I got back in the saddle for the first time today, after nearly 19 weeks in recovery from the fall that broke my back.
How was my back in the saddle? Fabulous, I’m happy to report!
Of course, I had a lot of help and I helped myself by setting things up for success.
I followed the advice of my Yankee-Irish horsewhispering boyfriend: The slow way is the fast way and the fast way is the slow way, a saying which loyal readers of my blog have heard before.
I picked the perfect pair to help me find out what I could and couldn’t do in the saddle — Rachel Markels Webber, longeur extraordinaire, and her vaulting horse Pico, she of the smooth and rhythmic gaits.
The biggest surprise of the day? Sitting the trot was easier than posting the trot.
My favorite exercise of the day? Putting my palms up against an imaginary wall in front of me and pushing against that wall without moving my hands. It was magic, helping to lengthen my back and stabilize my torso.
Best accessory? A 1″ thick, Australian merino wool seat saver, dressage cut and brown to match my Niedersuss (it comes in ten colors and other cuts, so if you break your back and you want a red one for your Billy Cook or a hunter green one for your Butet, you know where to go).
Of course, everything wouldn’t have gone half as well without an incredible support group helping me for months on end, doing everything from picking stalls to picking feet, chauffeuring me around, patiently rescheduling lessons to accommodate my therapy, putting on the tortoiseshell brace that made me look like a Bot, and making sure my young warmblood didn’t get the idea that he was retired.
Before I sit his trot, though, I need to have a core that’s stronger than ever before. Yoga starts next week. Alexander Technique is daily (for a clear and effective guide to this sometimes opaque therapy, I recommend this). Soon, we’ll see about bodyrocking!