Back in the Saddle

First ride back

Three months after my accident I finally felt like it was time to get back in the saddle. It’s not fear that’s kept me from riding, rather it’s a distrust of my body. I look at many things differently now —

The best view
I haven’t seen this view for awhile. It’s still one of the best ones out there!

having struggled to get out of chairs or walk up and down stairs, I evaluate each situation with an eye toward safety and comfort.

In that light, what’s kept me off a horse has not been the riding, per se — it’s been the getting on and getting off. Especially, the getting off. My horses are on the tall side and the anticipation of dismounting and hitting the ground with my bad ankle was daunting.

Enter Curly. Curly is smaller, calmer and more tolerant than my beasts — who’ve had most of the winter off and are feeling frisky. So on Friday, a beautiful, warm spring-like morning, with the help of Curly’s owner, I finally got on a horse again.

Lydia loves Curly.
I shared my ride with Lydia, who patiently waited her turn and who obviously adores her Curly horse. What an amazing horse she is — not only was she Lindsay’s childhood horse, each of her four children has learned to ride (and love) horses because of Curly.

Yes, it felt great. I love that view between a horse’s ears. The connection of being on a horse’s back again was magical. And there was, thankfully, no fear.

But it was also sobering. My knees and ankles protested the position. Even after just 15 minutes of walking and some short trots, they were stiff and a bit achy. It’s going to be awhile before I’m galloping through hunt territory. But that’s okay. Every week I’m getting better. This past week I put my cane aside, and I capped it off by riding again. What could be better?

6 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle

  1. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you and I’m sure your body will get used to riding again very quick (think of all those happy hormones riding produces for us, you body will surely learn it’s better to be agreeable to it 😉 ).

  2. i remember the wonder I felt to just sit astride a horse after two years of not being on a horse due to back condition.

  3. Beautifully written. I can totally relate to it, too, since I’ve had to go through the process 4 times: 2 hip replacements, a knee replacement, and spine surgery after a broken disk. The euphoria is magnificent!

    1. Oh my goodness, you make me feel like an amateur at recovery. I am impressed by your fortitude and determination. But of course, all of us horse folks are a bit nuts, too. Or maybe that’s what keeps us going? Definitely, the strong desire to ride again pushes us forward.

      1. Liz- I didn’t want to make you feel like an amateur at recovery at all! I think that the bond between human and horse is so special that it pushes most of us to work hard to get back at it! Being with my horse, and riding her, provide feelings that I get nowhere else! When I attend physical therapy, I make it clear that before I am done, I need to be able to mount a horse! One of the therapists didn’t know what was involved with that, so I showed her as best I could and described it. Then she designed the therapy. It is good for us mentally as well as physically. That’s why there are therapeutic riding programs that are so successful. Much success to you. Thanks for saying in your blog, what many of us learn.

  4. Laurie, I’m just amazed by how many times you had to recover. My hat is off to you. This experience has been eye opening for me in many ways. I have a lot more respect for people who have persevered through their recovery and much more empathy. I’m always going to be the one to visit my friends in hospital when they are recovering, will start showing up with food when they come home, and keep checking on them as they get better. As for the therapeutic programs, I volunteered for one for several years as a side walker and was amazed by how well the kids responded. Now I’m also amazed by how brave they were!

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