So I’ve been keeping track of my 100 happy days and whatnot, but I have to share the happiest day that I’ve had so far, and probably will throughout these 100 days.
On Wednesday, for the first time since my surgery in December, I rode my horse. It’s been seven months since I was last in the saddle, and let me tell you, it was so incredibly difficult. To go from doing something almost every single day of your life to stopping abruptly, the emotional pain was as bad as the physical.
I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to ride on Wednesday. I’ve been going back and forth, trying to convince myself that I’m better enough now, but it’s so hard mentally because all I thought about was feeling the pain in the motions of riding the way I did before surgery. I was also afraid that one wrong movement or the littlest thing would cause reinjury. The one thing I wasn’t worried about was my horse. I had zero concern that Sampson would be anything but well behaved, and I was right. He didn’t put one toe out of line and for that I am grateful. It eased my mind knowing that he was just fine and acted as if no time had passed between October, when he last had a saddle on him, and now.
Of course, for all you out there who think the horse does all the work when someone is riding, let me just tell you how dead wrong you are. For someone like me who has been riding basically every day of my life with no extended break and maintained some sort of fitness level, I’ve never been sore from riding. But getting on and doing minimal work, my goodness I remembered how many muscles I have. Riding is a full body workout and you feel it everywhere. I woke up the next morning and pretty much couldn’t move my legs, had soreness in my abs, and tired arms. My legs still hurt right now and I feel like I’m waddling when I walk. It’s a good kind of sore, and I can laugh at it because I don’t have any back pain and that is the best part. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back strong in the saddle and both Sampson and I will work our way back to being in shape. I still remember how to ride too! My trainer always said, no matter how long you walk away from riding, you’ll always have muscle memory and know exactly what to do when you get back to it.
I had the biggest smile on my face the moment I mounted up. I had that smile on my face the entire time I was riding. Being on a horse and feeling the connection you have with the animal…there’s nothing like it. I’m so excited that I get to enjoy the sport I love so much without the pain I’ve been feeling for the past two years. I had a rough year last year especially dealing with it, but I’m so appreciative and thankful for everyone who was there to help me get through it. The page has turned and we are on to happier days!