The Doctor told me I was “good to go” for more active physical activity on Monday.
This, as well as a general feeling of fitness and strength returning to my legs, had my mind looking towards riding again. Last night I took note of the mild spell approaching… I got an idea, which was followed by horse dreams all last night.
This morning I woke up. Warm and sunny. I called up to the farm: Jo Ann who has been taking excellent care of Gypsy all winter reported that she’s been sensible of late. A-ha! Warm weather, sensible pony and the doctor’s blessing…
I guess you know what THAT means!!! Yup, and it felt so funny to be leaving the house all geared up in my chaps and riding clothes. I kept thinking, ” I’m missing something!” But it was the oxygen tank I was missing. I haven’t gone riding without a tank in, what, TWO YEARS? Wow. Come to think of it, I don’t miss it at all.
Because it has been 3.5 months since I last rode (November 3rd, to be exact!) I therefore noticed quite a difference! I picked up my saddle and carried it around the barn and swung it up onto the horse just as anyone might. I was leading the horse into the arena and checking my girth, crouching down to see if the stirrups were even, walking to the mounting block, all like a normal person! The last time I did ANY of these movements in this place and with this pony I was so handicapped. It seemed that in merely SECONDS I had swung up and was in the saddle. Plop. Off We Go! No time wasted fiddling with oxygen hoses etc. Mom and Jo Ann were laughing about how quickly I was up. And truthfully, I had swung myself into the saddle before even *I* knew it! There I was, sitting in the saddle, just like I never left. My legs found their old spaces in the saddle, my feet picked up the stirrups, my muscles remembering where to go.
I will say now that I had told Mom I was just going to “sit on Gypsy. Maybe walk around a little.” But it seemed a shame to have driven all the way there and gotten all dressed up for the occasion only to walk around. Plus the curiosity was killing me. So, after an emotional first minute of just realizing, WOW I AM BACK ON MY HORSE, I gathered up my rein contact and asked her to trot. Slowly. She trotted slowly, politely, looking after me perhaps. But we trotted.
At the trot my first thoughts were, “okay, so my legs remember what to do and where to go!” And they didn’t feel too useless, either, which is amazing, because I haven’t squeezed anything since the surgery. My second thought was of my lungs, “I can feel them bouncing around, but I guess that’s normal!” As I rounded the arena once at the trot I can honestly say I was out of breath. Out of shere habit I asked her to slow to the walk. But my breath was back momentarily. Wow. Cool. “Okay, try it some more why not?” So I went on like this a few times, trotting for one lap, and stopping to catch my breath, all the while hearing the physio Chya’s voice in my head, “now when you get out of breath, you’re just out of shape!” and also, “you’ll need to challenge yourself!” and so, I did! In the end I ended up probably doing about four laps without stopping–HOLY COW WITHOUT OXYGEN. I was winded, but my breath came back momentarily! It’s not like before when I’d do a lap with the O2 cranked, and then take twice as long to recover my breath. I just went out, exerted myself, chatting the whole while, and then it came back!
Some of the other girls came in to ride presently. Monique said, “how’s it feel without those (oxygen) bags flapping around your saddle pad?” And Stef asked, “yeah, how’re the new breathers?” Breathers. I like that! “IT’S MUCH BETTER!” I responded, “but I think I have to stop now, because my legs are tired.” We laughed a bit because that’s so much preferable to how things were before.
However, that being said, seeing the other gals riding around I got a inspired to “be normal”, and quietly asked Gypsy up into the canter. I mean really, she was so slow and sleepy today so it didn’t feel risky at all. “She’s cantering!” said Monique. Well, so I was. Nice. I just did one circle because the arena was starting to become a bit dusty and I was concerned about inhaling it into my shiny new lungs. I just found out on Monday that I presently grow fungus in them, so there are things in the environment obviously that can affect my lungs that I have to be careful of. I called it a day and took one little walk outdoors where Gypsy filled her nostrils in deeply at the fresh air.
Finished the day off with lots of carrots and pats. I was really glad Jo Ann was there to see Gypsy go: I can tell that Gypsy really loves Jo Ann. As do I! Well, what an honour. What an amazing honour to be able to do what I just did “like a normal person”… like a normal out of shape 32 year old person! ha ha ha…