A Broken Stable Fork & Pulled Muscles
Back in the Saddle
In my younger days it was hard to keep me away from the riding stables. I spent every minute that I could there even if it was the dirtier jobs like poo picking the fields or getting my hands on the nearest stable fork and mucking out. I loved riding and it kept me fit. Sadly, the demands of university and then working in London meant that I was forced to stop riding for a few years. I was short on time, short on money and there were no riding stables in the London Borough of Newham!
Eventually I moved west and started working near Heathrow Airport. I hadn't really given riding much thought until a colleague asked if I could help her out. She had her own horse but was unable to ride for a few weeks as she had recently had surgery. She needed some help mucking out and wanted someone to ride her horse as it needed the exercise.
I agreed to help. After all, how hard could it be? I had years of experience and surely riding horses was like riding bicycles. Once you had learnt you never forgot.
A Clean Break
I turned up at my friend’s stable full of eager anticipation. The first day there I didn't ride but set about helping muck out a couple of stalls instead. This didn't go well! I managed to break the first stable fork that I was given. This particular stable fork had certainly seen better days and so it wasn't much of a loss. I was determined not to let this set back stop me. Then I fell over a bucket and cut my leg. Oops!
The following day it was time to ride. I quickly realised that things were not going to be as straightforward as I hoped. It was immediately obvious that I had lost my riding fitness and everything seemed like really hard work. I was doing OK but I didn't feel as secure as I used to. I was then asked to do some jumping. This would have been second nature a few years before but now seemed quite daunting. I managed but I wouldn't have won any awards.
It was when I dismounted that I realised that I was in big trouble. I could hardly walk! I appeared to have strained every muscle in my legs and I was hobbling across the yard as if there were splints on both. It felt like someone had rammed that broken stable fork up my jodhpurs.
Things had not improved by the next morning. Indeed they had got materially worse. I now looked like I had just been fitted with a pair of prosthetic legs. When I arrived at the office everyone fell about laughing. Nobody could believe that I had done so much damage riding a horse. It was as if the horse had trampled all over me me.
I had learnt a valuable lesson. You do not realise how fit you get when you ride regularly. This only becomes apparent when you stop. Needless to say I was unable to ride my friend’s horse any more and she was forced to find another temporary helper and buy a new stable fork.