Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rider Confessions

The last time that I rode my horse, I was hung-over. 

"Hung-over the saddle" that is and specifically the pommel.  I think that I might actually be hitting the stage where I no longer fit in the saddle.  I am about 31 weeks pregnant, for those who may be wondering what on Earth I am talking about.

I rode Harley on the last day of Spring Break, April 5th.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day and he was blissfully free of coughs.  I rode him for a short time after our (less than stellar) long-lining session and he wanted very badly to canter.  The canter was wonderful, but I chose to stand in my stirrups.  It just didn't feel right to sit anymore.  I could barely stand high enough to keep all of myself out of the saddle and off the pommel.  With dressage length stirrups, this was a challenge.  We returned to posting trot, as Harley offered a lovely stretch and I found that I was having the same trouble in trot.  Sure, I could raise my stirrups a few holes, but raising your center of balance is contrary to a balanced position and security in the saddle.  Obviously, giving up either of those things in not an option, especially when Harley is carrying two of us!

I think my saddle days are over until after our baby's birthday.  Tomorrow, it will have been two weeks since I rode my horse and I already miss it.  I know that this is for a very good reason, but it still makes me sad to think of not riding him for months.  I am also not sure when I will be able to ride him after the baby is born.  I really, really, really hope that I do not have to have a c-section.  Thankfully, so far there is no reason to suggest that I will.  I need my core muscles in one piece to ride my horse and I cannot imagine not riding for the entire summer.  Now that notion really makes me sad.

I have still been visiting Harley and working him from the ground.  We have had some really nice lungeing sessions.  He has been feeling good and so eager to work that his transitions have been spot on from just my voice.  He has also been stretching his topline and touching his nose to the ground as he trots around me.  He looks so beautiful that it just makes me want to ride him more!

I am really glad that I took the time to teach my horse and myself groundwork exercises long before I ever knew that there would be a time that I couldn't ride my horse.  However, this doesn't change the fact that I long for that swinging motion in the saddle.  Nothing else quite compares.

24 comments:

  1. Nothing else does compare, but at least you have been riding some up until now! I know a lot of women don't ride at all when they're pregnant.

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    1. You are right. I am very grateful that I have not had to give it up earlier than this. Harley is a good boy and I have been feeling great, so I am dually lucky.

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  2. It sounds as if you've made the right decision for you right now concerning Harley. Even though you miss riding being safe is what's important. I think you'll be surprised at how quickly time passes and how soon after the baby is born you'll be back in the saddle.

    In the meantime groundwork is always a good option along with grooming and just spending quality time with your boy.

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    1. Thanks for the confirmation. Harley is pretty happy to do whatever type of activity I throw at him. He does not like idleness, so as long as I continue to give him some kind of job, he should be okay with the arrangement. I will be okay, too.

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  3. I think that you are being sensible. FYI I was back in the saddle 4 weeks after giving birth. It was heaven. :)

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  4. I had to give up saddle time at 32 weeks as well - you just have too much weight in the front to feel safe anymore! :)

    If you really want to avoid the Caesarian, I can really recommend doing research on natural birthing techniques as well as familiarising yourself with the procedures that your doctors/midwives might wish to do while your in labor.

    Also really helpful can be visiting an osteopath, as is a great way to prepare your body for birth - you'll probably have to do a few visits, but it's worth it to help release your muscles. My osteopath also showed my husband how to release the ligament points so I got lovely massages which really helps with all aches and pains in the last few weeks!

    I end up with an emergency c.s. with my first, and I really hadn't wanted any interventions at all! Thankfully, my little girl arrived two weeks ago by natural delivery, so I am anticipating a much shorter time to be back riding! Yay! (After the Caesarian I had to wait at least two months to ride. I rode at six weeks and that was too soon... )

    I hope I'm not bugging you with this long comment! Please feel free to totally ignore anything I said if you want too. It's just that I had a really hard time with/after the c.s., so if I can help anyone else to avoid one, then I will. Unless they don't want me too. You can just tell me to shut up if you like Val. ; )

    bonita of A Riding Habit

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    1. Hi Bonita,

      Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. I do not mind experienced input. I am researching natural childbirth and taking a childbirth class with my husband. I have high hopes for a positive experience and am trying to set myself up for success as best I can, just like I do for my horse when learning something new. I have never been to an osteopath, but will probably do some reading since you recommended it.

      Congratulations on the birth of your daughter!

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    2. That sounds great Val, I do wish you all the best. :)

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  5. Sorry to say unless you have a vaginal delivery with no tears it'll probably be 6 weeks after she's born before you can ride again. I tore and I'm not even close to being able to ride again.

