19 for 2019 (Facts About Us)

It is a new year and I think it is a good opportunity to introduce myself, Pea and our blog to followers old and new. Here are 19 key pieces of information to get you up to speed!

  1. My name is Poppy!
  2. I am 27 years old
  3. I live in the Cotswolds with my boyfriend and two guinea pigs Peter and Patrick
  4. I work in primary education
  5. I have UKCC equestrian coaching qualifications (which I don’t currently use) and a horse care diploma (which helps me to look after my precious pony!)
  6. I started properly riding 5 years ago after childhood hip problems (Perthes Disease) restricted my activity options when I was younger
  7. I now have a ceramic left hip (as of June 2018)33a757f8-1f48-446a-9e89-5dc267ac27e9
  8. My pony’s normal name is Pea but her posh name is Scarlet Sweetpea
  9. She is 14hh
  10. She is passported as a Welsh Cob but has gypsy origins!
  11. She is 13 according to her passport but could be several years either side of that
  12. She is barefoot (and always has been so it is not something I have changed)
  13. I started riding her at my yard (Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre) 4 and a half years ago and then bought her 3 years ago
  14. She lives at the same yard that I bought her from (although we did move for a while) and lives out 24/7
  15. My chosen discipline is dressage and we hope to do more of it this year 42867B0F-2D8B-48B1-9806-399F9DEB9C27.jpeg
  16. I started my blog to share my experience of having a hip replacement at 26 and returning to riding afterwards
  17. I put out a new blog every weekend
  18. I have an Instagram, Facebook page and Twitter feed linked to my blog if you want to see more photos and tales
  19. Most of the video footage and photos of both of us were taken by our top supporter, my non horsey boyfriend

Back In The Saddle Dilemmas!

As I said in Week Ten/Day One I’m back in the saddle. After my initial upset at how much I’m having to start from scratch and how painful and uncomfortable my first ride was, things have improved gradually. On my second ride I trotted, on my third ride I managed ten minutes, on my fourth I hacked out and on my fifth.. well the achievement was that I’d ridden the day before and I was able to ride again!  Slowly but surely my leg is starting to hug Pea’s side rather than stick out awkwardly and my body is starting to remember what to do (whether it is doing it or not is another matter!)

It has been quite a challenge to reprogramme the part of my brain that thought once I was riding again I’d be able to just crack on. At the moment I have short stirrups and eye-sore heels (as you can see below), my bum is nowhere near as deep in the saddle as it needs to be, my riding sessions are very short and the idea of riding five times a week is a pipe dream! Pushing the negatives aside, as I said – it is all getting better every time I ride even if the pictures aren’t showing that!

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The question is – what should I be doing? My physio has advised me to walk as much as I can and I am meant to be strengthening my muscles, in particular my core. She also gave me permission to ride which is meant to be helping me to stop collapsing through my left side (as I am doing below!) The problem is, every ride involves lots of walking in order to get Pea and turn her out after which hurts and tires me out and the riding does the same. I don’t know if it is possible to quantify the right amount of walking and riding for where I am in my recovery right now. The old adage of listening to my body isn’t working – if I listened to my body I wouldn’t be doing much at all which completely goes against the idea of building my strength. I don’t know where to draw the line!

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My next physio appointment which was meant to be next week has been pushed back to the beginning of October (due to staff training) but I am seeing my surgeon a week tomorrow.  In the meantime I will just have to try to achieve a middle ground between what I want to do and doing nothing!  Putting my worries to the back of my mind – I’m just happy to be back on board!

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My Last Week Of Pony Freedom

In my last post (https://younghipandhorsey.com/2018/06/11/positive-thoughts/) I said that I has plans for making the most of my last ‘normal’ week with Pea.  It didn’t quite go to plan!  I really wanted to put all of our progress into practise at a dressage competition so I booked ourselves up for a Prelim test at Rectory Farm.  I have always been lucky with Pea, she is generally in good health with the exception of her weight issues.  In true typical horse style though, on Tuesday, the day of the dressage competition, this is what I found at the yard..

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I’m not going to lie, I was immensely disappointed.  I really wanted to be able to say that we had gone out and done something before all my time off started.  I am fully aware that horses can carry on with only one eye but if you had a swollen, itchy eye, would you want to go in a trailer to a place where you had never been before and do a dressage test?  I wouldn’t.  As much as I am becoming more confident and ambitious, my pony’s welfare comes first.

