And by “WE” I mean “ME” but Eli is involved so he gets included.
Not every day is good riding possible. And every once in a while I have a day where my stupid head is stupid (migraines) and I can’t really do anything, and I feel weird the few days leading up to and after the stupid head thing. (I do not know how people with chronic migraine function–I cannot imagine feeling like this, like every axon in my nervous system is about to snap in half, for 2/3rds of every month.) Even so, I try to ride as long as it’s not the stabbing head pain day.
Tuesday was once such day. I awoke with a migraine Sunday early morning and needed two of the pills — the maximum I can take in 24 hours — to either stop the headache or dull it enough to sleep, not sure which happened. So Monday I still felt crappy, but past the sensation of a lumpy bowling ball wrapped in barbed wire and engulfed in flames trying to occupy the same space as my head. Tuesday, I started feeling less bad, but stayed nauseous all day. By the time barn time rolled around I was mentally in a great place but physically still questionable. I had to sit down a lot in between things like picking Eli’s hooves and brushing his mane, etc., etc., etc. I managed to get the tack on and continued to delude myself about how much I could accomplish on the back of a horse while nauseous.
Whoa, y’all, Eli’s trot is SO BOUNCY. My stomach confirmed this. No, I did not throw up on my horse, or at all, but, well, this is gross–some flavorful belching had me close to vomiting. Cantering was actually less disturbing because I could 2-point easily, thereby sloshing my innards around less. I literally went one lap each way in each gait.
Even more better, and I wish I had video of this, I almost fell off Eli. No, no, he wasn’t leapy or bucky or spooky or anything (saved it for Wednesday), but from a regular-type, forward, working trot, he without warning suddenly came to a halt whilst lowering his head to itch his face on his knee. You see, my legs weren’t so strong as usual, and Eli has plenty of get up and go without my leg anyway, so I focused on don’t-throw-up cruise control, not paying real attention, and Eli figured it was a good a time as any to itch. But you know how sometimes the neck saves you from falling off the front of your horse? His neck was not in such a position to make this achievable. I had basically pitched forward up onto Eli’s right shoulder, following the momentum of his still forward-moving body even as he stopped. My left hand remarkably still had presence of mind, and flew back to crab the cantle, as Eli was splaying his front legs to accommodate the weight of my sea-sick self over his shoulder (thanks, buddy!). The whole incident lasted all of two seconds and got a pretty good giggle out of me. But this didn’t help my stomach any–the awkward contorting or the giggling. I also remembered I haven’t fallen off Eli, and I haven’t fallen off at all in a few years. I’m due for a fall, and now wishing I had fallen off Tuesday night to have gotten it over with!
Anyway … so obviously, we all ride days where we are not 100%, whether physically or mentally. I had hoped that a light ride Tuesday night would make me feel better, and ultimately it did, even with the wanting to barf and almost falling off. Lots of things can keep us from the saddle, but I am at a point in my life where I am going to ride, goddammit, no matter what, on most days (unless it’s a planned day off for Eli) because it’s my most favorite thing, and I’m not getting any younger, and even if a little sick I am not wasting the opportunity to ride my pretty damn cool horse, a horse that reignited my interest in jumping and riding competitively.
But riding one lap each way at each gait? Yeah … sometimes, we punt. But we’re still in the game.