Thursday, May 19, 2011

Long over-due update: more than sound!

It has been a long time since I’ve updated simply because law school and caring for Deli has taken priority over blog posts. However, the news has been good! In mid-February, 2011, Deli had her veterinary re-check with respect to the significant injuries she had suffered. After doing flex tests and watching her trot and canter on the lunge, they said she looked 100% sound and could go back into full work! I was more than confident about their diagnosis because I had ridden her right before they arrived and she had been in one of her moods, and was acting quite spooky and fearful of something going on inside the arena, meaning she got a tough workout and was tired when they assessed her lameness.

At that time she still had some clear muscular atrophy, which has improved over the past two months so that the difference is only apparent to me. I believe I have acquired hawk-eyes now when it comes to hind-end lameness and weakness due to this groin and hamstring injury of hers.
The weather in Northern Oregon has been unusually wet this year, meaning the trails are still quite muddy. While the BLM roads with their graded and graveled surface have been passable, they have offered little entertainment for us. When we have been hitting these hilly roads I have been doing a lot of hiking in-hand with Deli. The hills have helped her muscle tone and I’m slowly losing the weight I gained after my own accident. My own fitness, however, has been slower to return than Deli’s. I’m still struggling with right hip pain and right leg weakness, and my lungs feel constricted and resistant to deep breathing.
Deli and I on the trails. With her new rump warmer!

Still, my physical issues and the muddy state of the trails I’m really impatient  to explore hasn’t dampened my mood. Even with our level of riding ramping up, Deli has remained sound and happy.  We have found a route that winds through our temperate rainforest that is approximately 9 miles long, and Deli has taken to the steep inclines and variable footing with ease. I have been hiking alongside her for the steepest of the hills to spare her back and get my own exercise.

New breastplate!
I have also found that Deli is incredibly sure-footed when it comes to obstacles – including muddy treacherous slopes – on the trails. Since we only started doing true trail riding this year, I suspect this skill is due to her younger days running semi-wild with a herd in the foothills of San Luis Obispo. She likes to point her nose off-trail when my attention wanders and explore the woods. She’s a pro at high-stepping over massive logs blocking our trail when she clunks into ground poles in the arena.
Even though I know more experience and conditioning under her metaphorical belt will be good for her, she is a natural-born trail horse.

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