I'm going to ruffle feathers, and that's okay. I've been thinking about it for months now, and conversed with a few fellow horse people. I see opinions on both sides of the fence. Previous to the accident, it didn't really affect me, so I didn't speak up. Now, however, I find I could be a participant, and think it's a good time to talk about it.
Throughout my recovery, I've wanted to ride a hekuva lot more than I am. It sucks feeding, mucking, grooming, saddling, longing, just to be too weak and tired some days to ride. One solution? I could have kept Romeo around, medicated him (i.e. mild sedation), and ridden anyways. I could have done the same for Harley, and still could be, just to "take the edge off". He's a baby, so why expect him to babysit me, when it's really my job to be the calm teacher he needs? Finally, I could have drugged myself - doped up on pain killers or mild muscle relaxers to take my discomfort away.
However, I've chosen none of these options. I've decided to send Romeo off for some personalized work with a stronger rider. As for Harley, it's been an uphill battle of "easy does it". I have to suck it up and take a deep breath, and longe more, ride less. This means lots of days, if I had hoped to ride, and he takes a longer time to longe and relax, I end up not riding. I don't make the decision to ride unless he's quiet, relaxed, and obedient. I also haven't been going any faster than I feel comfortable, and if I get nervous, I ride through it a little and then slow back down. Yes, it's slowed my big dreams of going to show this year. It's painful and stirs some intense jealousy to see show pictures from the schooling events I'm missing.
And why? There's too much at stake. What if a deer or a hog leap out of the tree line, and Harley isn't sober enough to react? What if he stumbles over a ground pole, and can't pick himself up, and we both tumble to the ground? What if Romeo had stayed home and couldn't have protected me from a dangerous situation, and been uncoordinated enough to shift his weight and "catch me"? Yeah, it's slowing the actual goals of riding progress. Neither of my horses, nor myself, will be back to the show ring this year.
As you may have seen my 2011 goals, I'll be delighted if we get to travel at all this year, even just to *see* the "boogers" at another barn. Heck, right now, I'll be happy just to get back in the dressage saddle I love so much. But my safety, and that of my horses, comes first. I don't need to risk another fall, and I don't need to risk another serious accident. One is enough...