And So I Start All Over Again
Right now, both my knees feel about the same, so the left one has pretty much recovered from my fall. I'm not sure how it will be after I go out to feed the Boys, or after a bit of walking around, but so far, so good.
I did find the last couple days rather interesting. Not doing a lot of walking for the two weeks of my recovery was not good for either leg. My right one had gotten pretty stiff and gave me so pain again. Nothing too terrible, but certainly a setback from where I was before I went off my horse. Just goes to show how quickly our muscles will lose their strength if not properly exercised.
It makes me think of horses...what doesn't? In particular, of horses kept in the stall for most of the time. I've heard of many situations where perfectly sound horses are in the barn all the time except for the hour or so they are exercised or ridden. Aside from being incredibly boring for their minds, what does it do to their bodies?
In a natural setting, the horse is a grazing, relatively nomadic animal. Even on the lushest grass, you will see a horse move about from place to place as it eats. You will also see a horse take off an run for no reason at all except to move at speed. I was told my PJ used to walk all the way to the far end of the pasture at one boarding stable and then gallop back several times a day, as if he were engaged in some kind of self-exercise program.
Now, I do understand that some horses need specialized turnout--individual or limited--due to personality or physical issues, but that is most often the exception. Personally, I believe a horse needs to be in a herd situation, or at least with a buddy, turned out for the better part of every day in order to be healthy, sound, and content. Otherwise, it's just not natural.
And here's where the lesson of my knees come into the equation. If two weeks of limited activity made my legs weaker, what would days of confinement in a stable do to a horse's legs/muscles? Somehow I can't imagine that an hour or so of exercise can quite make up for hours of freedom and movement in turnout.
My Boys have 24/7 turnout here. Sometimes they are muddy messes, sometimes they just hang out in the stalls and run in sheds instead of wandering about the paddocks. Tucker loses shoes, and turnout sheets get ripped. Now and again we get hoof abscesses (this year was a bad one), and dings and cuts and scrapes. My Boys rarely look acey deucy "show ready," on an average day, but they do seem happy.
I'd rather have that than a perfectly groomed horse any day.