    FYI- before she's born get yourself a couple packs of maxi pads and ibuprofen. Ice packs wouldn't hurt either.

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    1. Good to hear from you again!

      Maybe I should add a gel saddle-saver cover to the list. ;)

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    2. It does depend on how badly you tear/how quickly you heal too! I tore (2nd - almost 3rd degree; sorry if TMI!) but I rode last week - four weeks after my girl was born! :DDD

      I took it very easy; only walk/trot for 20 mins or so, but it was great to be back in the saddle and I'm planning on doing it again this weekend. You just have to be careful, but it can be done. :)

      Although I bet I wouldn't mind a gel saddle cover to help out! ; )
      bonita

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    3. That is great! I am so happy that you got to ride four weeks out! :)

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  6. You've only got a couple of months to go before you fit back into that saddle. It'll seem slow, but you'll get there.

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  7. All This Ground Work, Sounds Lovely. There Is Nothing Like Lunge Line Skill, And Driving Skills.

    You Gave You're Baby A Taste For The Canter!!! I'm SOO Happy, He'll/She'll Want That Again, I'm Sure!(After He's In The World, And Out Of You).

    Not Too Long Now! My Sister Bad A10 Lb 9 Ounce Boy, At A Natural Birthing Clinic....It Was So Awesome,I Was There The Entire Birth. Her Nurses Really Prepared Her, And She Did Not Rip......Eras Back On The Horse Within The Month.

    Praying All The Best Outcomes
    For You Too!


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    1. Thank you so much, KK. I am totally blown away by your sister's accomplishment. Being back in the saddle within the month sounds great!

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  8. Val ---Harley will be waiting for you to ride him once again----You & Harley were destined to be partners--in the meantime, take time to relax & put your feet up!

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  9. I would have loved to been able to ride during my last pregnancy. I even had grand plans when I first found out I was pregnant, lol! However, after my first ultrasound and the diagnosis of twins, I was placed firmly in the "high risk" category and told to not do anything that could be viewed as remotely dangerous... :-/... Anyways, here's my experience:

    If you end up in back labor your baby is (more than likely) facing the wrong way - there are certain moves that can help the little one turn. (This was my first baby and once the docs figured out he was "sunny side up" and head tilted to the side, they corrected his position and he was out in one contraction)

    As long as your baby is not in distress your body is not in distress you can have your baby the way you want to. I was pressured at EVERY single OB appointment to schedule a c-section with my twins. However, I did not need one, and the labor would have been a million times faster without an epidural. We went from 4cm to 7cm in an hour. I got the epidural (they required it just in case of a c-section) and did not progress for 6 hours. They sat me upright in bed and I had my girls less than an hour later. Seriously.

    Lastly, gravity is your bestfriend in labor. Use it to your advantage!!!

    Oh, and nothing you do will "make" you go into labor other than time or the drugs the doctors give you, lol. I tried everything recommended once it was safe (41wks with my son and then 36wks with my twins to hopefully, and unsuccessfully, avoid an induction)and absolutely nothing worked, ugh!!!

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    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for sharing such personal stories with me. I really do appreciate it, as this will be our first child. I understand why you couldn't ride with twins! I also feel for you with regards to the pressure you experienced to schedule a c-section and then being required to have an epidural. That must have been so frustrating. I did not know that labor could be slowed that dramatically.

      I plan on making very good friends with gravity. :)

      Congratulations on your birthing accomplishment with your girls!

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  10. Hopefully your obgyn is not of the (too prevalent these days) type that:

    insists on scheduling your labor to their convenience by pushing induction and c-section

    treats pregnancy as an illness rather than the natural miracle that it is

    After getting to "know" you through your blog I imagine that as sensitive and intuitive as you are with Harley and your riding, (in touch with your body) you'll sail through labor.

    I hope your experience is speedy and as comfortable as possible, and always remember - you are the boss of your birthing experience. As long as you have no major complications, you should do it how you want to.

    (p.s. don't discount the epidural - my experience was three hours total - no delay, no tearing and calm peaceful smooth delivery)

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    1. Thank you for the very flattering compliment. I hope you are right about my future labor experience.

      I am very happy with my doctors' office. There is a combination of doctors and midwives. There has been no pressure to schedule my labor. If there was, I would probably leave and find a new office!

      I have a midwife and hope that she will be available when our daughter decides to grace us with her presence. :)

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  11. I commend you for riding up until 31 weeks :) What fun! Your daughter gets to enjoy one of nature's greatest thrills; a ride on a pony.

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