Well, I seem to have survived the summer heat. It has been a challenge living without air-conditioning but I got a wonderful surprise, this summer I had a LOT more endurance when riding in the heat. My youngest son, who has a BS in Biochemistry, told me that organisms have a mechanism when it is hot that protects the body’s proteins, and when the weather turns cold (or if a person is in air-conditioning a lot) the body stops doing this particular protective reaction. So yes, I was literally sweating like a horse for a lot of the summer, but this did not cripple me like I had feared, it just made me unable to do the mental work of writing a blog. I don’t think I would have survived as well in the city, but out in the country, back in the woods, and half a mile from the nearest paved street, it was doable.
Not that I was able to do anything new on horse-back, all summer I just plodded around the ring with occasional trots doing the same old things. So my summer dragged on until 5 weeks ago when my appendix burst and I had to have surgery. After six days in the hospital mostly tied to the bed with various tubes I lost ALL of the muscles I had worked so hard on maintaining through the summer. Then the surgeon told me not to ride for four weeks so I concentrated on walking up and down my driveway to build back some muscles in my legs. My driveway is 600 feet long and goes up and down hill. I had to build up gradually, first a quarter of the distance, then half, then repeating, then doing some more, and all the time I made sure that I kept my shoulders back and head up so I would not get into bad habits for riding. Now I can walk to my mail box and back three times a day if I don’t do anything else strenuous. I re-grew a lot of muscle and toned them up but I was still worried it would not be enough for riding.
My oldest son and I had been going out to the stable once a week to groom Mia (my son did most of this) and put fly spray on her. Then two weeks ago, in the farm yard, Mia got herself stuck under the tongue/front of a piece of farm equipment. A member of her mare band who was in the farm yard with her started screaming for help. Sam, Debbie’s daughter (short for Samantha) ran out, saw what was wrong, saw Mia put a hind leg through a hole and screamed for Darryl to come out, but by the time they got to her Mia had gotten her hind leg out of the hole and managed to scoot on her belly and get out from under the farm equipment. Mia got a BIG hematoma on her belly, and a few scrapes on the leg that had gone through the hole. When I heard about this a day later all I could think was that I was so glad that I had spent the last several years teaching Mia how to use her brain, and I was amazed that Mia timed it so perfectly--she became temporarily unrideable when I could not ride. We could have lost Mia so easily. As it was my son and I added hosing Mia’s hematoma down to our weekly routine. She is worth it.
Wednesday I could finally ride again and Mia had improved enough so being ridden lightly was good for her. I switched from my Spursuader spurs to my dummy spurs because I did not want to hurt Mia accidentally. She was reluctant to move but that suited me just fine, I wanted her to be nice, slow, and not reactive while I got my seat back. There had been a extremely windy thunderstorm at Debbie’s stable the night before so Mia and I often stopped to watch Debbie put the jump standards upright. Near the end of my half-hour Debbie encouraged me to get Mia into a good walk once, and after some urging Mia did so. After around 10 strides I backed off and we ended the lesson at a slow walk. My walking had helped me regain some of my muscles but Debbie told me that my lower leg was not as firm as usual (made me glad I changed my spurs!) and I got tired quickly. At least I was able to get back up on a horse!
It all could have been much worse. Yes my appendix burst but the surgical team did a VERY good job and I haven’t had any complications. Mia got into a horrible situation but she used her head and got herself out without breaking a leg. I am back riding, Mia is back to being rideable under a rider who does not demand much in performance and I hope, hope, hope that her hematoma continues to shrink. It is not in a great place, at the lowest part of her belly, but I hope that with light riding combined with moving around the pasture that it will continue to shrink. At 29 years of age it is amazing that Mia is still around even if she does have this big hematoma on her belly.
I sincerely hope that your summer was better than mine!
Have a great ride!