The mane tail

3 years ago my labrador dog died aged 16. I was bereft and never thought I would want another dog, but after three months I was ready. “I think I am ready to have another dog”, I said to George. “I’m not” he replied.

“Hamster then?”

“No, rodents, get under the floorboards, no way”. So I gave up asking and took Lucy to buy a horse. My brother told George he had negotiated the wrong way!

Anyway, the horse has been brilliant, and Lucy and I go to the stables most evenings and all weekend. We also spent most weekends at local shows where Lucy would try and stay on over a course of jumps. I love the grooming, and before the accident I would ride twice a week.

The first time I had physio, part of the goals set was to get me back to my hobbies, swimming, cycling and riding. The physio, however, was very reluctant to contemplate my riding again, as she said the trouble with horses is they are so unpredictable. She is ,of course, right. As a consequence although I have been up to the stable I didn’t go near the horse for ten weeks in case he knocked my shoulder. Now I am  trying to at least help care for him but  I can’t lead him as I don’t have the strength in my hand, I can’t tack him up as I can’t reach with my arm, and grooming is challenging – a left handed only job. I definitely can’t pick his feet out.

I still go to the stables and watch Lucy but I really miss the contact with the horse and I really miss the riding. It is so therapeutic coming home from work and going off for a hack on these long summer evenings, it makes all the times at the stables in the dark and cold in the winter worthwhile. This summer I am not able to go, a summer lost. Before the accident I used to cycle around the woods and bridleways following Lucy while she rode, it was brilliant and we loved it. Now I have to walk and this means we can’t go so far or as fast as we used to.  What makes it sadder is that I had a new bike for christmas! I have not ridden either horse or bike since March and I don’t know if I will ride again. The worry is, if I fall off what could happen to my shoulder?

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