In July 2007, I hurt both hands badly, 2nd and 3rd degree burns, 8 fingers involved (not thumbs). Bandaged up for months. Still not right. Today, for instance, I found out that my beloved riding gloves do not fit anymore, won't even go on, because my right hand is too swollen, which at this point is chronic. I'll have to get new and larger. Early in 2008, just when the bandages were off and things starting to get to the point that I was past infection risk and could consider returning to riding, my Mom totally crashed mentally, and there's no way in 2008 that I could have done anything that I would be unable to drop at a second's notice if need be to either do something for her or, usually, prevent her from doing something.
But it is a new year! After Mom's recent placement and me starting to catch up with life, I asked my trainer for a reference to a nice steady guy to take my first ride on, because my main mare has also had 18 months off, and she is a tester. I wasn't sure how my hands would react, and I needed to find that out and know it before getting back with her. She is the wrong horse to load up additional unknown quantities when you mount.
And then there is the new horse, shipping down in a few weeks. Deal basically closed on her. I do want to ride her, to confirm what I saw in the video, that she reminds me of my first Trak. But I trust my trainer's judgment. So basically, unless the ride is totally unlike what I and trainer are expecting, she stays here. I'm really excited about her and plan lots of riding and showing this year. But again, I didn't think my first ride back, especially not knowing what to expect and not being able to fully trust my hands, ought to be also the first ride on my new horse.
So I asked the trainer whose old dressage horse I could borrow to discover where I stood, and she referred me to a neat barn I went to today. And for the first time in 18 months, I rode.
The hands are not the hands they used to be. They never will be again. But I experimented a bit, and I adjusted, and the saintly 27-year-old gelding I was on put up with it all. We finally arrived at a rein-holding strategy that both worked and didn't hurt as much as the usual way did. Then off into a lesson. Walking, trotting, cantering. I will be sore tomorrow, but the body had not forgotten, anymore than the mind had. I know now what it will be like. It was not knowing what to expect from my hands under riding pressure that bothered me most; I knew I could deal with it, but I needed to know what I would be dealing with. I can't wait to get back into the swing of things in upcoming weeks with my old girl and my new girl to come.
I know exactly how you feel dressagetraks. I have not ridden for 6 months due to a deteriorating hip joint and had it replaced 4 months ago and just got the okay from my surgeon yesterday to start riding. So, first ride today, New Years Day, after 6 months and it felt GREAT! Walked, trotted, cantered and even held on while she bucked and played some! And, it felt GREAT!!! I was so afraid I was going to have to 'hang up my spurs' for good.
So, I understand the elation!!!! Congratulations!!
He was a grand old fellow. I'd never ridden him before or been to that barn; was referred by my trainer, who knows everybody's horse. He was patient with the working things out with my hands, but he also had had quite a bit of dressage training, and he made you work for it. Took a lot of seat and leg, and you had to truly be going with him. Any tension in the seat anywhere, and he was like radar. He has a lot left for 27.
I'm not as sore today as I thought I'd be, and what soreness there is is symmetrical.