First up, my doctor has now passed me ‘fit’ after the sudden appearance of my old heart problems in March. Secondly, I’ve taken delivery of my frighteningly expensive dystonia-friendly bicycle. And thirdly, I’ve been able to ride a lovely old schoolmaster.
All of these things have had a major ‘pick me up’ effect.
I can now return to the gym and get back to work on my rider fitness programme. I’ve lost quite a bit of ground (and eaten a heck of a lot of chocolate!) since my heart problems kicked off. So, plenty to go at there.
I’m hoping my fab new bike will come into play here too, both in terms of fitness and, strangely, in improving my riding position. My new bike’s geometry supports a fully vertical riding position, not dissimilar to what is required for horse riding. So, it will be interesting to see if I get any improvements over the next few weeks.
Finally, the schoolmaster. A very pleasant change. Normally, I ride a range of riding school horses, who all have their good points … And their issues. If you like flatwork, as I do, it can be a bit of a pain to spend time (and let’s not forget, money) on trying to encourage different borrowed equines to ‘do the moves’. So, what a change to be able to get on a horse and do shoulder-in … straight away. Half pass? He was teaching me. Cracked it after a couple of attempts. We’ve then been doing exercises to switch between shoulder-in and travers. Great fun.
I’m hoping to have some more time with Wonder Nag (also called Spirit) as this has been great, but it also highlights the plight of people like me – I’m not disabled, but I need to ride something ‘sensible’. Where do I find a horse that can help me move forward, but can cope with my muscular problems at the same time and on a low cost basis? A good riding school horse ought to be the answer, but I’ve never had much luck with this.
So, where next?
My original plan was to compete over this summer, but I’ve already lost some of that. I’m going to see how much of my fitness I can pull back over the next 6 weeks or so, by which time I’ll also have had my next round of Botox, which should help things along (I must look like a broken old tree at the moment, with the world’s worst riding position).
I’m also going to get my instructor to take some photos of me on horseback, which I’d like to share with my neurologist, to see if she can suggest anything that I can do to get my head more aligned over the centre of my body. If I can do this, it will help riding and probably save my back, for the future.
Have a good week.
[Editor’s note: Had to publish these photos of the lane that leads down to the place where I ride. I took them this morning and it just looks beautiful.]