Tuesday, December 21, 2010

And....the riding screeches to a halt.

Yeah, what it says. Over the past couple weeks, the temperatures dipped down to abnormally cold levels, the wind howled, and I just didn't want to do much more than bundle up in 1000 layers and do the basic feed/muck stall/adjust blanket/scratch withers/kiss routine with Limerick.

And then...

Last Thursday night, I went out for a run. The snow was falling, it wasn't too cold for once, and it was simply beautiful! I wanted to run a normal winter route--along the sidewalks along Warrenville, up Yackley and onto Ogden. Well, I got to the corner of Warrenville and Yackley and abruptly found myself on my back, stars of pain shooting within my head. It hurt so, so badly--it reminded me of the amazing pain I would feel when I hit my head on the ground after falling off horses. But worse.

What had happened?! I was stunned--there's no better word for it. Just stunned.

Suddenly I realized I was by an intersection and people in the nearby cars could probably see me on the ground. I jumped up and moved off the black ice that had taken me down and onto the snow-covered grass. I found my headlamp a few feet away and picked it up and put it back over my head. OH WOW, the pain! My head did not like that headlamp strap...at all!

I tried to shake everything off and proceeded to walk in the direction of my intended route. I got a dozen feet before I realized it was really stupid to be heading that way. I had just fallen on concrete, on the back of my head, what was I thinking? I should go home! The throbbing headache in my forehead was enough to convince me.

When I arrived home and talked to my husband, it was like trying to talk through mush. To compromise, I didn't say much and did my best to speak clearly. I didn't think about why that was happening, and it resolved itself within a few minutes.

But the next day--headache still present--I looked up concussions and read that difficulty speaking after hitting your head is a common symptom of a mild concussion. Ugh. To be safe, I decided I wouldn't ride for about a week--maybe more.

I have a ride scheduled for tomorrow (err, yes, less than a week) but I may change my mind. I plan on lunging Limerick first to get the silliness out of her, and I'll tell her to take it easy on her poor mama!

Hopefully there are no more setbacks. (knock on wood)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter's definitely here

We're sinking deeper into the icy clutches of winter. Normally at around this time, I would be riding less and less. But thanks to my new-found determination to get Limerick into shape for jumping, that's not the case this year.

Fortunately we have a nice warm polyfleece quarter sheet (hunter and blue plaid, not Newmarket stripe) to help keep us warm. It's the type that falls over my lap while I ride and is very cozy (although I do sometimes wonder what will happen if I fall off her while that thing is wrapped around us--will she drag me to a painful albeit fashionably cozy death?)

Then of course, I wear my usual Toastie Toes when it's cold enough...and I also have long johns that I wear under my jeans while riding....and can't forget the two pairs of socks....and turtleneck...and thick hoodie...and...ah, yeah, I look like the Michelin Man upon Limerick's back.

But it pays off.

I've had a lot of fun rides on her, lately. I even acted upon my longtime wish to ride her in the snow and, after a warm-up in the indoor arena, led her to the outdoor arena this past Sunday night. It was well after dark and bitterly cold (I would guess about 10 degrees).

On our way to the outdoor arena, in the dark I could see the dim shape of her head perk up and gaze before her. She then whipped her head one way, then another, observing, watching, listening. Uh oh.

I almost turned around when I saw the dark shape of another horse in the arena. It was my buddy Mary on her mare, Abby. I knew Abby could play babysitter for Lim so that decided it. I proceeded.

In the arena, I mounted up. It was very dark but the white glow of the snow revealed the way. I sent Limerick forward and could feel the snow crunching beneath her hooves. I kept her at a walk off the rail in case it was icy. The stars were out. The biting air made my eyes water. My lap was warm beneath the polyfleece sheet. Lim looked around but was calm. At one point she saw the dark blobs of the pasture horses in the distance to the right of us and stopped to stare at them, her head craned towards their way. I stroked her long fuzzy neck and Mary stopped Abby alongside to talk to Limerick. Lim eventually relaxed and continued on.

After a while, Mary and I became too cold to continue so we dismounted. But I can't wait to do it again! It was a beautiful ride--very short but very sweet.