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 . . .