Chance, the Nearly Perfect Horse
I rode. That is nearly enough to say. I am so delighted.
The weather was nearly perfect, and I decided today was the day. I did not have someone else here to help, but I did take my cell phone out in my jacket pocket, so in case I needed help, I could call someone.
I picked the nearly perfect Chance as my mount of choice. He is by far the quietest of my Boys and hardly every gets too excited about things. I fit him well too, which makes a difference to my knees. When they were still bad, I was most comfortable on him.
He was a little fussy about standing next to the high mounting platform, so I had to work him just a bit to get him where I needed him to stand. That platform is really a little high for mounting him as I almost have to go down to get on--not quite but it's definitely not up. Next time, I will do some thigh stretching before I get on as I had a little trouble swinging my right leg over his back. Bless his heart that when my foot brushed his rump, he didn't even flinch.
Once in the saddle, I had to find the stirrups and that too took a few seconds. But Chance's motion massaged my legs just enough and by the time we were on the other side of the arena I had both feet in the stirrups and felt just fine. I've ridden enough without stirrups that it's usually no big deal, but I didn't want to risk too much of that first time out in a while.
I did not feel any pain in my knees beyond the little ache from their stiffness--still a little swelling in there. My surgeon had told me I might feel pain on the inside of each knee, but it just wasn't there. I fact, I felt pretty darn good.
We walked a few times around in each direction and then I decided to try some posting trot. Wonderful! My knees worked perfectly and it felt like just the right kind of exercise for them. We only went around in a large circle twice in each direction, but it was just right for a first time out.
I worried a bit about dismounting, but the little bit of riding had loosened me up and I was able to take Chance to the center of the arena and do a proper dismount with no problem whatsoever.
I gave him a huge "Thank you" hug and a second later, burst into tears. The enormity of the whole thing--bad knees, the decision for surgery, surgery, recovery, and now riding again--hit me all at once. And here was this sweet, gentle horse, unridden for perhaps five months, behaving like a perfect angel for me. (Well, I fib here. Twice Chance slowed WAY down when we got to the gate to the woods. He wanted to go on a trail ride, and I had to persuade him we were only going to stay in the arena today....maybe a short one tomorrow??)
After I finished up with Chance and gave him his first carrot, I captured Tucker and gave him a very short lunge session. I'm sure he will be fine to ride as well, but he is a little more unpredictable than Chance so I will wait a bit until I feel a little more certain about my physical abilities.
After the lunge session, everyone, including Chance, got a carrot. I told Tucker his was for being such a good boy, and I told Toby his was just for being himself. Chance? Well, one more "thank you" seemed appropriate.