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Author Topic: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture  (Read 6319 times)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« on: December 31, 2021, 01:42:33 pm »
I've been having weekly riding lessons (on school horses), working on getting my riding and riding muscles back into shape before getting on my own new-to-me Fell mare, Flo.  I am max weight for Flo and she is a still bit green, and I haven't ridden much for 7 or more years, so it seemed a sensible tactic.

I have had 4 half-hour solo lessons, all going well - although it has taken me aback somewhat how much it is not like riding a bike at this age :/  Cantered last lesson - not managing to keep it going very well, but that will come with more practise. 

Today I was booked for my first one hour hack out.  My instructor was confident I was ready and said it would do me a lot of good. 

Well, it was torture.  I have a bit of arthritis in my left hip, which hasn't been too bad in recent months.  I take painkillers after breakfast each day, and don't usually need any more.  I have had a few twinges riding in the school, but not bad enough to be a worry.  Weekly yoga has helped a lot. 

However, the hack was painful from the beginning and agony by about 20 mins in.  I ended up sliding off as the saddle did likewise, but I am sure that was mostly because I wasn't managing to keep my weight constant down the lefthand side, and once it started to go there was nothing to do but arrange myself for the landing... :/ 

We were just about at the furthest point, so no option but to remount and stick it out for another 25 minutes.  I really wanted to just sit and cry for a while once we got back.  The pain was awful, but also I am wondering whether riding my own pony around locally is a non-starter. 

It has been an awful year, knowing that Davy's end would be October if not before and desperately trying to find another Fell as company for Floss and that I could ride, all the while kicking myself for leaving it so long to get back into it, never thinking for a moment that Davy would not be there and able and willing to be my steed when the time came. 

Of course I won't do anything hasty, but I just need to talk to people who will understand!  (And maybe have some "How I overcame arthritis and rode again" stories...)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2021, 05:01:58 pm »
I had a few lesson when I was 65 to get me going again as the girl who was riding Dolly for me moved away. When I did get back in the saddle Dolly and I went for walking hacks. Short ones. We worked up to a couple of miles which was more than enough for me. I needa new hip and knee. I had a job getting on and off but once in the saddle was not too bad. As Dolly died suddenly I have not ridden again and although I did buy a yearling cob to work with I will not be riding her. Now 70 I doubt very much it would be possible. Dora will only be about 13.1  but I can do all the ground work when the time comes and maybe get somone to back and ride her. I have had joint problems for years and the one thing my doctor told me was keep moving so I do.


Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2021, 05:17:45 pm »
i carried on carriage driving when I stopped riding.  I had been carriage driving for many years and did both for about 25 years.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2021, 07:30:23 pm »
Well, I do enjoy groundwork, but I really didn't want to hang up my stirrups just yet.

I am still very sore (about to have another dose of painkillers...) but having thought about it and chatted on an older folks' hacking group, I think there were many factors at play and it doesn't necessarily mean I won't be able to hack Flo. 

Doubling the time and doing something very different (school = lots of bending and changing pace, diagonal, shape, etc, vs hack = two paces only and all in a straight line), and on a much smaller saddle, so less ability to change position, all a bit much I think.  Lesson learned!  Keep it short, not too long doing the same thing, etc.  And I ride Flo in a TCS, so one's position is very unrestricted, so I think that will help too. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2021, 08:32:01 pm »
I'm not sure if it there are exercises for hips, but when I was having trouble walking, my knees were so painful, I was taught exercises, the difference was amazing, I don't still do all the exercises i should, but certain ones, walking OK.
Hope you can manage something, it's nearly 30 years since I rode, when we had a horse here, sometimes the 'want' to ride still hurts.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2021, 10:06:22 pm »
Yes, that is another thing.  I do yoga every week, and we do a lot of work on hips with riding in mind.  But between my pre-Xmas break and my instructor being off over Xmas, I haven't done yoga or dance for several weeks.  Some of the hip stuff I can do in bed, I don't need to do the whole floor mat, relaxation shebang, so I need to make that more of a routine, whether or not I am doing yoga and/or dance sessions.

