Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

May the holiday find you good grazing wherever you may be.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Sat in the Saddle

Good News.Bad News, Sort Of
Weather was warm today so, after about a 40 minute walk around the tree farm and cornfield--where I picked up left over corn for squirrels--I first lunged Chance to see how he looked.

Aside from the hind leg with the OCD stifle, he looked pretty sound. Now this is with just wedge pads and regular shoes in the front instead of the egg bar shoes.

So, I saddled him up and headed back out to the arena for a test ride.

Well, it was much better than the last time I tried. Pain still from stretching my inner thigh muscles, however. That limited how I could use my leg for any kinds of cues. Still, it wasn't agony, but I certainly would not have wanted to try a trail ride.

Now, I have been stretching my legs all summer, and within the last week stretching again in the pool. I also started using some of the machines at the gym, but only one day on my own. (The trainer set me up and had me work a little on Saturday.)  All is well and good with that...

BUT:  There is not a single exercise that I have done that really prepares the body for riding. Mind you, I am a bit limited with the exercises I can do with my replaced knees and still recovering hip but, it's simply not the same thing.

I am truly surprised at this. Having ridden for over 50 years of my life, I would think I would have a natural ability to sit in a saddle, but once again, that hip injury and the mode of recovery just wasn't "horse shape" friendly.  And not one of those darn machines in the gym requires me to use my "horse shape" muscles the right way.

So it's back to the barrel in the back yard.

So that's the half of it. The other half is Chance. He lunged pretty sound, but when I trotted just a little bit in the arena, He has a definite limp. Not being in shape enough myself to ride the trot long enough to sort it all out, I'm not quite sure if it's that hind leg alone, or some discomfort in the front. As I said, he lunged sound, so it's more likely my weight on his back and that hind leg problem.

Again, no point in making a huge deal of it at the moment. We only rode around the arena for five or ten minutes at the most, just testing things out. As usual, Chance headed straight for the gate out to the woods, telling me he was up for a trail ride.

So, plan B for tomorrow is:  Go for swim/exercise.  Sit on barrel and stretch. Then ride for a bit, perhaps going out for a very short jaunt in the woods in this lovely warm weather.

As Scarlett said, "Tomorrow is another day."

Kitty update:  Kittens are coming out to eat. The darker gray one is still much bolder. I am now suspicious they are much younger than I suspected and that they were not actually weaned until very recently. I bought some dry kitten food for them as well as more canned food today.  I'll just keep working on the taming process.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Cat and Hip Progress

Four Reasons to Smile

The stray cat and her two kittens seem to be getting used to me. Dusky, the mom, now greets me in the morning, meows and will actually eat the food while I sit about four feet away talking to her. She is "thinking" about approaching me, but isn't quite secure enough yet.

This morning, for the first time, the two kittens came out into the open to eat with her while I was there. The charcoal gray one, Shadow, is braver then the little light gray striped kitten, Slip, but both ate with their mom while I was there. (Will try to get some pictures soon.)

Slow but sure progress on the way to making them sociable barn kitties. I am hoping I will not have to set traps to catch them for vet/neuter/shots, etc, but we will see.  We're supposed to have some warm weather this week so it's good for sitting out there for taming.

And smile #4?

My doctor cleared me for "unrestricted" activity with my hip.  This sent me right off to the NewYork Sports Club to start my membership with a swim.

Now, I know I can swim at the County College pool for free, but it is some 15-16 miles away. The Sports Club is only 8 miles from home and I can use a back road to get there. The college? Heavily traveled US 1 and the very busy town of Edison, Route 514.  Of course, if I have a substituting job, I'll already be at the College, so I will swim there. Meanwhile the Sports Club is the answer.

The pool there has four lanes, and the whole complex is very clean and well run. There is another Sports Club--LA Fitness--with a pool just across the highway, but that one costs a bit more and most reviews give the NY Club better marks for cleanliness.

At any rate, I've been swimming three times so far and love it.

Yesterday, I got my complimentary trainer consultation and Mike, the trainer with a Physical Therapy background, showed me how to used the exercise machines he recommended. He also made up a fitness regimen for me to follow. I'm not sure I will be dedicated enough to do it, but I will at least try.

I would like to work with him once a week too, but I can't afford it. Personal training sessions are nearly $100 for each. When you think about what a good riding lesson costs here in NJ, that's not unreasonable. My Physical Therapy sessions are at least that much too, but my medical insurance pays for them. It would not pay for that--at least not yet. There are, apparently, some insurance programs that do cover some of the gym costs for senior citizens, but my otherwise excellent coverage does not. I am going to look into the possibility of perhaps one session a month, but so far, using the website, I can't find out how much that program would cost.

So, in the meantime, I am going to work out on my own.

And I plan on trying some riding soon, maybe even this afternoon. Right now I want to get on a horse to see how it feels. That way, if something hurts, I will know what I need to stretch or strengthen in order to ride.

As I said, we are supposed to get some warm weather this week, so it would be a good time to get into the saddle. Physically, the warmth will help my muscles and Chance will also be feeling good about it.

No plans to ride Tucker until I am fit again, although I will start working him on the lunge/long lines. Our trail riding days are done, I fear, but I will take him out for hand walks in the woods for a change of scenery.

Gone are the days of mad, frolicking rides in the fields and trails as I did when I had my Russell R. Older, wiser, and not quite the girl I used to be, I am a cautious equestrian instead.