I am on box rest again. This time, I have to stick to it, because my husband is seriously considering having me put down.
It isn’t the pain from damaged muscles that’s causing me the problems, but the fact that I can’t ride. It’s driving me crazy and him crazier, because he has to put up with my sulks and tantrums.
Ironically, I caused the injury by over-doing a stretch in an exercise class designed to keep me balanced and supple. Until now, I’ve seen nothing but benefits, and I’m looking forward to getting back to it – and getting on a horse. In the grand scale of things, six weeks is nothing, but it seems to be dragging on forever.
My minor mishap has reinforced how much riding and being around horses does for you, both mentally and physically. It’s also reinforced my respect for those who combat disabilities to look after and ride their horses – not just our amazing Paralympic competitors, but those who quietly get on with it despite injuries and illnesses that don’t always leave visible signs.
I did listen to the osteopath, who warned me that I would need six weeks off with nothing more than gentle walking and specially prescribed exercises. However, after two weeks his advice seemed over-cautious, and I got back in the saddle.
It was a big mistake, and it came with a big set-back. This time, I’m doing as I’m told, although I have turned snappy from the stress and I’m tempted to kick anyone who points out what a shame it is to miss so much of the summer.
As horse owners, we all sometimes push ourselves harder than we should. Occasionally, we may push our horses harder than we should – and there have been enough high-profile examples to prove that this is never acceptable.
Have we lost patience, or is it merely a symptom of our rushed lifestyles, when we seem never to press the pause button? A wise friend commented that although advances in veterinary science mean we can now diagnose and treat our horses’ injuries quickly, there are still times when only time itself is the answer – time to rest and repair.
Many years ago, there was a rule of thumb for certain injuries: about three months off for a horse who damaged a check ligament and three months to a year for tendon strains, depending on the severity. Now we expect vets to work miracles in the space of a fortnight.
So, I’ve put my riding boots away – the equivalent of having my shoes taken off – and am doing as I’m told. There are just two weeks and four days to go, and I can start a regime of walk work.
All that remains is work out how to stop being unbearable while I’m waiting. If you’ve any ideas, my husband would love to hear them.