I finally noticed an improvement that probably comes from Mia wearing the BOT poll cap. Mia has this irritating habit of wanting to rub her head whenever she stops near a person when I am riding her. Usually we have to get a bit “rough” (voice, no hitting) to get her to stop and then she keeps on trying to rub her head on us. This week she just tried to start rubbing her head, stopped when we said NO, and did not try it again.
Debbie started talking about one of the older lesson horses she has that is owned by someone else, that he was old (25?) and she thought his hocks were starting to irritate him. I decided to lend her my BOT hock boots to try on this horse, telling her how to introduce them and that they were made to be used just in the stall with stable bandages on too. I think Debbie is impressed with the progress of both Mia and Mick from using the BOT hock boots and wants to experiment further.
On Friday I rasped Mia’s hooves down, then I just mainly walked Mia around the ring. There were five Canadian geese enjoying the neighboring pasture and pond and we stopped to watch them for a while. I was still pretty tired from all the trotting I did on Wednesday so I was not too ambitious, just walking around on Mia enjoying the warmer weather was quite enough for me. Mia, like most Arabs, is a very observant mare, and she enjoys looking around at everything whenever I have to rest. If the view is interesting enough she will often let me rest a minute or two before telling me that she wants to move on. I really appreciate this on the days I am tired.
Today I got to ride Cider for the first time in 2 ½ months. I was a little worried but Cider was VERY good to me. She did not mind that I just wanted to walk and she cheerfully kept contact with my hands. This was quite reassuring to me, Cider is one of those horses who LIKES keeping contact, Shannon thinks that she likes it because she likes to know what her rider is doing and planning to do. But when my hands get too bad Cider can be as eloquent as Mia in telling me that I am just not good enough to keep contact with, in fact when Cider shows irritation with my hands I KNOW that I have to go bitless for a while. I was also slightly worried that Cider, in the months she had off, would have decided that she did not like my EZ-Fit treeless saddle I got for her, but she moved off even better than before so I guess she decided she likes it! Cider moved freely, she strode off calmly, she obeyed my aids pretty well (Cider tends to forget some things when not ridden for a while), and she did not get irritated at my riding at any time during my ride. She even let me ride several minutes beyond my usual half-hour without her usual fuss when my time was up. Cider always knows when thirty minutes have passed!
I really hope that the weather lets me ride three times next week. It may take a few months of regular, frequent riding before my body gets back to where it was before my MS attack. If the Universe cooperates I will have a chance to get my body back into shape before the super muggy Southern heat that comes with Summer wrecks my physical abilities yet again.
Have a great ride!