Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 9

Good to be back out riding again, after a few weeks on vacation.

It’s now over three months since I had my first round of treatment for cervical dystonia. And it shows. Just a week and a bit to go before the next lot is due. As a result of this, I didn’t plan to do too much, either this week or next. I’m probably at my most vulnerable at the the moment, as my neck muscles are twisting a lot. Therefore, jumping is definitely off the menu!

Having said all of that, the biggest challenge today has been the weather. The sun’s been out, but the sky’s remained cloudy. However, the heat has been tremendous. No breeze. Just heat. My daughter was out with me today and we both seriously considered sitting in the horse trough when we stopped to let our equine buddies have a drink.

At the moment, I’m letting my instructor concentrate on my daughter. Her need is greater than mine (Control, control, control). As we have the arena to ourselves, this leaves me with plenty of safe space to practise anything I like, which is quite useful. Equally, the danger with this is that it’s fun, but you can lose focus or, worst of all, only do easy things and not push yourself enough.

I’ve decided that, I shall have one more ‘free’ week (next week), see how my treatment impacts things the following week, then start planning a competition entry of some description. High on the agenda for this will have to be, get fitter. This is proving a tough nut to crack at the moment. Leaving aside our trip to Mexico, I am still struggling to get to the gym. This is not due to lack of motivation, but just the sheer length of time it seems to take to get anywhere on public transport, still do my job and ‘be mum’. For the moment, I’m going to believe in miracles and I could be driving in two weeks time (Hmmm!…Did you have wine with lunch?). Problem solved.

So, today’s activities, in no particular order:

  • Lots of transitions, trot-canter-trot-canter, on a rough 20m circle, with transitions every quarter of a circle.
  • Shapes.
  • Getting in the corners (yes!).
  • Trotting at different speeds around the arena.
  • Sitting trot-walk transitions, without stirrups.
  • Alternating between rising and sitting trot.
  • Turns on the forehand.
  • Some basic canter exercises. 20m circle/round the arena (Can’t resist. Just love it, when my neck straightens. OK, I’ll behave).
  • Walk to canter. After getting Tosca to do this, I have attempted to do the opposite (canter to walk) which Aspire Equestrian suggested I try (see my previous report). I struggled with this one, but I shall persevere. However, I did get Tosca to canter at different speeds, including really slowly. In fact she probably cantered (for a few strides) at the slowest speed I’ve ever known her do. Otherwise, ‘slow speed’ requests, were translated as ‘trot, please’. Tosca is such a lovely pony and she tries so hard. I don’t know if she’s ever done this before, so it will be a learning process for both of us. Any ideas on this welcome.

Even Snowy behaved herself today and my daughter’s cantering is becoming more … sensible.


Have a good week.


About Dystonia Girl

Horse rider who loves to blog and do lots of other things too. Lives with, but is not defined by, a rare neurological condition called Dystonia.
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