Age affects our strength, our flexibility, our physical endurance. Age gives us experience, hindsight, and knowledge, and drives our passion. The older person takes less physical stress, less impact to create more damage, poorer healing, and a longer rehab and then, of course, a loss of confidence. When I was young, I was strong, confident, and skilled.
I had very few falls, I broke a few bones and they healed. I never suffered fear or a loss of confidence. Now I am old…er. Injury is affecting me as a rider. Shoulder tendon tears, lumbar herniated discs, and broken limbs in the past affect me now.
I did not expect old age symptoms to affect me until I was old. It has snuck up on me, though. In 2013 my horse got bogged in the dam and struggled his way out. I grabbed for the neck strap but he went one way and I went the other way as I was flung out of the saddle. I landed next to him but I had ripped my shoulder apart.
This was a simple bad luck fall. My age was the problem, my tendons just tore apart. Maybe 10 years younger they may have just stretched.
I had surgery to repair my shoulder did all my own exercises and fully recovered, the fall was not a confidence hitter,…… just bad luck. I returned to riding, after 3 months of rehab, my strength was good, my confidence was good, all was good, and then bang! The horse hit a bank, hit the deck, and rammed me into the ground, shoulder first. I suffered a grade 3 rupture of my AC joint in the same shoulder.
Just bad luck really! Age or bad riding? 6 weeks in a sling and more rehab but to no avail more surgery is needed.
Well, while planning surgery dates to protect my shoulders I did ride, gentle safe riding, I didn’t lift anything just kept riding while waiting for a surgery date. Bang the other shoulder is ripped apart lunging a horse….2 shoulders need surgery now. The right one to re-repair the torn cuff and the ruptured AC joint and the left one needs a cuff repair.
Well, the left has been done and soon the right shoulder is to be done.
I still have another repair on the right shoulder to look forward to…..Time off work, many $1000 for medical expenses, pain, time to heal, time to think, time to plan. Time to worry about what else may happen, and of course, everybody suggesting it is time I gave up horses!!! I now have experience of age, injury, pain, and fear. I also have others telling me to give it all up.
This is a scenario I get emails about nearly every day. Riders returning to the sport after a long time away…..scared. Riders returning to riding after having children..scared. Riders returning from a major injury..scared! Riders new to the sport, taking it up at a later time in their life..scared. Well as you can read the history is similar, that is, an injury, trauma, older bodies, pain, weakness, and a loss of confidence. Me at the moment.
Recovering From Injury and Fear
I am physically accepting time for healing. As a Physio I have knowledge. I will start a range of movement stretches soon, once I have the range I will start gravity-free exercises. From there I will add strength and movement pattern exercises. Core exercises have never been stopped as well as posture movement pattern exercises. I will then pick up all the Applied Posture Riding Movement Patterns and plan to get back in the saddle within the next 6 weeks.
I have to address my fear, though.
The past 18 months have been filled with bad luck, pain, expense, and time healing. Before my first fall in the dam, I was a strong confident, skilled, and very safe rider. I practice safe procedures, I wear a helmet, chaps, and a neck strap, and my gear is always well-fitted and safe.
I understand the horse I am riding and the stage of training he is at. I warm up correctly and don’t take chances on anything. I have been in this industry for a long time.
Well, my bad luck continued and I had to put my horse down due to a bad luck injury, so now I am in the position to start again or retire and just teach. Well, I still face one more surgery on my right shoulder, and I have to buy another horse. I am recovering physically I am suffering financially and psychologically. I don’t want to just be a trail rider. I want to ride and train and compete at a low level and teach.
I revisited 18 months ago and focused on my skills, my strength, and talents as a rider. I respect my age and luck. I plan to buy another horse and start again. I still have passion and time to enjoy. If fear is going to inhibit me I will look internally and gain confidence from knowing I am skilled and ready. I have given this advice, so now I will use it. The Applied Posture Riding Movement Patterns are still my principal routines to follow.
I don’t want to just be a trail rider (no offense to those who do). I want to ride and train and compete at a low level and teach. I respect my age and luck. I plan to buy another horse and start again. I still have passion and time to enjoy. If fear is going to inhibit me I will look internally and gain confidence from knowing I am skilled and ready. I have given this advice, so now I will use it.