Post Op

I know it has been a while but I swear I have a good reason. Let’s start back with the good stuff. Last weekend our barn hosted a show. There was no primary division at this show so I was not riding Tango, but I did get to ride in a class. A friend of mine, J, has been showing both a schooling horse, Radar, as well as his fancy lease horse Riley in the beginner division. He has been doing well on both of them over fences and was having a hard time deciding who to take in the flat class and since I still qualify for beginners I got to take Radar in the hunter OTF! Who doesn’t love getting to ride new horses! This was extra cool for me because even though both Tango and Radar are thoroughbreds they could not be more different. Tango is very compact where as Radar is taller and super long. I swear he is about 3 feet longer than Tango!

Handsome and very long Radar
Handsome and very long Radar

I really only had time to do one quick WTC in the warm up ring before going in the class. Right from the get go of the walk I was shocked at how different Radar moved from Tango. Radar’s trot was smooth and lofty which was really nice and his canter made me wish I was going in to an eq class with him. His rhythm just lulled you in to the saddle and it took everything I had to actually stay up in a hunter seat!

As we went in my trainer told me that Radar likes to trot around the corners and can have a hard time with his right lead. He definitely wanted to give up a few times but with a little leg he gave me a great ride! He even picked up his right lead like a pro. I had so much fun! We ended up 4th which I was so happy with. Thanks J for letting me ride him!

Now on to the not so good. From my previous posts you know that I have had some back issues. Tuesday morning I was in terrible pain. I was able to shimmy to my couch and called the pain clinic that did my spinal injections back in January. They had told me back then that I could get them every 6 months and I was right about at that time. I scheduled an appointment, laid on the couch and did some work with my laptop on my stomach. About 2 hours later I needed to use the restroom and I tried to crawl to the bathroom. It was very quick that I realized this was not the same back problem as before. My back started spasming with such intense pain that I had never felt before. I did everything that I could to reach my phone and called me cousin, A, who is not only engaged to an amazing neurosurgeon, M, but is also a nurse and surgical sales rep for spinal rods. She told me that it sounded like this was a nerve issue this time and to try to relax on the couch and see if it goes away.

I waited about an hour and it was clear it was not going away and I needed to get to a hospital. A friend came and got Oscar for me and my dad came to take me to the hospital. As soon as he tried to sit me up though, I could not take the pain and we had to call an ambulance. I have never taken one before and for some reason I was so embarrassed by the defeat of having to do this. I got to the ER and they asked me to sit up to determine how much pain killer to give me. Needless to say I did not get up very far. They gave me a shot and told me that once I felt better they would discharge me. I was NOT happy! I wanted some sort of diagnostic tests because I knew this was not right. They waited about 30-40 minutes after the pain killer to ask me to sit up again. I did and OMFG my back started spasming so violently that my entire body seizured! It was so violent that I somehow threw my body sideways and pinned myself on my left side against the railing of the bed with my head, shoulders, and legs hanging off the bed and my legs were kicking like I was running. This seizure lasted for 50 minutes straight. Once it started the nurse quickly put an IV in my hand and gave me another dose of pain meds but it didn’t do anything.

Sometime during the spasm I heard the doctor say that he was going to admit me and get an MRI as soon as possible. DUH?!? I felt like yelling at them that that was what I was asking for from the start! After the MRI, I was taken to my room and was in for a long night. I am so thankful for my nurse that night. There was not much that she could do to take the pain away but she was there for every spasm to hold my hand and made sure I was not alone. M came in my room at 6:30 am on Wednesday and told me that I had a huge herniated disc that was compressing on the nerves in my spinal column and that is why I was having the spasms and that I would be having surgery on Thursday. Technically first he told me that I looked like shit. Lol. M also started me on steroids which helped the inflammation so that my nerve wasn’t compressed as much and while I could not sit up still the random spasms definitely lessened.

Surgery day was finally here and I was ready! I did get a little nervous when they told me that I would have to have a breathing tube to breath for me. I know that this is normal but for some reason that is the thing that scared me most. But before that could happen I needed a new IV. The one the ER put in was too small. The OR nurse said they need to be able to get fluids in me quickly so they needed to put a bigger needle. 3 nurses and 8 sticks later they gave up on getting a bigger needle in and decided to keep my current IV and to add a second smaller IV to double my fluid intake. Let me clarify, this is not the nurses’ fault. My veins do not like IVs and I have always been notoriously difficult to drop an IV in.