The second grand plan for the week was to have a reunion hack with my old (not old at all) hacking buddy, Rachel.  A couple of years ago we were regular hacking buddies, we used to go out for slow and steady hacks in the evening when noone else was around and gossip about our lives whilst enjoying pony time in the sunshine!  I’m sure she won’t mind me saying that she wasn’t the most confident rider either so it worked well for us to ride together.  Exams and life got in the way for her and she stopped leasing.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy hacking with lots of different people but when I have been working until late and ride out in the evening when noone else is around, I miss the casual pace of our rides.  It was a long time coming but this Thursday we managed a reunion ride!

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I decided that Thursday’s hack would be my last ride before the operation.  I feel like I need to be well rested by Tuesday, I can’t risk hurting myself at this late stage and actually, I have aways been a firm believer that there is more to being involved with horses than riding.  I like nothing better than just being with Pea and the other horses at Bourton Vale.  I’m not going to be able to sit in the field and just enjoy the view for a while so I have been making the most of it.  Doesn’t she look fantastic in her new fly mask?

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In other news, Whiskey, the horse who built my confidence from absolutely nothing to something I could work with (https://younghipandhorsey.com/2018/05/13/riding-how-it-all-started/)  has returned to the yard after being away as a companion.  Just like Pea, she started life as a gypsy pony and seeing them together in the field makes me think of how far they have come and how far I have come!  And if Whiskey can cope with having had burns to her chest (from long before we had her) and losing an eye (having had a tumour in it), a little hip replacement should be no problem for me!

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The next couple of months is going to be a very different ball game when it comes to me having ‘pony time’.  Fingers crossed I can work around the hip precautions and the crutches!

 

Riding – How It All Started

There is no denying I was a very lucky little girl.  My parents took me to riding lessons when I was about five.  I remember going riding with my big brother and sister and a little pony called Nan.  We even had a pony to stay at our farm when I was about six.  When we moved to Devon my mum found a new riding school.  I used to ride a grey pony called Tom – he was one of those ponies who was best off on the end of a rope but I loved it.  I vividly remember the excitement of jodhpurs, my very own riding hat and desperately wanting a pair of riding boots!

tom

As I said in my previous post, all that horsey loveliness came to an end when I was diagnosed with Perthes.  I never lost the love for ponies.  Recently I went through all the kept paper and schoolwork from my childhood and I clearly used to draw ponies a lot!  I read horsey books, I played with toy horses, I played with a rocking horse and hobby horses and, rather embarrassingly, had a long term game with my sister involving invisible imaginary horses!  Between seven and twenty one I probably rode three times – much begged for birthday treats generally!

The desire had never left me but life went on.  When I finished university I got a real, proper, full time job and was suddenly earning actual money.  This also coincided with a number of a dates with a boy.  The story goes that on one date we were driving through the country and talking about his friends who had horses, I expressed my love for horses and desire to ride and his reply was

‘If you love horses and riding so much why don’t you just do it’.

That guy was insignificant but the words were not.  I booked a riding lesson!

The first place that I went to I wasn’t fully sold on, I went there twice and knew that riding was still for me but not necessarily there.  I then went to a new place where I started having weekly lessons.  Monday evenings were the highlight of my week, made even more special by the fact that my lesson was the last of the night so I was able to untack my horse and feed it.  I will never forget my first canter and the immense sense of achievement I felt at each small improvement.

After a few months I wanted more, I found a third riding stables (Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre) which offered hacking as well as lessons.  After two hacks there I discovered the concept of ‘leasing’ – essentially a paid commitment resulting you being able to ride a certain horse whenever you want to and to treat it as your own – I jumped straight in.

To cut a long story short, I had an unfortunate fall out on a hack off the first horse I leased.  My confidence was crippled.  I had the opportunity to swap horses and I did but that still didn’t work – I just couldn’t leave the yard on horseback.  Eventually the yard owner asked the ultimate question

‘Do you actually want to do it?  If you actually want to do it I can help’.

And she did.  I was given the option to ride the old queen of the yard Whiskey.  It worked!

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The next stage was slowly but surely swapping from Whiskey to Pea.  By Easter 2014 I was leasing a pony I was comfortable with but who still ultimately gave me enough challenges!  We did the riding centre summer show, we entered  the dressage competitions held at the yard, we went on fun rides and it was all wonderful.

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