Smartypants McRetainsWell

I’m officially all healed up from my tailbone injury and back in the saddle! I think taking a solid week or two of next-to-no activity was just what I needed to let the inflammation die down. Even with the holiday this week it looks like I’ll get a solid 4 rides in. That’s more than I’ve done in months!

My Christmas present was being able to ride pain-free!

True to form, Francis has been an angel boy for me. I’m comically low on endurance, so he’s pretty thrilled about the frequent walk breaks as I gasp for air. I WOULDN’T BE SO OUT OF BREATH IF YOU’D JUST MOVE FORWARD MORE, HORSE. He’s a little confused and annoyed that after so long I’m asking him for correct work again and actually backing that up with some semblance of leg, but is begrudgingly delivering.

And luckily he remembers all the stuff we worked on over the summer. He thinks self-carriage is The Worst and would rather not, but I’m not having to hold his hand nearly as much as I did last spring. This is regular “would rather nap” and not “I literally have no clue what’s going on” like it used to be.

I’m also really really glad that we opted to bump up to 2x/week with AT as I get back into it. She’s definitely sharpening him back up so that when I’m on he’s able to respond quickly and correctly, and it’s certainly helping get him back in shape. It means that he sometimes gets ridden twice a day but he’ll live. I promise.

It’s funny, now that he’s back in a more intense program, he actually comes out more eager to work. He’s gone back to shoving his face in the bridle and putting his face at chest level for me to tack up. Legit he was mouthing around looking for the bit as I tacked up the other day. So he can fake the grumpies all he wants, he actually loves having a job to do.

“hello mahm would like scritches pls”

The super fun part right now is that my muscle memory is definitely there. I know how to ride my horse to get good work out of him, and I know the timing I need to ask. You know what’s not there? The muscle strength. You know, a very minor consideration. Those things combined mean that I’m riding him pretty well since my body does it fairly automatically, and then the next day I wake up INCREDIBLY SORE.

It’s the best sore I’ve ever felt. I’m so incredibly happy to be back on board this creature and back in a training program.

So our short term steps forward: Mama needs to work out, hard. I already have my program chosen and will be kicking that off this weekend. Between that and returning to a 5-6x/week riding schedule I think the first month of the new year may be a bit achy. It’ll be fine.

I even went for a jog. It was awful. I’ll probably do it again soon.

We’re also looking to restart the private and/or semi-private lessons- it turns out our other rider in my division is also free on Friday afternoons, so we may combine forces! We’ll play showing by ear, likely making an excursion in the Lows in January or early February depending on what’s available, timing of any injections, finances, etc. I don’t have any major competitive goals for this year besides enjoying ourselves, and will likely be trying to save money for more clinics and training opportunities.

A few things tentatively on the radar are trailering in for a lesson with Joe Fargis, potentially doing Team Finals again, signing up for when George comes to town in the fall, and Upperville. Because I can’t NOT go to Upperville. We’ll see what happens as we get back into shape!!


First Ride Back

You guys, I got to ride my horse for the first time in WEEKS. It may as well have been decades because HOLY MOLY did I miss this creature.

Ignore the feral-length mane and LOOK HOW CUTE HE IS

The major ouchie I’ve been dealing with from falling down the stairs (which is seriously the stupidest way to get injured) is a bruised tailbone. For a day or two I was pretty worried that it might be cracked, but at this point I’m almost certain it’s just really badly bruised. Standing, sitting, and laying down are now fine, but bending over/picking things up off the ground does require some ginger movements (major MVP points to Frankfurter for holding his own feet up for me to pick). With that in mind, I wanted to ease back into the saddle pretty cautiously.

Frankie is also freshly clipped and it’s been frigid here, so I wanted to be sure I didn’t have SpicyFrancis under me. We only get 2-3 days a year of SpicyFrancis, and luckily this was not one of them. Big Man was an absolute perfect angel.

Unamused by his crippled mother. Also so in love with his winter orange snoot.

The verdict so far: walking is completely fine. Posting trot causes a few twinges but nothing too bad. Half seat is uncomfortable, sitting trot is right out. Cantering is also pretty uncomfortable- half seat remains twingey, and sitting is still no bueno despite how smooth his stride is.

I’ve had a bad tailbone injury in the past that I rushed, and it haunted me for literally years. So I’m going to move forward with an abundance of caution here, and stick to walk/trot for a bit until I’m more healed. Overkill? Maybe. But I’d way rather take it slow and steady and let myself heal completely.

In the meantime, I could not be happier to be reunited with my best boy. I don’t think I realized just how much I missed him until I was back giving him scritches- I had tears in my eyes when I got to hug his neck and feel his nose on my shoulder. He’s so playful and curious and kind and funny and sweet and I often struggle to articulate just how much I adore being around him.

The happiest to just share time with him

Slow and steady is just fine for now, as long as we’re together ❤