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2021, 10:45:35 pm »

Doubling the time and doing something very different (school = lots of bending and changing pace, diagonal, shape, etc, vs hack = two paces only and all in a straight line), and on a much smaller saddle, so less ability to change position, all a bit much I think.  Lesson learned!  Keep it short, not too long doing the same thing, etc.  And I ride Flo in a TCS, so one's position is very unrestricted, so I think that will help too.


There is possibly some merit in the above but on the other hand a lesson, where you would be expected to work a lot harder on your position, the school movements and your pony, should be physically more demanding than a hack unless you trotted for long periods and had steep inclines to cope with for example. Ok you rode for longer but it shouldn't leave you in agony, close to tears and needing significant pain relief. :hug:


You say it was painful from the beginning (I'm thinking different pony to the one you have for lessons from the smaller saddle remark?) so that makes me wonder several things - the width or the gait of the pony was wrong for you, the saddle forced you into an uncomfortable position, your stirrups were the wrong length.


There are a lot of advantages to a TCS but there is the real risk that you ride in what is a comfortable position for you and not what is necessarily comfortable for your horse and that a traditional saddle that doesn't allow you to sit as "comfortably" and especially one that isn't a good fit for you would leave you feeling pretty sore. You would actually have to work much harder to maintain a balanced riding position on your TCS as an unfit rider. It could be worth getting your position assessed riding Flo on the TCS. If you can't get her to the riding school, or the coach to you, get someone to take a video.


I used to have a treeless saddle that I found really comfortable but other people found it not so and sometimes extremely uncomfortable because it didn't allow a rider to sit on their fork or their tail.


There are lots of exercises on line to get riding fit and also stretches, which are really important.


I hope you feel better soon. Not a good way to see the New Year in!







Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2021, 10:50:01 pm »
I couldn’t ride while I was pregnant (ponies were PTS at this time) and I got very overweight. I lost weight and got back in the saddle. Then developed arthritis.
After second baby my mobility improved and weight started to came off but the arthritis got worse, I couldn’t grip to open bottles or turn keys and was taking anti inflammatories and pain killers and expecting to be getting injections and eventually surgery. I read about GAPS diet and long story short, I no longer take drugs or have arthritis. I’m sure it doesn’t fix everyone but I sure as hell wish the doctors had started with “cut out sugar, processed food and vegetable oils....” Rather than pain killers and feel duty bound to tell anyone who’s remotely interested that it worked for me.

Only thing I do still get is knee pain if I sit for long, I can live with this.
I know how s**t it is when you’re unable to do what you want and I’ve watched my mum give up riding her horse through arthritis as well. How about western saddle? We both found this more comfortable.  I hope you can find a way to make it work for you in 2022.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2022, 09:41:44 am »
Have you had a medical assessment as to what stage your hip is actually in? I have had one of mine replaced (at the tender age of 52) and it is unbelievable the improvment it has given me wrt mobility and quality of life. However with the current waiting lists getting incredibly long I would seriously consider NOT riding and trying (with the help of a physio) to keep moving appropriately and coming off the painkillers.


The combinations of painkillers and HRT I was on before my op caused my blood pressure to go sky high (probably - as coming off all medication except blood pressure tablets meant it came down within 6 weeks to normal). But it was a horrible time, so not taking painkillers (and HRT) is not necessarily recommended....


But your hip will not get any better as it will be ostheoarthritis (wear&tear plus age, plus being female over the age of 50) rather than rheumatoid arthritis (an immune system disorder nothing to do with age). So you are (unless private is an option) in for the long(ish) run with your hip and back pain, so maybe riding is currently not the way to keep moving? I think a phyio consultation could be very useful in helping you make a decision.


PS.: I am not riding and have not ridden seriously since coming off badly as a teenager.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2022, 12:52:56 pm »
Thanks for all the ideas and advice, everyone.

