Monday, January 18, 2021

Running, Riding and uh...Having Sex

 Running

Five years ago I hung up my running shoes for what I thought was good. I had been running in some fashion since I joined track in 9th grade with the highlight of my running "career" the summer before Wyatt was born when I completed four half marathons in three months. When we moved to SC things started going askew with random pains that peaked with a searing pain in my left buttock as well as a constant urge to pee even after emptying my bladder right before starting off. I went through PT which was minimally effective. Finally I could stand it no longer and stopped running. 

Two weeks ago I got the all clear from the surgeon to return to full activity. He warned me that my new vaginal wall (my cervix was removed) was still healing and if I pushed it too much my intestines could literally fall out of my body. Nothing like that image to scare you into listening. All in all though I could do pretty much anything I wanted. I very tentatively started running on the treadmill. I walked mostly with added in short 1/4 mile jogs. The first time I jogged I held my breath. I wanted to return to running so badly, but could I? 

Running with the hubs was one of my favorite activities. I'm happy to be back at it

The answer: a resounding YES! No pain. No urge to pee constantly. Just the typical out of shape, now middle aged body groans and moans. Last Sunday I did my first outdoor run and yesterday I hit my first milestone: I ran an entire mile without stopping. I was ecstatic. To go from intense pain to no pain to running a full mile in just 2 weeks? It really felt amazing. 

Intervals are my best friend right no as I work towards better stamina and strength


Riding

I did cheat a little here and rode before my all clear appointment. I had originally been told 6 weeks however my post op was not until nearly 8 weeks due to the holidays. I was good and waited until after the 6 week mark and it went predictably off the rails. Eeyore hadn't been ridden in 3 months so I took it easy and only did a short walk and trot ride.

Once I received the green light to ride, I contacted Trainer AB and set up our first lesson since September. She came out to my house late in the evening and it went pretty dismally. Eeyore had a bug up his butt and the entire lesson was focused on getting his attention and convincing him that yes he can still move his feet in front of him while not running away. We ended by attempting to trot over two ground poles in a large figure 8. Homeboy thought this was very exciting indeed and proceeded to spend 25 minutes leaping them like 3' fences and galloping off into the sunset on the back side. It was exhausting. Once he went over twice at a trot we quit. 

No new riding media. Eeyore went down for a good roll right after the ride. For a horse who hate to be groomed, he sure loves getting dirty

The next time I hopped on Eeyore I did a short warm up and then immediately tackled the figure 8 exercise. It took over 30 minutes before he stopped leaping, farting and carrying on. I did my best to stay soft and boring and let him do his thing while reminding him that we could circle through this forever if that is what it took for him to settle. Something must have clicked because the following Wednesday we had another lesson and he was foot perfect throughout. That lesson focused on getting snappier up transitions instead of fumbling into the trot and canter. And pretty much every ride I have had post that lesson has been amazing too. Eeyore is such a good boy with consistency. 

And then Hamilton went down for a roll too

Hamilton has had trainer rides with every lesson I take on Eeyore. I ride him in between but I figure the money is better spent on AB riding him weekly versus her watching me do it. I want him to have a good foundation. I've been too scared to canter him until yesterday afternoon when I finally grew my lady set and did it. And OH MY FREAKING GOD! If I thought his boingy trot was to die for, his canter is like siting on a heavenly cloud. I was grinning like a fool and kept saying OMG, OMG, OMG out loud. Poor Baby Racehorse probably thought I had lost it. I find Eeyore's canter hard to sit as it is earth bound and pounding so I tend to hover and have to constantly remind myself to sit. Hamilton's canter is so easy to sit I'd have to work hard at NOT sitting it. Its unlike anything I've ever sat. Milestone #2 for the day unlocked. 

With Hamilton it is pretty basic stuff. Walk, trot and now canter when I say to. No we can't bolt back to the gate. No we can't stop at the gate every time we pass it. No we can't have a melt down when forced to go beyond the gate. Large figures, lots of transitions in gaits and direction. AB introduced him to trotting over ground poles last week. I've walked him over them but haven't trotted yet. Simple basic things. 

Having Sex

Probably, most definitely, TMI but folks...I also had sex yesterday and it was amazing too. After having painful intercourse for nearly a decade where I grinned and bared it a lot of the time because mentally and emotionally I wanted to have sex but physically it plain old hurt like someone stuck a hot fire poker up in there, having pain free enjoyable sex is unreal. 

New family member is an adorable little hellion.

By the end of yesterday I had run a mile, rode two horses having cantered one for the first time and had sex with the hubby. I'd say it was a pretty awesome day all thanks to having finally found a doctor who would listen to me and fix the problem. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Riding the Baby Racehorse

The switch from Gem to Eeyore was pretty smooth in a lot of ways. They are built very similar being table backed, wide and down hill. They are both forward thinking, sensitive horses and both have opinions about all the things. Eeyore is much braver than Gem. He has yet to spook at anything. He is also naughtier in that he will buck whereas Gem has never, ever offered to buck, bite, kick or rear. All in all though, the change felt comfortable and learning Eeyore wasn't a massive shift. 

