Sunday, July 17, 2016

Testing Testing One Two...

I've been waiting for a day where the temperatures, humidity and wind speeds are tolerable enough to ride a horse, so that I can test out my leg on drugs.  I haven't ridden since the doctor started me on the inflammatory medication, and I wanted to see if it could stand up to me tiring out my leg while horseback riding, so that I can successfully dismount without having to physically pick up my leg with my hands and drag it across the horse's rump.

My first few attempts at riding today were thwarted by energy depletion.  One time I forgot some things I needed in the house, and once I got back into the air conditioning I didn't want to go back out into the furnace.  Other times I spotted some problem that needed to be taken care of right away, and got too tired from fixing that to saddle up a horse.  I checked the weather forecast and saw that I only had a couple of hours before rain might be moving in, so I had to put on my blinders and focus on nothing but getting prepared to ride.

Rock protested, telling me that even with the wind and the clouds, it was too hot for him to be wearing a saddle and carrying a human around on his back.  I picked him because I have to use my legs a lot to keep him moving, and the whole point of me riding was to try to tire out my medicated leg.  I promised him I'd keep it short and sweet.  My helmet cam caught me positioning my stirrup on my bum leg...

Rock's saddle is great in many ways, but the fenders are thick and stiff, so the rider or an assistant on the ground has to twist them to get the boot through the stirrup.  (Yes, I've already used the conditioning and broomstick method, and no, I'm not willing to spend money on solutions like swivel stirrups.)  Of course, upon mounting, I discovered that the stirrups were too long.  I tried to remember who the last person was to ride in that saddle, but I think it was me.  I didn't want to dismount to fix them, because I was afraid that I wouldn't have the energy in that heat to mount again, so I just rode with what I had.  Rock was grumpy...

The clouds had been covering the sun all morning, but of course as soon as I saddled him up, the clouds parted and the heat was unbearable.  Rock let me know that it affected him just as much as it affected me.  I had sweat pouring into my eyes and burning them.  My skin felt like it was on fire.  Rock refused to go forward a couple of times, and he kept poking my boots with his nose to tell me to get off.  Whenever the sun went behind the clouds for a few seconds, our moods improved...

When the wind stopped and the sun was beating down, I let him stand still and rest.  I wanted to ride him into the barn for shade, but I've worked too hard at training the horses to stay out of the barn when they have a rider on their backs to ruin it now.

(You can see Bombay peeing in his stall.)  I was torn on whether to lock up the other horses.  I didn't think they'd cause trouble because they just wanted to stay cool in the shade, but I didn't trust Bombay and Gabbrielle to not destroy my mounting block when I wasn't looking.  Plus, if a dust devil blew through, they would stampede to avoid getting hit by the debris, so I locked them up.

The heat got so bad and the clouds kept parting around the sun right over my arena.  I was waiting for the clouds to cover the sun, but they weren't cooperating, and Rock was getting anxious.  He was begging me to get that saddle off his back.  So, I dismounted smoothly and by myself, without having to lift or drag my leg with my hands, and led him into the barn aisle to get some shade.  I waited for the sun to go behind the clouds while I adjusted the stirrups.

It turned out that they were all messed up.  One stirrup was shorter than the other.  I wondered how long I'd been riding like that before I noticed the problem.

Just look at that long, thick mane...

That pesky sun wouldn't go away, so I led him to the trailer to be tied so that I could unsaddle him.  My helmet cam caught me tying the lead rope, so I thought I'd post it to show everyone how I tie horses...

This makes it easy to release should the horse get hung up.  My doctor seemed a bit shocked by how much sun I've gotten since most people of the desert hibernate indoors all summer.  I suspect that by the shape I am in, he assumes that I am a couch potato, but I do spend several hours a day doing physical labor outdoors because I own horses, and that results in me getting tanned, burned, blistered, and freckled.

I wanted to get a picture of Rock before getting his tack off, but he kept hiding his head behind the trailer.  So, I untied the rope to back him way up away from the trailer, and this is what he did...

Silly horse threw his head around until the rope came off the trailer.  Of course, as soon as I unsaddled him and put him away, the sun went behind the clouds.  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait for another day to get in a full medicated leg test.

3 comments:

TeresaA said...

I admire your persistence.Rock sounds very sensible. :D

I think I'd be riding at night with those temps!
I wonder if the misaligned stirrups made your leg worse?

Jen said...

Isn't that the way it always is? But you got the ride in, so: Hooray, perseverance rules the day! I haven't ridden at all this summer; I've used up every last bit of energy working outside :oP

Linda said...

Sounds HOT!! I don't do well in heat, so my hat is off to you that you tried your best. Rock's mane is gorgeous!!!