Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Getting old sucks, but it sure beats the alternative...

After our fab ride on the final day of 2010, I was so looking forward to starting 2011 in the same way. Something about the symmetry appealed to me. We were expecting temps in the sixties, sunny with no wind. I had plans to ride, and afterwords start moving the composted manure to it's next location, my first garden on the new property. Basically a whole day spent at the barn.

Instead, when I woke up Saturday morning, my injured knee had swollen up overnight to the size of a softball. It was super stiff - no straightening or bending, and very uncomfortable to walk on. Out of commission. I spent the day, other than walking the girls and taking care of Val, on the sofa, eating handsful of ibuprofren + icing and elevating my knee. (which apparently I should have done from the start!) I had worked and ridden twice since I hurt it with not much ill effect. I definitely didn't realize the extent of the problem.

Enforced idleness is hard for me. And sitting on my butt all day gave me plenty of time to think. To think about aging... about how much time there is left to accomplish my riding goals... will physical limitations slow me down, or stop me? Heck, not only my riding might be affected, but my ability to take care of Val. How long will I be able to sling 60 lb bales of hay, 50 lb bags of feed, or even lift my saddle to tack up? I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it, and I hope that it is still far in the future. I've been fortunate to have exceptionally good health up to now. My confinement to the couch reinforced the importance of preserving it.

So, since I didn't put a leg over Val this weekend, I'm going to savor Friday's ride. We breezed through our warm-up. Val was super relaxed - snorting and blowing from the get go. We achieved some lovely forward walking - eight on a scale of ten. Smooth transitions. And finally, gorgeous, energetic trot work where Val was round. Working over his back, using his core, and reaching.

It occurs to me the less than ideal footing I've been complaining almost non-stop about reticent to do much trot work in probably has a lot to do with it. The sand in our arena is so deep in some places that Val has to engage his core and use his back just to move through it. It's a good workout. I can barely push the manure cart there.

This was the first ride where I've felt the possibility of what Val and I can do dressage-wise. A glimpse of how it will be when we put it all together. And it felt great. I can't wait for our next ride.

9 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm sorry to hear about your knee. Hope it heals quickly. At your age I don't think I would be worrying about how long you'll be able to keep doing what your doing now. When you get to be my age, that's the time to start worrying. For now just enjoy yourself and don't over think things.

It's good you had a great ride to reflect on over the weekend and I'm sure there are many more to come.

dressagerider said...

I hope that you have a speedy recovery and as Grey Horse said savor that awesome ride but there will be more in your future.

billie said...

Take care of that knee! And don't forget about my retirement farm where we will have a Very Tall Mounting Area so that even as aging goddesses, we will still be able to ride. :)

Shannon said...

Good luck with your knee. It's hard to rest that type of injury, it seems like every single movement somehow involves your knees.

Glad you had a good ride, though. It's those moments that keep you going!

BrazenKing said...

This post made me think of enjoying being young. Maybe I'm taking being young for granted. I should really start enjoying life more often!
I hope your knee gets better!!
And good work with Val. I remember when I finally got Howard rounded and using his back!

Jessie McCandless said...

Sorry to hear about your knee. I have troubles with my back and couldn't even walk or drive myself anywhere for a month a couple of years ago. It drives me crazy, too--I want to go, go, go, and it makes me fearful of not being able to take care of my animals properly. So, it gives me incentive to really try to take better care of myself than I would do normally. Not much you can do about a flare-up, but hopefully I won't be as careless as I have been in the past.

Take care and I hope you get to feeling better very soon! Sounds like your riding is going very well. Can't wait to hear more!

Rachel said...

I have often had these same thoughts myself... especially since I came to riding later in life than I would have liked. So, I have something for you
http://www.americancowgirl.com/blog/2008/07/01/connie-reeves-at-101-was-still-riding-every-day/

Check out his link and let me know what you think... :)

Annette said...

Take care of your knee. Wishing you more great rides in 2011.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Thanks you guys!

I freak out at anything that threatens my independence, so I was probably being extra dramatic about the knee. I'm not ready to be put out to pasture yet ;)

Rachel - I love that there are women still riding at the century mark - super inspiring!!

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