Thursday, March 25, 2010

Aidol's Story....... Physical Therapy and Beyond...

Part 1

Before I could do anymore riding, I wanted the two bones to heal in this darn finger. I wasn't taking anymore chances on doing any damage that might make those miserable pins stay in place any longer than necessary. That meant I was staying off of any and all horses at least until physical therapy started.

This was my first broken bone as an adult. Granted I didn't begin my adventure with horses until I was forty but that shouldn't have meant I would have problems healing but I did. No one really knew why I wasn't healing like I should, only that this injury that should have healed in a few weeks took months to heal.

When I did get into physical therapy those two fingers seemed to be cemented into place. There wasn't even a tiny bit of movement in either of them. I didn't think sitting in corn husks up to my wrist was going to do anything to get either finger moving and the manual manipulation to force them to "give" was not fun. I mentally cussed out that farrier at each and ever PT session.

Eventually I ended up with complete mobility in my little finger but only partial mobility in my ring finger. I have total movement in the first digit of my ring finger but probably only about 50% in the second. Despite those pins this finger ended up crooked as well.
The end result was I cannot close my hand completely.

Because that was my "rein" hand for riding western I was worried that finger might look to a judge like I was trying to do something sneaky with my hand. The rule states the hand must remain closed at all times. I worked hard in PT to get that stiffness out of my finger so I could show with a closed hand but it just didn't happen. After several weeks of physical therapy with no improvement it was time to admit I was stuck with a finger that would not wrap around my reins.

For years after this accident I rode western horses in the full bridle holding my reins in my right hand instead of my left. Some might wonder what difference that makes. According to western protocol you're supposed to hold your reins with the "off" hand from your roping hand (even though pleasure riders don't really have a rope). That means a right handed person would hold those reins in the left leaving the right hand for the rope.

In western pleasure people would assume I am left handed because I showed with the reins in my right. Technically speaking, I hold my reins in the "wrong" hand whenever I do that because I am in fact right handed.

With age I've gotten used to the fact that finger does not close around the rein so I guess it feels less conspicuous to me now. I've learned to not be so concerned with what a judge might think. Now I tend to show with the reins in my left hand even though my ring finger cannot close around the reins. However, from time to time I go on auto pilot and pick up those reins with my right hand. Don't be surprised to see pics of me riding with either hand. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to how I get to that.

Once I did get back to riding Aidol was pretty much on the back burner for me. He was not "my" horse, he was Dave's. When I had extra time I rode him still working towards getting enough miles on him that Dave could ride him on the trails.

Working in time to ride Aidol just didn't seem to be happening like it should so I decided maybe the best way to deal with this was to do some trail riding with him myself. I'd been doing some poker rides with my show horse to change things up a bit. He was doing so well, I figured maybe Dave could ride him while I rode Aidol. That way Dave would get to learn a little about trail riding and Aidol would get some experience on the trails before the two were ready to have a go at it together.

My show horse, Malachite, had already done a couple of poker rides that summer. The horse had even been stung by a couple of bees on our last ride. The horse had handled the situation well. There was nothing to say he would not be a safe horse for Dave to ride.

There happened to be a poker ride over on Fort Lewis that August that was a fund raiser for one of the local fire districts. It was a relatively flat ride so I considered it to be a good choice for a baby horse and for a rider like Dave (who just happened to have never BEEN on a horse before).

When we got to the site, the place was swarming with horse trailers. Just finding a place to park turned out to be a chore. Dave began to worry about ALL those people.......... thinking he was probably going to make a fool out of himself............. and he sure didn't want to be doing that in front of all these people.

I laughed at his apprehension and told him not to worry. It's the nature of poker rides for people to be in small groups. If anything did happen it would probably not be witnessed by anyone but me........ or at least that's what my experience had been up to this point.

Still Dave was worried but I wasn't about to let him back out now. I figured the way things were going if I didn't get him on a horse soon, he would lose his nerve all together. What would be the point of having Aidol if Dave didn't ever want to get up on a horse.

To be continued....................

Tales from the Trails

On the left in this pic is Lindsay's pony, Poa Moa Punch, the middle horse is Aidol and the foal is Dandy.

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  1. Having a nerve issue in my right hand I understand and appreciate your condition. Everything changed in the blink of an eye.

  2. We use to board at Ft. Lewis years ago, I miss riding those trails!

  3. Thanks for the visit!! I hope your finger gets better soon!