I haven’t ridden my horses much over the past few years. They have all aged quite a bit and are now considered seniors. My oldest and beloved Ernie left us back in January at the age of 25 and the other two Doozy and Angel have now hit 20. I’m starting to look for “senior” feeds and finding ways to keep their older bones warmer over winter. The thing is they are not old for their age. Ive had both for nearly 10 years and they have lived well. in the past few years they have been more of a pet than a work horse and the most work they have done is mowing the grass in the house paddock.
Seeing as my health has forced me back to living in my home town and with my parents, I have had the pleasure of spending more time with my boys and I have been feeling an overwhelming need to not just start riding again, but to train and one day compete in dressage.
Here is the catch! I now have a neurological disease called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and while im not crippled at this stage, I’m also not as able bodied as I once was. I’m also still having my neurological symptoms looked at and the possibility of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis is hanging over me. At this stage things that will be a hurdle for me, besides chronic pain, will be weakness in my hands and legs and days with my hands having constant tremors and reduced movement.
As far as my horses go, they are getting too old to really compete with. They are still able to be ridden, but to compete I would need a much younger horse. I’m not really interested in Riding Angel, while he is a dream to ride; he has a habit of rearing when things get too hard. I really need to consider my safety with him. So that leaves me my boy Doozy. He is my reliable one and I trust him to take care of me. However, over the past couple of years he has developed intolerance to too much protein in his food and he now has a few problems from it that we need to manage. Despite this, he is going to be my trusted steed and get me going again. Ill consider him my school horse.
On the positive side, horse riding is great therapy for people with neurological problems. There are lots of people with MS who ride as part of their therapy and I’m so excited to have the excuse to train again. I’m not looking to compete until I have a new horse and feel I’m Riding at a decent level. Really I just want to ride and be with my boys. At the end of the day, you need to make the most of what you have.
So far I have just started lunging Doozy. I want to get him listening to me and build up some top line before I put a saddle on him. I also want to wait until I get one more check from the vet to make sure he is good to go. I also want to talk to my physio about it before I get on. Really it’s tempting to just hop on, I hate lunging and so does Doozy, but I think this is something I need to take my time with.