Thursday, September 13, 2012

Overcoming Obstacles -- When My Knee Prevented me from Mounting

Right around Easter my knee started having some major health issues.   For a month or two I couldn't walk without crutches.    Of course I didn't want to stop riding though just because I couldn't walk!

Unfortunately it was my left knee with the problem -- my mounting leg.   I knew it would be an issue if the horse moved so I asked my daughter to hold my horse while I tried to mount using the mounting block.  I grabbed the mane to help pull me up.  I lowered the stirrup.  I wrapped my arms around his neck.  I tried mounting from the other side.   Then I cried.   I just couldn't get my butt into the saddle.   I took a break and tried again.  Another failure.  I cried some more.  This was truly worthy of  a pity party.  Waaaaa!   How could I live without riding?  (And yes... if my husband reads that line he will probably laugh... but really... my horsie friends get that I am serious.)

I gave it a few days and thought about how I was going to make this work. 

I needed two things -- the horse to stay absolutely still (and not have to find someone to hold him each time I got on) and a way of getting on from a higher point.

So I dragged a large plastic tack box to the arena and placed it parrallel to the arena wall with a space about the size of a trailer stall between it and the wall.  I then placed my mounting block along its long side effectively making a stair.

Now to see if it worked!   I led Golly into the chute created between the arena wall and the tack box.   Because I had it in the corner the chute had three sides so he had no way to move unless he went backwards.   No side steps!

Walking easily up the stairs I easily swung my leg over his back and tada!  I was astride!  Then a simple rein back out and I had accomplished my goal.

The added benefit of the chute system is that Golly has drastically improved his rein back as he is being forced to go straight out the back with no wiggle.

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