Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Middle Road

The problem with injuries is that if you get active too early in the recovery process, you risk injuring the affected area worse or injuring whatever part of your body you are over-utilizing to compensate for the injured part.  However, if you get active too late, you risk muscle atrophy and scar tissue forming in inconvenient ways.  So, I like to take the middle road.

My shoulder and knee are still both causing me pain on my left side.  My knee locks up going up stairs.  My shoulder hurts whenever I sleep on it or use it.  Obviously, I have to use my shoulder to lift and carry a heavy saddle, and I have to put my weight on that knee to mount and dismount a horse.  I decided to just try it anyway.

My dilemma, now that Lostine's arthritis is bad enough for her to struggle to carry a rider, is that I have to choose between riding my tallest, non-spooky horse, which means having to lift the saddle higher and mount with a bigger effort, or ride one of my moderate height horses who spook, which means never really knowing when my muscles will get jerked around.  Since I could at least predict when I needed to lift the saddle, mount and dismount, I chose to go with the tallest horse.

It's been a while since I've ridden Rock, so he hesitated about going past the location where he sees my neighbor's Christmas lights lit up at night.  While out on a trail, he tripped and came to an abrupt halt.  I tried to get him to move forward, and he refused.  I looked to see if he was pooping, but he wasn't lifting his tail.  I got scared that he had hurt himself, but I didn't want to dismount and have to walk him home.

So, I just kept a gentle, but persistent pressure on him to go until he started walking, and thankfully he was just being stubborn.  I didn't want to kick, spur or whip him hard if he was injured.  I suspect that he remembered that when he acts like he's got a cholla ball stuck in him, I dismount, so he was bluffing.  I knew he couldn't have a cholla ball stuck in him, because I purposefully took us in a westerly direction away from the foothills where the cholla cacti grow.  I wanted him to have one pleasant ride without getting stabbed.

Minus those two incidents, he was a very good boy.  At one point, a caravan of construction vehicles was coming toward us up a street.  They were making a lot of noise.  I waited to see whether they would turn left or right, before making a decision on which way I would turn.  I was in the mood for peace and quiet.  Rock sensed that I was distracted, so he started looking around.  He went down into a ditch and lunged up it when I wasn't paying attention, and that unseated me a little.  He immediately stopped and waited for me to tell him what to do.  He's such a smart horse.

When we got home, I just sat on him a while to give me time to formulate a plan to dismount in a way that would cause the least amount of pain in my shoulder and knee.  Rock got confused and kept moving to different locations, thinking that I wasn't getting off because I didn't like where he was standing.  He's so cute.

These are my two most valuable horse tools right now...

Gabbrielle has been a thorn in my side lately by banging the gates at the crack of dawn to wake me up to feed her.  The slingshot and the scoop are used to fling rocks at the aluminum roof of the barn from my back porch.  The crash sends Gabbrielle running to the other side of the paddock.  Soon she learns that my arms are far reaching and she stops banging the gates.  I also make a point of never feeding her right after she's been banging.  She learns that she does wake me up by banging, but it doesn't help her get fed any faster.  In fact, I'll feed the dogs and myself long before I'll feed her when she acts that inconsiderate toward everyone in the neighborhood.  Some days I think my neighbors must hate me.

This is a bouquet of flowers my husband sent me just because...

I love the color purple.

We have a lot more people in our area this month as is evident by the traffic, long lines, and rescue sirens.  The US Postal Service seems to be struggling.  We didn't get any mail delivery on Monday, though it wasn't a federal holiday that I am aware of.  However, on Tuesday we got two mail deliveries and packages arrived in both.  My husband just happened to double check the mailbox at night and found the second delivery with two packages in the box.  That was kind of frustrating, because we've had problems with mail thieves this time of year, and it would have been good to know that we needed to pick up our mail twice in one day before someone else did.

Then today I was in the dog's yard cleaning when this little white car came tearing up into my driveway kicking rocks everywhere.  The driver proceeded to mess with my mailbox.  I watched him, knowing I had just checked the box and nothing was inside.  It turned out that he was delivering mail in an unmarked car.  These are all not good signs.  It could mean that the postal service is running out of money like they've been predicting for a while.  Either that or they are super disorganized.


Linda said...

Someday, I'm going to start shopping for a lighter saddle. I need to find a high quality one that will eventually replace my heavy, well-made one. The sling shot idea is really smart. I need one of those, too. That was very sweet of your husband to get those flowers, just because. That's the best time to get them.

Mrs Shoes said...

After a rotator cuff (not sure if that's the spelling) injury I found lifting my saddle above shoulder level just about excruciating. After being forced to ask for help tacking up a few times, I decided to buy a synthetic Wintec that weighed about 18lbs (compared to the leather one which was around 35lbs).
Since that first Wintec, I went on to buy a Barefoot (which is SO darned comfortable!) & also a Big Horn endurance 'combination' (has a leather seat but cordura fenders) that weighs maybe 20lbs. For me, going to lighter weight saddles helped me reclaim my independence & let my shoulder heal to the point of being able to once again carry a 3 gallon pail of water without passing out & to lift a heavy saddle when I have to the odd time. Not suggesting you should go out & buy another saddle (if I recall, you bought a really nice one not long ago), but just relating how much it helped me to go to the light ones.

redhorse said...

I started using a stool to saddle my 16h horse after my shoulder started bothering me.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Interesting that other horse people have shoulder problems too. The stool is a good idea. I won't buy a saddle if it is over 28 pounds, but I do prefer all leather. I used to have a fabric saddle and it just wouldn't stay balanced. Maybe it was just that saddle, and the slippage problem had nothing to do with its light weight.

Cheryl Ann said...

Our mail is weird, too. We'll go for a couple of days with NOTHING also. I always worry about that.

How sweet of your husband to buy you some flowers! Mine buys peanut flavored dog biscuits for me so I don't have to go out and buy them for the STUPID DOG who stepped on one of my newly-planted flowers!

6 more days of CHAOS (school) and then 3 weeks vacation!
~Cheryl Ann~

Crystal said...

We only get mail twice a week and our box is locked (and we only have 4 people who get thier mail there) so I am not worried about it, glad of that too though.
Nice flowers!
Good Rock for being so steady even when hes being silly I think he was a good choice.

achieve1dream said...

I love my synthetic saddle too (and I don't have shoulder problems lol). Mine doesn't slip so the one you had may have just not been a good fit.

I'm glad you got to ride, but I hate that you are still in pain. :(

That's weird about the mail!! I just found out someone mailed me something a year ago and I never received it.... not happy.

The slingshot is a great idea hehe!

Your husband is so sweet. Those flowers are gorgeous.