At ten weeks post hip replacement this morning I felt like I had pretty much bossed most normal person activities (walking unaided, driving, cycling, working and sleeping on my side). Now I have attempted what feels like the last piece of the puzzle (riding Pea) I feel like I am starting a whole new journey from day one.
If we rewind to this morning, I had an appointment with my physio. Last time she saw me I still had a crutch some of the time and I hadn’t started driving yet so for me to bounce in on my own she was pretty impressed. She pointed out that although I’m not as wonky as I was, I’m collapsing my upper body to the left because that is how my body is stabilising. Obviously this isn’t what I should be doing so I’ve got lots more tough exercises to do to straighten me up and strengthen my core and need to spend a bit more time in front of a mirror to check I’m doing it right! I asked her what she thought about me riding and she said that if I felt I would be ok, it would probably be good for me to get back to it.
I had a busy morning helping out at the yard and when it was over, I managed to get Pea in, brush her and get ready to ride. I had built up in my mind that as soon as I was given the go ahead to ride, my body would be ready and that riding would mark the end of my proper recovery time. That wasn’t really the case. Getting on was fine but I couldn’t sit properly in the saddle as my hip just wouldn’t open up as wide as it needed to – it felt stretched and it hurt! I had a walk around the arena and I felt my bum settle down into the saddle more rather than being sat on the back like it was at the beginning. My leg wasn’t exactly hanging down, I didn’t feel like I could push my heel down, there was a funny crunching feeling when I moved and it hurt. Dismounting was fine, I practically laid on Pea with my legs together then swung them round together.
I got off feeling pretty devastated – I didn’t expect to be cantering round the arena but I did expect to be able to sit and walk comfortably. I had to hark back to my own advice on positivity from the other day and think I’m probably still in the wallowing stage though I am very aware how lucky I am to even be sitting on a pony!
I need to wind my expectations in and realise that the return to riding is going to be a long journey. Today was day one, stage one – sitting on my pony. It might take me weeks to be able to sit properly, or trot, or ride for more than a few minutes. I’m going to try to be patient – after all, I’m 26, Pea’s 12, all things being well we have many many more years together.
Any words of wisdom to help me with this would be most welcome – there is a trustly booklet from the NHS for hip replacement recovery but I’m yet to find a returning to riding one!