Slow Progress

On February 28, 2013 by Sarah Lewis

It would be quite hard to have found the past few weeks very exciting. I was amazed just how quickly the fight died out of me once I knew my leg was broken, but hopefully it has made steady, if rather uncomfortable progress. After four weeks I am now completely out of plaster, and going about fairly normally, if very slowly. The recent cold weather has made the break a bit achy, but generally the ankle seems stronger and less swollen. As my energy has returned, every drawer in the house has been reorganised, so I am definitely well on the mend.

I have been on the receiving end of so much kindness and lots of visitors and beautiful flowers.  I have also had a lot of attention from Twiglet who is the only person who has really enjoyed me lying about on the sofa with my leg up.

Homer is now having a well-deserved holiday in the field with his lovely little orange and white yearling friend Nemo, who has been lent to us by Karen Rees. With some excellent help the three mares have managed to keep going. Apart from the first two days I have managed to muck out and Mark has turned them out, Jemma Tester then brings them in at lunch time and Biba McCaul comes and rides a few times a week. Jemma fits me into a day that is busy with little Archie, and Biba into a week of riding more horses than I could have ridden even when I was 21. Anna and Sophie have shared out the weekends. They have worked so hard cooking, organising and riding it has made me feel quite exhausted watching them. Shane gave Emma and Ferro a jump before he set off to Portugal for five weeks, which not only was very kind, but also gave me the opportunity to see exactly how it should be done on my own horses.

I am generally rather lazy about lunging so I was pleasantly surprised to find that all three mares lunge as though they are clockwork.  This has enabled me to keep them ticking over, and given me the chance to have a proper look at them and their way of going. I think Emma has benefitted most: she has always been reluctant to stretch forwards to take the bit, resulting in a rather upright canter and she finally has started to canter in a much more relaxed outline on the lunge, and now when she is ridden. Biba has given them all the occasional jump to keep their minds in gear and for the past week I have been able to sit on them. Initially it would have been hard to call it riding, and I was so unfit, but after a whole 9 days I can feel myself getting stronger. The first time I asked Emma to canter she failed to notice, whereas now I can keep them going forward, and even go sideways and do changes, and feel much more confident.  We are off on holiday soon, so I am resisting the temptation to try jumping before we return and the statutory six weeks are up.

I am hoping to come back from holiday with a tan, two ankles of similar size and having managed to swim myself back to fitness. Hopefully I can then think about a plan for the summer shows. It would be great to be fully up to speed for Windsor, and it will make a good, but maybe slightly ambitious, goal.I had another morning at teaching the Old Surrey & Burstow Pony Club in half-term. As it was snowing when I got up, and started to look like a blizzard as I arrived at Felbridge, I was feeling far from enthusiastic. However, I had fantastic pony club mothers to help with the jumps, and really rewarding pupils. In the first ride I had six fantastic ponies and in the second ride six lovely horses. All the riders were enthusiastic, listened, tried really hard and were brilliant at keeping themselves on the move. By the end of each session, mostly by reiterating the principles of good corners, getting straight and keeping a good canter, two very different groups of very different ages were jumping a course in a most professional way. I am always quite nervous about teaching, rather wondering if I have much to impart, but both these sessions have been very rewarding, so hopefully they have not only been beneficial to me.