Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Progression to normal

Sorry for the lapse in updates, I have been a little down and have been really busy.  I had convinced myself I was doing serious damage to my knee again by walking, that I was grinding my bones again and would need surgery to fix it.  When I went to the doc yesterday he told me to stop stressing about it.  Whatever is happening is fine, even if I am grinding some bone-on-bone it wouldn't be unexpected because I have so little cartilage.  It won't be an issue, however, because the issues I was having with it before surgery was a result of the accident and typical walking won't cause an issue.  He also told me I am pushing myself too hard which is causing the knee pain I am having, basically am giving myself tendonitis and I should take it easy.  The input was helpful as it has made me relax a bit though I am now only going to push myself harder since I know I am not actually hurting myself (well, more anyway lol).

I have been successful in riding though!  I am riding every 2 to 3 days and am getting a good amount of muscle back.  The first several rides I couldn't trot as I had no right leg to hold on with.  Finally this past weekend I did some trotting and as long as I ride without stirrups I am doing just fine.  Trotting with stirrups is uncomfortable/painful and I don't have the strength to trot for more than a minute or two at a time but it is progress!  And when I went on a trail ride, well on the 3 mile loop of road, I even cantered.  Wahoo!  That progress has really lifted my spirits.

In other news the winter sacrifice pasture is going to be awesome.  How awesome?  More than double the area it was last year!  And I am making it with Electrobraid instead of piecing it together with fencing we already have.  We have cleared out a huge group of trees, 5 trunks out of a single tree stump, that was mostly dead and made a huge swath of land unusable.  In doing so, it has opened the land tremendously which is now allowing us to double the space we had planned for the winter pasture expansion.  Want a pic?  Not doable right now but here is a layout with my crappy drawing.
Not the best, and certainly not to scale but that is what you get from 10 minutes of effort lol.  The squares in yellow are the buildings, appropriately labeled.  The green is my pastures, however I should have made them brown because the amount of grass in them is virtually nonexistent thanks to the drought.  The original pasture started about 6 feet away from the arena and went straight back from the shop.  We then added the Electrobraid in May of last year and then last summer we added the pasture that extended around the shop to the back of the arena.  The old sacrifice area last year was small due to lack of fencing and cleared area, it really was just two little fence lines connecting my barn and arena and then barn to Electrobraid pasture.  With more resources it shall be much bigger!

Now why does the new sacrifice area look so oddly shaped you ask?  Because I didn't draw the bazillon trees/shrubs/brush that I have to cut through to make it even this big.  What I will be enclosing is at least just shrubs and brush that can be walked through and is pretty clean of trash left behind in the 1950's-1980's.  The eventual goal is to surround the arena with pasture but there is a lot of clearing that needs done between now and then.  The goal is to finish the sacrifice pasture this weekend and be able to not give them breakfast hay for at least a week, maybe two.  Maybe I will even break out my camera to celebrate!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back in the saddle

After several delays due to lack of time, still, I was finally able to plop myself in a saddle and ride around.  I even was able to ride two days in a row with a third day scheduled!  My goal in riding was to start rebuilding my muscles needed to ride so I rode the App as he isn't nicknamed the ThighMaster for nothing.  He was true to his nickname, that is for sure.

Our rides are at the walk and are fairly short, I am working on lateral movements off of the right leg as I work on strengthening exercises for myself.  Overall the rides are productive though I did have to grab a crop.  Mr App decided that since I wasn't asking very strong that he didn't actually have to move away from pressure, I reminded him that that wasn't acceptable.  Thankfully sometimes all that is required is for me to carry a crop and he behaves appropriately, what a silly, bad horse lol. 

Last night I rode with the mom of one of my students and we had a good ride.  She has a laundry list of medical issues which keeps her from riding but she decided she didn't care and wanted to ride so she did.  I worked on lateral movements for about 20 minutes before getting bored so we walked halfway around the block for a trail ride.  It was a bit buggy, as I hadn't prepared for a trail ride with fly spray or masks, but it was a good ride.  Just a leisurely walking trail ride.  She is going to come over again tonight to ride, if she could force her body to move, maybe we will ride the entire block.  Riding success!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fun at a horse show

A quick status update on my progress, rehab is going really well!  I am walking around without my cane or crutch almost all of the time and have stopped wearing the uncomfortable/unwieldy brace unless I am moving around on a lot of uneven ground.  I have pretty good muscle control back in my leg and yesterday was able to go all the way around on the stationary bike without stretching my knee first.  WIN!  My biggest issue right now is weakness in the muscles around the knee, I have a very hard time going down stairs or down into a squat as I don't have the strength yet to hold myself as I go down. It is coming though.

