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I like back doors. I like knowing that whatever life presents, my having a backup plan is invaluable. I rely on my back doors and use them pretty much all the time, like while driving, shopping, walking, or riding.
As horse people, whether we own, exercise, work with, love, ride, or spend time with our animals, we take for granted the ability to engage with them. Only upon suffering an injury or illness do we realize that being able to walk on our own two legs is beyond necessary. At least for me, this is the case.
For me, the latest turn of events sent me into a nicely composed tailspin. Over the past few months, my knees began hurting when I walked up or down any hill or stairs. I figured it was nothing to be concerned about since I'd never had knee issues in my life before. Sure enough, the pain worsened, and my left leg swelled so that walking anywhere became a problem. I caved and went to the doctor. X-rays showed little to be wrong, so I got an MRI.
Turns out I have a laundry list of issues with my knee and will be having a little surgery sometime toward the end of May. The thing that is most bothersome about the said procedure is that I will be on crutches for six weeks minimum. The timeline could extend to three months, though I choose to ignore that minor possibility.
At first, it didn't sound too bad, and six weeks didn't seem that long. But then, I panicked when I realized that showering every day is not likely because ours is a tub with sliding glass doors. I will see my horses but not interact with them because being on crutches takes both hands, not to mention my new limited mobility should I need to move quickly. And, no riding for six weeks that may be extended to as long as three months. Yikes!
Finally, I settled down after realizing that I will have time to plan the launch of the new book (You and Your Horse, Happily Ever After) easier and spiff up some things on my website. I will have time to pour through the hundred thousand photos I have and choose the ones I want to include in the new book. And, I can work on the barely-begun novel, Horses, Dragons, and Dogs.
So I began the long path towards reaching the acceptance of my new reality. I will lose at least two and a half months of riding time, one month before going in, and a minimum of six weeks following. Check. And I’m okay with this right up until I’m not.
The emotional roller-coaster this curveball has resulted in has been interesting, to say the least. Daily, I feel defeated, angry, happy that I know what is going on before suddenly moving into accepting my fate. Then, I worry about needing round-the-clock help because I will not be able to fend for myself. How will I manage to get my much-needed multiple cups of coffee in the morning? How and where will I sleep? If I'm on crutches, how do I cook, clean, walk dogs, feed horses, clean the corral, care for the birds, or manage everyday tasks?
Keep in mind that I'm not in this alone. I have a husband who is more than happy to do everything around here that is needed, from laundry to cleaning the cat box, but I am not good at relying on anyone. Ever. For anything. This has to be some sort of twisted test, right?
So, I did what I do best and envisioned my new summer. I imagined my day-to-day life and what it might look like. Below is my list of things to do when I get fidgety and feel like I need to Do Something. Because I know me, and I'll hate being cooped up and shut down.
My plan for the first part of summer is as follows:
*Book stuff, including:
*Photo-sifting. Choose the ones I want to use in You and Your Horse, Happily Ever After.
*Horses and lessons--Teach from the rail and help clients better their riding ability and communication with their horses.
*Help clients with specific goal-setting and reaching.
*Do some webinars or/and podcasts and learn how to Zoom like a real person.
My own horses
*I will work with Paizely on ground things this year and hopefully help boost her self-confidence. The best part about her is that I can work with her from outside the paddock. Clicker training is my favorite method to continue building our relationship and our connection.
*Other people, only those I trust, will be offered riding time with Luke and Darby.
*Teach all of them to self-load into the trailer while I am not right next to them. Each knows this already, but not with me at a distance.
*Evaluate and plan how to do better, be better and focus!
*Read the books I need to review for others and write the reviews.
*Sit in the sun and figure out how to buy one of those swim-spa things, because face it, a girl can dream.
Everyone is different, and each of us has a list of things we can do when we can’t ride. There is something quite settling in the listing these things out to better find the hope that we have misplaced. I know it helped me to see what would keep me from falling into morose self-pity. I feel better about having a list to fall back on, so maybe the idea will work for you or someone you know. We will all be back in the saddle soon!
I'm writing this here, publicly, to use as a checklist of sorts and stay on task. I rode yesterday and am hoping to ride next week and up until surgery. I can adjust according to the weather but hope to get out every day.
If you find you are unable to do the normal horse-related activities that you love, try making your own list of what you can do. I found this to be most helpful in leveling out that whoopsie-daisy roller coaster of emotional reactions.
Perhaps I am dreaming about all I will accomplish and the riding I will get to do. Then again, why not? Because dreaming about the future with our horses, Happily Ever After is a good thing!
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