Cause 1 IV just isn't cool enough!
Cause 1 IV just isn’t cool enough!

The surgery went well and M was very pleased with result and said he only needed 13 staples. I was up later that night for a walk down the hospital hallway. It was difficult to stand up but once I was up it got easier.

Overall I am very happy but am very sore. I can move around but it is difficult to get up. I cannot lift anything more than 2lb for 2 weeks and I start physical therapy in 3 weeks. The best news is that M said I will be back on a horse in 6 months! I know that seems like a long time but the fact that I will be able to ride again is keeping me going! I did end my lease on Tango which is sad and I will miss him but when I do come back in 6 months I need to make sure I find the right horse that is smoother.

In the meantime I will lay here on my back and get lots of kisses from Oscar!

The best medicine I could have!
The best medicine I could have!
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Hover Trot

Today I am having a love/hate relationship with trainer D. During my Saturday lesson she was really drilling into me to be softer in the saddle when posting. I really thought I was but being both an expert and on the ground she was seeing something different. I was getting frustrated because I always want to do what is best for Tango. Not only is being light the prober way to ride but it is extra important with him since he tends to be back sore. An additional plus is that being light in the saddle will likely also be better on my back.

So going to the left T was nice and quiet, but when we reversed to the right he decided to become a spunky monkey! He was controllable but I was already thinking that jumping was going to be interesting. When he gets in his spunky mood it can turn bad over fences quickly. I really don’t ever think he is malicious he just gets super excited. I have never felt nervous going down a line with him because I KNOW that this horse is going to jump (knock on wood). It is after the out that he throws his head down, grabs the bit, takes control, and runs.

I meant to post this in my horse show post but forgot. I love the teal yarn in his mane!
I meant to post this in my horse show post but forgot. I love the teal yarn in his mane!

We did our normal warm up X then down the line. That was not horrible but we did have a pretty good argument in the corner after the first line. Well time to put a course together. The first course was a simple hunter course ending on the diagonal line headed home which could lead to trouble. So how was he…….. amazing! I feel like it has been nearly a year but he and I have finally clicked and trust each other. He revved himself up going down the lines but was so great that he came right back into my hand after the lines. The 2nd course had a roll back which when he is spunky can be difficult because he wants to go where HE wants to go but he did it with such ease. He even helped balance me when I tipped my shoulder in to the fence. I ended the lesson with a HUGE smile on my face!

This is what happens when you graze a horse you have spoiled with carrots but he deserved them!
This is what happens when you graze a horse you have spoiled with carrots but he deserved them!

After the lesson I cornered trainer D like I do after most lessons. I love that D and S put up with me so much. I always want to know what I can do better and Saturday I needed to talk about how to be lighter in the saddle. I had a great Ah Ha moment when she explained that to when I am posting I really should not even sit back in the saddle and to think about Tango’s back coming up to met me more than I am sitting down on to him. I have decided to name this the hover trot.

Due to work I was not able to ride again until my lesson last night with trainer S.

As I said today I have a love/hate relationship with her. The great training and advice is why I love her but after concentrating on doing the hover trot all lesson last night my body is hating her! Lol. I am so sore! On the plus side S said that I was being lighter and it looked better. As always it is a work in progress.

Jumping last night went really well again. The challenging portion for us was a 2 stride line to the diagonal line home. On a normal horse it would not be that bad but to make the 2 strides with T you have to get him cruising. That is not what is difficult. The difficult part is getting him back to a calmed canter on the diagonal headed home so he doesn’t get too strong and run. Did I say that was difficult? T stepped up to do the 2 stride and immediately S yelled to us to now calm down.  I could feel him wanting to take control but I sat up and quietly told him “easy bub” and his body relaxed got our strides down that line, courtesy circled and done! Like Saturday the 2nd course had rollback but this one was tighter. He nailed it!

Ok I will stop now because I sound like I am bragging. That is not it at all I am just so proud of that horse and the bond we are creating.

And you thought you were having a bad hair day!
And you thought you were having a bad hair day!
Stampede thought it was fun to pick up the step ladder.
Stampede thought it was fun to pick up the step ladder.