The cause of my time off
I managed to throw my back out twisting to pick up a dog toy. Seriously, I twisted to get a dog toy out from underneath the coffee table and pop, my back was out. I didn't think it was a big deal, I tweak my back pretty regularly, but this was different. By the next morning I had nerve pain running down my right leg. Normally riding helps when I tweak my back. It encourages me to stretch and move tight muscles. This time? It crippled me. I was in a chair after my lesson and didn't dare move. It took days before I was moving around regularly.
I stumbled onto a solution purely by chance. I had a gathering to attend and I couldn't miss it. I slapped a lidocaine patch on to manage the nerve pain and got out of my chair. With the nerve pain numbed out I moved around in a pretty normal fashion. I thought I was going to be dying the next day after all that moving around but it was actually better. I slowly added my running back in and sure enough, my nerve and back pain resolved. After two weeks, I felt normal again and even completed my last long run for my half marathon, but I didn't ride at all.
I was scared. That pain was very scary. I thought I had herniated a disc and if you want terrifying, google herniated disc and horseback riding. By the time I was done reading, I thought my entire riding career was over. The nerve pain, at it's worst, was all the way down to my foot. I was visibly limping for days. I was sitting at the office with a heating pad, lumbar support, and a timer going off to make sure I got up and walked twice an hour.
I did horse owner things while I was recovering, just didn't ride. Theo had a visit from the chiropractor. He got good grades for the most part. His pelvis was uneven again and needed to be straightened out and his stifles are a bit stiff, but his SI tested out a-okay and nothing else was seriously out. I'm going to call the vet and get his stifles done just to be a good (aka paranoid) horse mom, but he is in great shape.
I clipped him once my back was pain free so I could bend over.
Trainer A and his adult rider kept him in work for me. He also subbed in for some lessons, torturing teenagers that aren't used to horses that need a very forward ride. Apparently he had a lunge line lesson with one teen that spent the whole lesson being humbled when she couldn't get him to canter more than five strides. Not as easy as he looks, huh?
Today his farrier came out and got his toes all trimmed up and lovely. And tonight, I finally got back on. After almost three weeks off. No sitting trot, light seat in the canter, but I gave him a good work out for 30 minutes. He loves to fake the connection and brace the underside of his neck with less experienced riders. I played with the frame, bringing him up and then having him stretch all the way down while doing transitions. He finally picked up his back and used his topline like he's supposed to. He's chubby and lost some muscle tone, but he seemed very happy to be back at it.
I felt fine riding, we'll see in the morning if there's any problems. My fingers are crossed. Hopefully it was a fluke, a case of the perfect muscle going into spasm and impinging the nerve. I'm not ready to swap to gaited dressage.