Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Story About Para Equestrian, and Some Goals

Katie at Equine Life has done a wonderful interview with a talented and determined para equestrian dressage rider - read her post here.  I am always humbled and awed when I read stories like this - they're very inspirational.

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I'm starting to improve enough, 24 days after my accident, that I can begin to, very tentatively, set some goals for myself.  My headaches are pretty much gone and are now mainly due to tension from the strained muscles in my shoulder, upper back and neck.  My shoulder is improving a bit every day - I can mostly go without the sling, can move a bit more freely although the motion is restricted/painful in certain directions and for a brief time yesterday I even forgot that the shoulder was injured.  The ribs still hurt a bit, but that's because I'm moving the rest of my body more freely and taking deeper breaths. Balance is back to normal.  Energy level is improving - I'm finally starting to be a bit restless and the deep fatigue is pretty much gone. I was able to walk for 1/2 mile yesterday and also did the 200 yards back and forth to the barn later in the day - I did have to stop from time to time to rest for a moment but could go much farther without stopping.  1/2 mile isn't much, but for someone who had trouble getting out of bed two weeks ago it's big progress.

So, onwards and upwards!  My goal is, of course, to ride again as soon as possible, if only at the walk.  There are some preliminary things that have to be in place, though, before I can do that.  My shoulder has to be in good enough shape that I can tack the horse myself, including lifting the saddle and tightening the girth, and use both reins effectively if need be - Pie does go on a loose rein and neck reins but I do need to be able to use both arms.  My leg strength and stamina have to be adequate to ride effectively at the walk, and mount and dismount, and ride through any unexpected moves - none of my horses are bombproof.

I've decided that, before I ride, I need to be able to groom all three horses in a single session and do some in-hand work and lunge line work with Dawn and Drift, as well as continuing to hand walk Pie on the trail.  I also need to be able to walk about 2.5 miles (once around my development) without significant fatigue.  That's pretty minimal fitness, but enough to get me back in the saddle at the walk.  So, I'm working on gradually increasing the walking, doing more strength exercises and moving/using my shoulder - I see the orthopedic doctor again this week and hope to get some exercises.  Every day gets me closer to my goal . . .


  1. Glad to hear your recovery is going so well, Kate! Keep in mind that, when you're up to it, the riding will be therapeutic--both mentally AND physically.

  2. Kate, you're wise to have a definite plan with specific goals. That will help ensure you don't do something to quick to set back your healing.


  3. Everyday is a little more progress than the previous day. I know it must be frustrating but healing takes time. You'll reach your goals and be back to your old self soon. Hang in there.

  4. Good and realistic goals. You have to take it all one day at a time.

    When you are an active person, being laid up can be really frustrating. I'm sure when I have my knees replaced, I will be there too. I remember when I broke my wrist how it made me so much more aware of the struggles people with physical disabilities must face every day.

    Keep feeling better and striving towards those goals.

  5. Slow and steady wins the race, and you're doing just fine--pushing a bit but not overdoing it. It took six months (per the doctor) to get back to where I had no limitations after my shoulder surgery (rotator cuff repair), and while I felt I could do more and much sooner, I followed orders and am glad I did (doctors really DO know better--even those doctors who don't ride horses).


    Keep plugging away, Kate. You'll make it back and your horses will be right there waiting for you.

  6. Happy July 4, and a very nice blog that you have. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon,Pa.

  7. You are working through a lot of injuries at once, and I'm amazed you're able to do as much as you have been doing! After any major surgery doctors tell patients to wait six weeks (or more) to begin normal activities again, so you're way ahead of the game.

  8. I'm glad your getting better, you are a very wise to have specific goals like this! I hope you're able to ride soon, I know how frustrating it can be to not be able to ride sometimes.

    PS. Thanks for the plug on my blog!

  9. Take it easy grooming is pretty strenuous too...hope you enjoy your ride when you get there :)

  10. I think it is amazing how much progressive you have made, especially considering the fact that your body is recuperating from several different things. I think the best sign is that you are starting to get restless.

    I think horse people tend to be very bad patients in general and in the long run that is not a good thing. I'm glad you are setting reasonable goals for yourself before you get back in the saddle.

  11. Excellent goals! Keep up the good work and stay positive, I think it makes such a big difference in recovery. Hope the Dr apt goes well :)


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