Saturday, November 05, 2011

Back in the Saddle

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.


  1. I am so glad you're back in the saddle! There's no stopping you now. I'm glad to hear that you had such a great ride with a trusted partner.

    There have been so many times when the enormity and the inconsistencies of my life have overwhelmed me, but my horses have always been my rock. They are a constant in my life, and they never mind the tears I cry into their manes. They are true partners, aren't they?

  2. Jean, I can't tell you how happy I am for you! Congratulations on your ride today with Chance. What a special horse he is too. I'm glad it all went so well. I can appreciate how emotional you were after all you went through. The truth is it all gets better and better and with no pain there's nothing you can't accomplish.

    I have the same problem with the tall mounting block, sort of going down to mount instead of up but we've worked it out over time. I've found a good solution to the stirrups by purchasing the ones that can be turned in three positions to make it easier to get your foot in. Seems like you did pretty well though. Again, so happy for you.

  3. Yay!! You're back in the saddle. Congratulations on a successful first ride back -

  4. Why is Chance so good? Because he trusts you and understands you. Now I have a tear in my eye too. What is it about these horses?!?!

    You did it!!! You got on and off and rode. Amazing! You must be so excited!

  5. I am so happy for you. Big BRAVO to Chance for being such level-headed horse but is half paint, isn't he? ^-^

    Great success for yoru surgery, have you told your doctor? I bet he will be ahppy to hear about it *grin*

  6. Yeaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!

    Well done you.



  7. excellent news! glad it all went well!