Monday, September 22, 2008

Lots of progress

Yesterday, I decided to try a longer ride on Tanna. My goal was 15 miles or 3 hours, whichever was less. I also had the goal to trot for 15 minutes in a single stretch.

So I saddled Tanna up with his Specialized saddle. This time I also used his regular woolback saddle pad since we were going to be out for a longer time frame than the week day rides. I also used his normal mohair string girth.

I put on my ankle brace from the doctor and my thick soled hiking boot on my left leg/foot. I wore my regular riding shoe on my right foot.

Off we went up and over the hill nearby. I asked for a trot on the up-hill. After 4 miles of going up and down the hills, I headed out on the flat to practice trotting. I was happy to find that I could trot for 20 minute sessions! So I trotted for 20 minutes or so and then walked for 5, with my leg out of the stirrup just resting.

By the time we got back home, we had been out for 3 hours and 15.75 miles! I was very pleased with our progress. Also, for almost 30 minutes, we were stopped talking to various neighbors, so that made me happy that we were still able to keep to the pace I had set.

After I got home and got Tanna taken care of, I iced my leg for awhile and babied it for the rest of the day.

Tanna was great during the ride. He got a good workout, too. I was disappointed to see a girth gall when I pulled his saddle, though. Not bad, but enough to show a problem. So I ordered a Toklat woolback girth cover. Hopefully, that will prevent this in the future.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Physical Therapy

Yesterday, I went to my surgeon for a follow-up visit. I wanted a smaller brace that would fit in my shoe and thus my stirrup. The one I bought at Amazon was not going to cut it.

As usual, the visit began with new x-rays.
One of the x-ray rooms at MTB&J

Then we sat in the room waiting for Dr. McCall.
Waiting for doctor

When he arrived, he said my thumb bone has completely healed. Yahoo!! My leg, however, is still in pieces. That's pretty normal at this stage.

He could see that my ROM wasn't very good. I have been walking and putting weight on the leg, but neglecting my ROM exercises. So he decided it was time to send me to Physical Therapy. He gave me a referral to a place in Cool Springs.

Dr. McCall remembered that I was planning to do the National Championships and scheduled my next surgery for after that.

My first physical therapy appointment this morning went well. The PT said I wasn't doing too badly. She took some measurements of my good leg and thumb and then checked how my bad limbs were doing. Something to work toward. Then she went through several exercises to show me how to stretch out the muscles and tendons. She wants to see me a couple times a week and wants me to do the exercises 1 or 2 times a day.

After I got home from work, I saddled Tanna up for a ride. I was able to trot some a decent amount. I did a couple of 5+ minute stretches of trotting at a medium speed! Did a total of 4.3 miles in an hour. Not quite endurance speed yet, but getting there. We did some hill work (such as we can do) and I felt he got a workout, too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

First Trot

Today, after work, I saddled up Tanna for a walk over the neighborhood small hill. I was using a new brace I'd picked up from Amazon.com and a thick soled hiking boot. With this set-up, I was able to use my own stirrup. I was even able to trot some. I kept Tanna to a smooth 7 mph trot and was able to post and be fairly balanced.

We were out for an hour and I was pleased with the ride. I didn't trot the whole time, obviously, but I'm slowly getting better every day.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A "real" ride

This is the stirrup we have to be able to fit my large leg brace. After adjusting the length, the black and blue velcro strips were replaced with strong zip ties.

Side Step Safety Stirrup

With Tanna being much more fit than I am at this point, it's a good idea to let him get some energy out before asking him to walk with the cripple.


I'm doing well enough to walk a bit without the crutch. It gets better every day.

End of warm-up

He likes to buck first thing when I get on. Naughty horse. I won. He did not buck.

Tanna being a pain

Despite many, many, many hours and miles of riding with a crupper, Tanna still needs reminding that it's there and it's ok.

Remember the crupper

Finally, he settled down and got to business.

Settling down

When we were both comfortable, we headed out of the round pen for the first time.

Finally, out of the round pen!!


Daniel came along with me on the lawn mower in case there was a problem while I was out and to take pictures.

Grabbing a bite

Tanna was constantly asking to eat grass along the way. You'd think he was starving.


Along the way, passing a neighbor's farm.


I got brave enough to ask for a little canter. Cantering wasn't too bad on my leg. But the few steps of trotting when transitioning back to a walk were pretty painful, so I didn't ask for a canter again. But it sure was fun while it lasted!

A little canter!

It was a beautiful day for a ride.

What a beautiful almost fall day

I liked having these pictures. I don't often have pictures from riding along the road at home. :) I was in some pain at this point on the way back home, but it was bearable.

Headed home

Thursday, September 04, 2008

First ride

Sunday afternoon, I decided I was strong enough to try riding. I have an old pair of Side Step western safety stirrups that are on the saddle Daniel usually uses. So we pulled off the western fender and stirrup for the left and put that on my saddle for the trial ride to see how that would go.

So I got all dressed in my riding tights and favorite Yellowhammer completion t-shirt (from 2006).

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

I decided I didn't want to wear the cast liner for my brace, so I put my regular shoe on, wrapped my leg in an ace bandage for compression support and strapped the brace on without the liner.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

The first thing I did was go catch my horse. Daniel had him confined to the small paddock so I wouldn't have to chase him down much. He didn't put up a fight.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Sugar cubes really help!! But he only gets one after he's haltered.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

I did a lot of the prep myself, but Daniel did help with the saddle and the girth. We also discovered that a clip had broken on Tanna's breast collar. Must have happened during the accident.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Serts wasn't the happiest that he had to wait in the paddock.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Isn't Tanna handsome? Who says weeds don't make a good back drop?

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

I used the lawn mower to lead Tanna, fully saddled, down to the round pen.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

But when we got there, I parked the mower and led him into the pen on my own two feet (plus one crutch).

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

I asked Tanna to trot without me for about 12 minutes to warm him up and get him used to the jiggle of the saddle again.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

From this side, you can see the side step stirrup.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Then it was time to get on using the 19" mounting block.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

I only kept him to a walk for 10 minutes.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

After 10 minutes, I safely dismounted with the very graceful stomach descent.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

My left stirrup was a little too long. Next time I'll try with my 2" biothane stirrup leather instead of the western fender to see if I can shorten it up.

It was very nice being on my horse again. He did great, too! He did get a little fussy, but nothing dangerous. My leg was pretty swollen by the time I was done. I need to tighten the compression next time to help with that.