The View from Up Here

My big news is that I have gotten back in the saddle! And I cannot express how excited I am that my return is on the one and only amazing JB! As you know from my last post it has been 8 months since my butt has sat in a saddle and it has been a LONG 8 months! While my core strength is not where I want it I could no longer last without riding.

JB View
Oh how I have missed this view!

If you have ever felt the pain that I did you will understand why I was so scared to try riding but if you are reading this blog you are probably like me and understand that my insides would not heal without being able to ride. Riding is just part of who we are. That drive out weighed my fear and I asked my trainer, S, 3 weeks ago if she had anyone that I could ride. This was a tricky decision because I definitely needed a horse that was super smooth and would be tolerant of my atrophy of equitation skills. Lol. While I absolutely adore and love Tango I am afraid that his gait is part of what lead to my back issue so he was out of the question besides he has a great new partner right now. S’s horse, Newman, has been broken for some time from too much play in the pasture so he was out. Our schooling pool is very pony rich but only 4 horses. And of those that we do have; Rusty is way too bumpy, Pie is amazingly smooth but she has a full lesson schedule so it would not be fair to add another rider to her, Radar is decently smooth but busy like Pie, and then there is Willy but he older and for the little kids. My booty would be mean to him. Lol. I got a little frustrated but I understood and knew it would be hard to find the right one.

My jaw dropped when I got a text from S a few days later that said “Do you want to ride JB?” To understand why my jaw dropped I need to give you background on JB. He came to our barn in September and is being leased by A. The first time I noticed him in the pasture I just remember my eyes getting huge and I think I drooled a little!

on JB
The amazingly handsome mammoth, JB!

JB is a 17.2 10 year old warmblood. He has done everything from 2’6” hunters to the 1.35 meter jumpers. A will be showing him in the 3’6” jumpers and open eq. I got to see A jump him in a clinic held at our barn in November and I was in awe of his athletic ability! A is amazing with him and fearless! I remember commenting that I was in love but at the same time I am not sure I could ever imagine feeling confident on such an athlete. Granted I will not be jumping him but even sitting on him was like a dream!

I am starting slow with just once a week only walking and trotting. I will talk about maiden ride in my next post. Today I just wanted to show off this handsome mammoth!

JB Selfie
Selfies are hard when you have a giant head!
JB Creeper
I was hanging out at A’s lesson when I felt someone watching me and turned around to see JB creeping on me from behind a standard! Lol
Oscar Feet
Oscar had to prove that JB isn’t the only animal creeper in my life. LOL

I’mmmmmm Baaaaaack!

Hello Blog World! I am back! Sorry I have left you for so long but it has been a quiet and depressing 8 months. Trust me you would not have wanted constant updates during this time. After my back surgery I was up and down emotionally. Both my neurosurgeon and my physical therapist felt that I could get back to riding “someday” but were not sure if jumping would be sustainable in my future. I had to wait 3 weeks post-surgery before I could even start PT.

When I did start I was doing 3 days a week and eventually bumped up to 4 days a week. I will admit that PT was frustrating. I am used to healing quickly. In fact when I had my knee surgery my physical therapist told me that I was one of only 2 patients he had ever had pedal a bike both backward and forward on their first session. FYI the other guy was a semi-pro football player. I told him that he must have had any equestrians as patients before me cause we are one tough breed. 😉

But this time recovery was slow. I started in the pool literally just walking through the water. I told my therapist that I didn’t think it was challenging enough but she told me it had to be slow for a reason. Eventually I came out of the water and at that time a friend of mine hurt his ankle and had to have PT as well. Randomly he not only picked my place but had my therapist as well. Twice a week she had us both at the same time and I am pretty sure that she wanted to pull her hair out. My friend and I are both very competitive and bicker like we are siblings. It made the sessions go faster for us but she threatened to change our schedules on more than one occasion so that we were not together. Unfortunately, due to insurance reasons PT did not last as long as my therapist and I wanted. She sent me on my way with a list of exercises to do and a “good luck!” I did ask her when she thought I could ride. She said that she could not make that decision without seeing my future progress but not to even consider it until April. That was October.

Another interesting thing happened in October. ***If your get grossed out easily skip this paragraph.*** I found out after my first knee surgery that I was allergic to “normal” stitches when my incision split open from the inside. Turns out the stitches didn’t dissolve and my knee was majorly infected. I had to have emergency surgery to go back in and clean out the whole thing. Scary! But even scarier is an infection on your spine. I forgot to mention to my surgeon that I am allergic to stitches so when I came out of surgery with staples I breathed a sigh of relief. Um yeah, I didn’t think about the fact that I had internal stiches.  I was petrified when the incision on my back became fire engine red and split open. Turns out I had 12 internal stitches that my body was rejecting. Luckily, they were much closer to the surface of my body than my those that were in my knee and my body actually “spit” them out. The gross part was when I would feel the end of one break through my skin, I had to pull it out. The worst was when I was in a meeting at a conference in Vegas and pulled 2 out. I had to slyly hide them in a napkin and put another napkin on my back and hope the blood didn’t soak into my work clothes! If anyone noticed they were gracious enough not to mention it.

Gross talk over.

In the meantime I continued to eat like I did when I was very active. Actually to be honest I think I ate more out of depression. So no big surprise that I put on weight. But I re-joined Weight Watchers in January and I have lost 26 lbs! I do not know what I weighed at the end of last summer but according to the way my clothes fit now I must weigh the same. Which is still fatty status but I am still working on it. 🙂

The last 8 months have been tough. I went through a hermit phase where I barely went to the barn at all. It was very difficult to see all my friends riding and do the things that I can’t. It was a lose-lose situation. I missed the horses but got depressed when I went out. I know that some people could not understand my absence but at least one person at the barn understood. Her and I talked about a time when she was injured badly and wasn’t sure if a comeback would truly be possible. I didn’t stay away cause I no longer loved the horses. I stayed away cause it was too sad to think that I might not get back to where I was.

Where am I at today though…… I still wake up stiff every day but I have found that if I do my work out first thing in the morning it loosens my back. Bending over is still tough and can be painful but I am working on strengthening my core. I can’t sit very long without pain but work bought me an awesome standing desk which let’s face it is better than sitting regardless of back issues. I still have the cutest, most wonderful and special dog in the whole world! (Can’t have a post and not mention Oscar.) Tango is being leased by a 16 year old girl who is an amazing partner for him. I am very happy for the both of them. I do have some big news but this post is getting quite long so I think I will announce that later……………