This past weekend I volunteered at a USEA Horse Trial that was being held close to me and had a great time.  Saturday was jump judging a cross country fence and that was awesome.  RB3 came with me and for the first half of the day we were in a very good position to watch several jumps.  We got to watch horses go up banks, over ditches, through bounces and over some nicely sized jumps.  The Intermediate division didn't do so well as half of the competitors were retired before they reached us but the ones we saw were impressive.  Prelim had better success and while there were eliminations, we got to see a number of horses jumping.  The Training division was fun as we were set up to watch a triple combination of a jump, coffin, jump the over to us at a bounce and then over to a corner.  We saw a several issues at the coffin and corner though we didn't have anyone have problems with the bounce we were judging.  Novice and Beginner Novice weren't super impressive as for the second half of the day we were in a field where we literally saw a horse run to us, jump our single, easy/boring jump and then run away to another field.  It was jump number 2 on the course so of course it was an easy one but it made for a slightly less exciting afternoon.  The only other compliant was that it rained/sprinkled for 3/4 of the day and got pretty cold in the afternoon, I was glad I brought my rain suit!

Sunday was amazing as I was a timer for stadium jumping and got to sit right next the the judge and Technical Delegate.  I was spot on the entire day and only missed getting 3 of the 147 times, but that is also why the judge times as a backup so in case there is an issue.  They seemed really happy with my work and were very pleasant to be around.  I also was able to learn things!  I learned you cannot have a running martingale without rein stops else you will be eliminated.  I learned you cannot say a bad word in the ring, if you do you better be pleasant when being talked to about it else you will be eliminated.  I learned you cannot jump a fence twice if it isn't part of a combination after a refusal (ie jump 5 and 6A, refusal at 6B.  Can't jump 5 again).  I learned the time allowed for Beginner Novice and Novice is enough that you can trot a good portion of the course so don't rush!  Take the extra time to prepare in front of the jump, 50% of the time cross cantering will bring a rail down.

It was interesting watching the activity and I certainly got more out of the stadium jumping this year over last year when I was jump crew.  It also drove home that appearance certainly does matter and you certainly set yourself apart when you look crisp and nice with nice, clean tack.  It may not get you more points but will definitely get you noticed and remembered.  I am really looking forward to trying a horse trial out next year.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Road to recovery - One step at a time

Sorry for the absence, things were pretty busy with work and having my grandmother in.  Any free time for blogging was eaten up pretty quickly, alas things may be busy this week too but I have found time to check in.  My knee is doing better every day, I have a good amount of flexion and can get it fairly easily as long as I bend/straighten nice and slow.  At my last measurement I was at 101 degrees of flexion, pretty good for someone just 2 weeks out of pretty invasive surgery IMO.  The hardest part is the inability to bend my knee with any speed, I am also having a very hard time lifting my leg from the knee down, by itself.  I have started doing some leg lifts to fix this issue, lifting just from the knee down, so hopefully it will stop being an irritant. 

This week I am 100% on my own, my grandmother was in for a little over 2 weeks to help out after surgery and she was a HUGE help.  She took care of all of the housework, the animals, the chores and tried very hard to make sure I didn't want for much.  She had to leave on Sunday and this morning SO had to go out of town for work so I went from having as much assistance as I wanted to none.  Knowing this was coming, I have been cleaning stalls, turning out horses and doing my normal chores to ensure I had a plan for this week.  For example I can only clean one stall at a time before dumping the wheelbarrow, I cannot yet dump a full wheelbarrow.  I also will use the tractor when I clean the arena of poo as I am not yet coordinated/strong enough to walk and move the big wheelbarrow when it has more than a few piles of poo in it.

No worries though, all is coming along.  I started driving and I don't have any issues.  This week I will pop myself on a pony and plod along, working on my lateral movements.  Tomorrow I am meeting up with a friend and going to the state fair, tonight I have physical therapy.  Next weekend will be a horse filled weekend as I volunteer at the local horse trial, jump judging on cross country Saturday and timing/scribing stadium jumping on Sunday.  Looking forward to some fun!