Yes I had my hip assessed, including x-rays, the first time it did this - which was after a many miles long walk alongside the slope of a mountain in Scotland, on my honeymoon!  So I was only early 30s at the time.  X-rays showed nothing, but I was in agony, literally, for some time before it settled.  It's been on and off grumbling pretty much ever since.  But the "off" can be months or even years, to the point where I can't even remember which is the dodgy hip.  Then it has a grumble, and I remember :/.

I have also had x-rays of my one big toe, at that moment the worst spot for pain (after using it to take all my weight as I climbed over hurdles literally hundreds of times in a short period, during lambing), about 15 years ago (so 50 ish by then).  Again, nothing to see, but the doc said he'd put money on osteoarthritis nonetheless. 

Further GP checks on all leg joints a few years later (no x-rays, just a physical exam), he said nowhere near bad enough to consider taking it further for now.  Looking back, I realise I just allowed my physical activity to decrease to avoid pain, even though it meant giving up some activities I really enjoyed - of which one was riding my (very broad) Fell ponies. 

Increasing levels of discomfort, especially in winter, was a big factor in my decision to move back to the SW of England.  If I had stayed in Cumbria, I would have had to increase the meds, and I preferred to defer that stage if possible.

This last 8 months or so, I have been doing yoga again, and I had a little go on Davy in the summer to see if my hips looked up to it, before deciding on whether to look for a rideable successor or just a fieldmate for Floss, (which could be a youngster to bring on to ready to ride, then sell, or a non-ridden pony.)  No pain whatsoever, it being summer and the yoga being very helpful.  I couldn't do a lot with Davy as his tumour made using any kind of bridle or halter potentially painful for him, but previously, when still in Cumbria, I had been unable to even sit astride for a moment without significant discomfort, so I figured I looked to be good for a bit more riding yet, and searched for something rideable.

I do find diet to be important, yes.  Not GAPS exactly but a similar regime (Harcombe plan) works for me.  (No refined sugar at all, aim for slow-release carbs, nothing processed, never be hungry, and avoid eating much in the way of fats at the same meal as carbs.)   If I watch it, I can eat lovely food and lose weight - not without trying, exactly, but without misery! - if I want to.  It's tough to manage with communal meals, though, so I have to avoid some of the meals (and almost all of the puds :/) that are offered, but it's a small price to pay for feeling healthier and happier. 

Western saddle is a non-starter with Flo, unfortunately, as she is very short-backed (even more so than most Fells, and in fact I think few Fells have a long enough back for a western saddle), but the TCS gives you the same ability to sit in a more comfortable position and doesn't constrain your position in any way, so you can adjust your position and how you carry your weight as you need.  On my hack, I was actually not in anything like as much pain if I kicked the left stirrup off while in walk, so I am pretty sure that being less constrained is a big factor.  If I had felt a little more sure of the pony and my own balance, I would maybe have crossed the stirrups on his neck and ridden stirrupless the rest of the ride.  But his trot was quite staccato, and not as comfortable to ride sitting as other horses, and I was worried I might bounce off, or make him uncomfortable.  It was a 7-person ride - 5 clients and 2 staff - so I didn't want to impact the ride too much for others, as far as possible, or I would have done stirrupless walking, and get the stirrups back for trotting.  Rising trot was much more comfortable than walking in stirrups, even so, which is another thing that makes me think being stuck in one position was a huge factor.  It's maybe something the 20- and 30-something BHSAIs are not going to really be able to appreciate, but those of us who know about being stiff getting up out of a chair if we've sat a little too long... ;) 




Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2022, 01:12:38 pm »
So all in all, whilst I am still in some pain 6 days later (and taking more meds until it subsides even more), I am not nearly as disheartened now as I was immediately after.

I shall go and see a chiropractor to see if they can shed light on what is going on, and the GP after that if indicated.

Weekly yoga resumes tomorrow, hurrah :)   :excited:

I am trying a few different supplements to see if that might help too.  Too early to know yet, but I have added boswelia on the recommendation of a few other older riders, and similarly also have bought some CBD oil to try (yes, a pukka one ;)).  If I can, I will give the boswelia a month before starting the CBD, so I can see what is making a difference - if there is one.

