Today was the first day of Spring hunting. Sadly, I’m not quite ready yet. In most ways, I’m recovered. I no longer have to think about how I’m going to stand up from a chair. I can walk on all kinds of uneven ground without worrying that I’ll fall. I can hike for miles and feel fine. The only thing that still hurts? Riding.
Yup, my left ankle really doesn’t like the continuous pressure and the sideways movement. It really doesn’t like short stirrups. You know, the kind you need for support when you’re galloping cross country. It has made me very angry at my body. I was certain I’d be completely fine by now. Oh yes, and my knee hurts. Not the one that I broke, but the one that I overstressed for all those weeks that I couldn’t use the bad one.
My Physical Therapist tells me my recovery is normal. And that the only way to get my ankle stronger is to ride more. So, at least I have a prescription for riding! I also try to remind myself how far I’ve come. Just enjoy the riding I can do, I say like a mantra.
What I’ve tried so far to make my ankle hurt less: compression socks (they help a bit), three kinds of ankle brace (they range between more uncomfortable to mildly irritating), a knee sleeve (no help at all), riding with very long stirrups (that helps, but doesn’t give me the security I need to hunt, and I don’t want to feel loose in the sadde), and avoiding posting trot (cantering and sitting trot are better).
The one thing that’s helped? KT Tape. When I leave the house to ride, I look like I have an exoskeleton on my right leg. My ankle is taped. My knee is taped. Amazingly, those strips of tape give me enough support that I think I’ll be ready to hunt soon. Maybe in the next two weeks.
Now, the trick is to get Zelda skinny enough to wear her hunt saddle.
As for the photo? The image is from a vintage postcard that I found featuring the Norfolk Hunt Club, which is the next hunt over from Old North Bridge Hounds. This image is probably from the 30s or 40s — the card was never mailed and there’s no date on it. The funny thing about foxhunting is, you really can’t tell because everyone still dresses the same way (although most people now wear helmets with straps).
What have you done when riding with an injured ankle? And please don’t say ride without stirrups. That’s fine for around the barn, but for foxhunting? I’d never do that intentionally!