Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Controversy

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...


redhorse said...

I think you're doing exactly the right thing. Using drugs for either you or your horses would only result in problems later on. Don't get me wrong, if you needed them just to function, I wouldn't argue, but it really helps to get off of them as soon as possible. It sounds like your plan is working, don't worry about how long it takes.

GunDiva said...

It would never have crossed my mind to drug my horses just to be able to ride in your context. I have Buted Estes for her own comfort, but never to "take her edge off" or "slow her down" so that I could ride when physically I shouldn't be.

I think you're going about it the right way - tincture of time for all of you. It's frustrating - I can certainly understand that, but I'm glad you didn't resort to drugging you or your horses.

Muddy K said...

I can't imagine how this post could ruffle any feathers at all, not when it's about common sense and nothing more. Yours was a close call; it will take time to recover your previous lifestyle completely. Frankly, I'm amazed that you can do all that you are doing, never mind riding even as much as you do. I admire your deep dedication to your horses, for their good and yours.