Six Months In The Saddle

At the end of February it will have been six months since I started riding again with my new hip so I thought it was about time I looked back on what Pea and I have achieved in that time.  There are lots of links to past posts in case you have missed any!

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September (Month 1)

In all honesty, in September the key achievement was getting on and staying there for more than ten minutes!  I found it really hard to sit in the saddle in the first place although it gradually got better as each ride went on and each time I rode.  By the end of the month I managed to trot my way round an Intro dressage test for Dressage Riders Online.

October (Month 2)

I found riding quite mentally challenging in October because I felt guilty about how little I was doing.  I was still only riding for ten to fifteen minutes at a time.  However, at the end of October, I cantered for the first time since my operation.  It was very uncomfortable!

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November (Month 3)

At the beginning of November we took Pea to Lyneham for my first lesson in about six months.  My instructor rode Pea for a while and then I did and I went away feeling on top of the world.  I had a few weeks of feeling really good about my riding (although I was still finding cantering really challenging).  However, at the end of the month I had a bump in the road where I was in pain again.

December (Month 4)

After feeling so positive about my riding for most of November, December was a bit of a flop!  I had a really good lesson at the start but then I was away house sitting and had two bouts of feeling really grotty so I didn’t do much ‘proper’ riding.  I did do a Christmas yard hack into Bourton on the Water to sing a Christmas song in the river and take my boyfriend for a ride on Christmas day.

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January (Month 5)

January was a much better month for riding.  I took on the Bronze Top Barn Challenge which meant I rode (or did groundwork with Pea) for at least three hours each week.  I also entered and completed my first competition with my new hip (which was also our first competition away from home and in an indoor arena) and had another amazing lesson with my instructor.  Everything was a bit disconnected and wonky at the competition but Pea started working so nicely in my lesson and I finally felt like she was starting to accept the contact and become supple.  This continued when I was schooling at home too and I was strong and comfortable enough to be riding for longer.  I’ve certainly found that a longer warm up has been beneficial and the difference in my leg since my hip replacement has meant that I’m still comfortable enough to keep going afterwards!

February (Month 6)

February was meant to bring my second competition of the year and my step back up to prelim (which I was competing at before my hip replacement) but first we had snow and then the equine flu saga exploded so I haven’t been out competing and I haven’t been out for any lessons.  It has been really frustrating because I feel like things were just starting to fall together and now they are on hold HOWEVER Pea has been schooling really nicely at home.  She is a lot more off my leg and seems to be working more correctly.  The big achievement this month has been our hacking.  I haven’t always been confident about hacking but this month I have been going out for 60/70 minute hacks ON MY OWN (with Pea!)  A massive achievement for me.

Next Steps

I’m hoping to get back out again in March providing my yard owner is happy for that to happen.  I want to be confidently riding prelims with passable canter movements by the time the summer comes so lots of practice, some lessons and trying out some more competition venues is on the ‘to do’ list.

Along For The Ride – Life On Localised Lockdown

Today should have been a ‘February Dressage’ post but due to the equine flu scare, I am not currently going to lessons or competitions.  I know people have been saying that the whole thing has been blown out of proportion but I couldn’t forgive myself if I went out somewhere and took the flu back to the 30 other horses at my yard (most of whom never go anywhere outside of hacking into the nearest villages).  So that is all I’m doing, local hacking and schooling at home.

It has been four weeks since my last lesson and I’ve been getting worried that all the schooling work is going to go downhill if we don’t have a lesson to set us on our way with the next steps.  So far that hasn’t happened and Pea went better on Friday than ever before but I’m trying not to do too much schooling just in case!

I did a couple of little hacks into the closest village on my own this week and have been feeling increasingly brave.  I decided that this morning I would venture a bit further and hack round both local villages.  This may not sound like an achievement but hacking on my own is something I have only become more comfortable with recently.  And when I say recently, I mean pretty much this week!

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Pea used to be a bit spooky, sometimes nappy and certainly more forward when out on her own but this morning she was the epitome of the popular dealer phrase ‘dope on a rope’.  I’m sure this is because I’m more chilled out now than I used to be.  A classic example of how horses feed on your feelings.

Now that solo hacks don’t make me stress every second I actually found going out for over an hour a little lonely!  I could have done with some music or a podcast to keep my brain entertained (though I would never ride with headphones in on the road).  I certainly noticed the many many people out walking and enjoying the beautiful (almost) spring day!

To join me for the ride.. click play.

 

How do you feel about hacking solo? 

I then did brave act of the day number 2.. turned Pea out without her rug on.  It has got warmer this week and Pea is starting to shed some of her winter fluff so I decided the time was right for her to shed the raincoat too.  I’m sure I will regret this in the morning but hey, it is half term, I’ve got time for major brushing each day!

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What is your horse’s rug situation?  Have you changed their rugs for lighter ones or ditched the rugs altogether?

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