And winter will eventually end, and with it, the cold and dankness will reduce...  :fc:

Another thing from the 'older riders' forum, as well as a couple of you here, was to be prepared to do little and often in the saddle, and accept my own limitations.  If I can only do a mile at a walk, on the level, twice a week, at least in winter, then so be it!  I just love spending time with them, and they like it too, so we will adapt to what is feasible and pleasurable :).   And yes, training Flo (and maybe Floss too, if she is willing) to be driven was part of the plan anyway.

I am signed up to the Fell Pony Society Centenary "100 miles for 100 years", and everything counts.  In hand, long lining, long reining, riding, driving - everything.  Flo is just happy to be doing things with you, so we will do a bit of all of those, and reach the target as slowly as we need!  (In the SW we have until mid Nov to complete the mileage and get a rosette.  Of course we can take the whole year if we want, but it's complete by mid Nov to be in for the rosette.)


Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2022, 02:25:11 pm »
You're sounding much more positive Sally,  :thumbsup: , good to hear you're working round it, hope the little and often is much easier on you.  :)

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2022, 04:17:18 pm »
One of the things that I find helpful while walking, esp on uneven ground is to take a walking stick. Yes I know it's what "old" people do, but it actually helps me to walk more upright and hugely improves my posture. I have found that after a few years with really bad hip pain my way of walking had deteriorated, and I had to re-learn how to walk properly... I know it sounds crazy, but getting your posture while moving about looked at by a physio is really helpful (it was for me).


Also the "doing things in short bursts" - such getting up from sitting position every 20 mins or so (I even use a timer when I am on my sewing machine), or stopping and bending my knees while out on a walk (like sitting down) is useful.


I am adamant that I am not going back onto daily pain medication for my ostheoarthritis (and that included CBD for me) and have changed my exercise accordingly... so I cannot go back to running ever, but walking and cycling is still possible, as is messing round in my garden and with the goats (incl mucking out).




SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2022, 04:31:22 pm »
I am glad you have found things that work for you, Anke  :hug:.  I think we all have to figure out our own parameters.

Yes, a walking stick is pretty much essential for me for uneven ground, especially when muddy, and I have used one for hiking for the last 30+ years, so don't even think about the "oldies" thing!  lol.  I seem to manage ok without a stick when taking the pony for a walk in-hand, but I guess that's usually not (up to now anyway) a huge distance or very uneven underfoot.

A mix of conventional meds, supplements, diet and the right sort of exercise seems to be the right ingredients for me.  (Central heating has been a game changer too.)  In this particular case, I think I have learned a lot about taking on new physical activities at my age... smaller steps / increments being the biggest lesson!  🤣

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Just did a 1 hour hack and it was torture
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2022, 05:24:05 pm »
One of the things that I find helpful while walking, esp on uneven ground is to take a walking stick. Yes I know it's what "old" people do, but it actually helps me to walk more upright and hugely improves my posture. I have found that after a few years with really bad hip pain my way of walking had deteriorated, and I had to re-learn how to walk properly... I know it sounds crazy, but getting your posture while moving about looked at by a physio is really helpful (it was for me).


Also the "doing things in short bursts" - such getting up from sitting position every 20 mins or so (I even use a timer when I am on my sewing machine), or stopping and bending my knees while out on a walk (like sitting down) is useful.hp


I am adamant that I am not going back onto daily pain medication for my ostheoarthritis (and that included CBD for me) and have changed my exercise accordingly... so I cannot go back to running ever, but walking and cycling is still possible, as is messing round in my garden and with the goats (incl mucking out).
I was shocked when I saw myself on our security camera, I was was wobbling along like an old farmer, (O.K.,  i am getting on a bit, but shouldnt be that bad!) Now when im walking i try and remember that, and stride out, like on the walking maching at physio class. Cycling would be a good idea, but halfway up a hillside there is quite a climb before or after i can pedal easily. Thinking of an electric bike tnough 😊. 

 

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