The really awful, frustrating, painful part of not having ridden in several years is the day after a ride.
When I was still riding regularly, if I was off for a week or two (or one particularly… memorable… time, a month), I thought nothing of hopping on and trotting without stirrups at length to get back into shape. Yeah, okay, I’d limp and moan the next day, but it wasn’t a big deal. My stirrups were always the right length still. I was still balanced. I could hop up and go.
That was… umm… four or five years ago? Almost six, maybe? Also, an embarrassingly large number of pounds ago.
One, my knees are apparently less flexible than they once were. This makes getting my foot into the stirrup an occasion for thought and study. Why does it not bend like it used to? How the heck do I get my foot up there? Is it really as far as it feels? It doesn’t look that far. That can’t be more than six or eight inches. Can I really not bend that far without lifting my foot up? I suspect more of this than I care to think about is weight-related; the muscles still bend that way, they just need help to get past the heft. Getting on the horse once I’ve got my foot in the stirrup is trivial in comparison.
Two, I’m right-heavy again. I’m dominantly right-handed and right-footed, and I’ve had issues with too much weight in the right stirrup in the past. I could swear I was past those! But it’s kind of hard to ignore my right foot going to sleep, even with dropping my stirrups a hole this week.
Three is not really a realization – it’s more of a complaint. My muscles hurt! Thighs, back, and butt are the current offenders. My calves seem to be OK, but that doesn’t really surprise me; I am naturally flexible in the calf and back of the leg region, to the point where instead of just being able to touch my toes, I can lay my hands flat on the ground. “Heels down,” I can do. <img src="http://blog.emeraldsilver.com/rsc/smilies/graylaugh.gif" title=")” alt=”)” class=”middle” width=”15″ height=”15″ /> But this is walk and a little trot work, maybe some walking without stirrups – nothing that would have kicked my younger, thinner self’s butt like this!
I didn’t ride last week because Keeley, Heather’s mom’s mare that I’ve been riding, was lame. (I led around the super-cute miss Nox instead and kicked my own butt with walking and the heat…) Keeley’s still off, so yesterday I rode Doodles instead, and I’m almost as sore as I was the first week. The sad part is, I did less trotting this week than I did that first week! Argh!