Hamilton though is completely different than anything I've ever sat on. The most obvious is that he is pretty much a blank slate and has zero buttons installed. He has a lot of awesome traits installed already such as absolutely impeccable ground manners, but when it comes to being under saddle he really is clueless as to what I'm asking from him. 

But other than the obvious lack of training, there are other things that became immediately evident once my butt hit the saddle. For starters, he is huge but also incredibly narrow. Like I felt like my knees were touching while I sat there. Eeyore is comfortably wide - it is like sitting on a couch with a lot of real estate to catch me if I get a little wonky. Hamilton feels more like being on a balance beam 8 feet in the air. I will say though that my leg tends to naturally fall nicer on Hamilton. I think eventually I will get used to it and find my balance point which can only benefit me in the long run. 

It is a small picture, but I am grinning from ear to ear. And like...at least one of us is looking where we are going.


His movement is also very different. His long legs translate to a naturally longer stride. While he isn't in a rush to go anywhere, the fact that he covers 1.5x the ground with every stride than Eeyore does makes it seem like he is flying even when we aren't going anywhere at all. I can only imagine what he will feel like when we unlock his giant body and get him moving openly and freely. 

Along those lines, he is also less earthbound than my prior two mounts. Both Gem and Eeyore have a hard time defying gravity and naturally pull with the front versus push with the hind. Hamilton was born more uphill with a natural loft to his gaits. The first time I trotted him I asked Dusty if he was lame. It felt so different than anything I've experienced to date. He just....boings. 



Brain wise Hamilton is everything I was looking for. Gem was always a mental ride more than a physical one and Eeyore isn't a whole lot better. Eeyore comes out with a plan already in place and when I waver from it we have issues. Or when life gets a little hard. Or when he thinks we should be done but we aren't. It is a constant struggle to keep him mentally engaged in the task and not plotting and planning something that I will more than likely not enjoy. 

Hamilton, on the other hand, shows no inclination to have an opinion about much at all. He is very drawn to the in gate but beyond that he really just does what is asked or at least his version of what is being asked. No temper tantrums. No debates. No issues. Sure he knows next to nothing and gives the wrong answer more than the right but it is only because he doesn't know the right answer. Once he figures it out, he makes sure to give me what I want. I'm sure there will be rough days and frustrations, he is an animal with his own brain, but he is an inherently easy going dude. 

First time with ground poles? No problem!

His biggest flaw at the moment is a lack of a go button. He'd rather stroll and stop to smell the roses, which to be frank is perfectly fine by me. I really have no interest in yet another zooming monster. My electric butt will likely change this, but I am working really, really, really hard at staying soft and relaxed to avoid teaching him bad habits. 

Having two completely different beasts to ride is going to be very challenging in a great way. I'm looking forward to continuing to plug away at Eeyore while getting a bit of a break when I ride Hamilton. Its a different type of learning curve with him and one I am really excited to partake. 

First Hamilton selfie


Monday, January 4, 2021

Back in the Saddle

Sunday was the type of day that reminds me why I moved south after all. The sun was shining after what seemed like endless rain, the breeze was blowing lightly and it was nearly 60F.  Technically, I haven't been cleared to ride yet. That was supposed to happen at my 6 week post op appointment but that appointment got pushed back almost two weeks due to the holidays so Sunday was nearly 7 weeks and well...I felt REALLY good and wanted to take advantage of the daylight and dry skies. 

First, I rode the Land Whale. Now he had every right to be a total twit about things. He has been living the semi feral life for three months and well...I've written about him enough for you all to know his OPINIONS about things. But really? He was amazing. He came ready to have fun and since my new approach with him is purely to have fun, things worked out really well. All I had to do was see things from his point of view.


Vacation didn't do his waist line any favors


That doesn't mean we didn't work on things. We still worked on the circle, making sure he was in front of my leg and bending softly however I'm not drilling it and I'm sneaking it in in between fun things like jumping two verticals I set up on a 'V' pattern in the center of the arena. We both stayed relaxed and soft and while he still tried to rush things, then lag behind then rush again he also didn't throw any tantrums, so it was a nice return to work. 

Then I hopped on Hamilton for my first time. He also hasn't had much done with him in the last few months and in true Hamilton style he was a Good Boy about all the things. He stood patiently to be brushed, he girthed up without trying to eat me, he accepted the bit and stood patiently while I fumbled with the straps. 


Introducing Hamilton to water.


I need to write a post about the differences between my chestnut boys because really they are night and day. 

My time spent with Hamilton was mostly me learning how on earth to ride this new beast. Everything felt foreign to me. My main goal was to remain relaxed and soft with him and allow him to make his mistakes without punishment, instead focusing on rewarding the right answers. We only did walk and trot with one tiny canter attempt, but his movement is so big that I sorta freaked a bit and decided to wait until a lesson to canter him too much. Or at least until the arena wasn't half under water. 

It was a great way to spend the morning and the perfect first rides back for all three of us. I really can't wait to see where the three of us end up. I have an all new outlook on the horses and my riding and I think its going to pay off big time.