3/5/19 – Rowdy arrives. The delivery happened at the barn so it was a few days before Rowdy and his delivery box were brought to the house, unpacked and assembled. Talk about easy!! Rowdy went together in a matter of minutes. Then, the next decision was where to put him.
3/11/19 – I wanted to make sure my doctor was OK with me riding Rowdy, so all I could do was admire him and give a ride to our boarder’s daughter when she came to deliver Girl Scout cookies. When I showed the website and pictures to my surgeon, he was totally OK with me riding Rowdy and gave me the go ahead as long as I promised not to overdo it.
How embarrassing to discover I needed a special step stool so I could climb on Rowdy, but I am using a bareback pad and not a saddle, per the surgeon’s recommendation. The next embarrassing moment was learning I could not swing my right leg over his back without assistance, so my understanding and supportive husband helped me lift my leg over him. To be on a horse was the most exhilarating feeling and for the few seconds I was able to sit, there was no thought that Rowdy was not real. Less than 1 minute later I needed to get off as the pain in my hip was excruciating. The final embarrassing moments were being unable to perform a traditional dismount, needing assistance to lift my leg over Rowdy’s head, instead of performing a traditional dismount, and then needing more assistance to get off the step stool. I was exhausted after that short ride.
3/13/19 - The pain from stretching unused muscles in my hips and core from my short time on Rowdy’s back 2 days earlier kept me from getting back on sooner. I have decided that until I am able to mount and dismount unassisted I will not ride alone. As I mounted from the step stool I needed assistance to lift my right leg over Rowdy’s back. Today I picked up the reins and moved Rowdy forward and back at a nice, slow easy walk. I managed to ride for one timed minute before stopping.
Once again, I was unable to lift my right leg over Rowdy’s back so my husband lifted my right leg forward over Rowdy’s head and then assist me as I climbed down the step stool. I could definitely feel the stretch in my hips and my core afterwards.
3/16/19 – I took another ride today. Ray had to lift my right leg over Rowdy’s back but it was not as painful, nor was my hip as stiff as before. I rode for another timed minute before feeling the need to dismount. I still needed assistance lifting my leg, forward and over Rowdy’s neck. There is no way I can swing my leg towards his tail, for now.
3/19/19 - I met with the Physical Therapist who will be assisting me following my hip replacement. I showed her the website with the Equicizer and received an enthusiastic OK from her, once again, with the caveat to not ride every day so I don’t overdo it. Today, I rode 90 seconds before needing to stop and dismount. While that might not seem like a lot of time, it felt as though I had been riding much longer. I could feel the stretch in my hips and my core and noticed I was not in as much pain as I was the first two times I rode.
3/21/19 - I had another pre-surgical doctor appointment today. As I was going down the stairs to the car I discovered the pain in my right hip was not as intense as before and my hip seemed looser and more cooperative. WOW!!! Already?? Amazing!! I keep showing Rowdy to every health professional I see and they are all encouraging me to ride, but remind me to keep it in moderation. I came home from my doctor's appointment, and I climbed onto Rowdy all by myself!! My right leg dragged over his back but I did not need to have help getting on, which was a huge victory!!
I sat on Rowdy for 30 seconds and then rode him at a gentle walk for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Another victory!!! I still needed help dismounting and had to have my right leg lifted over Rowdy’s head and neck, but I was able to climb off the step stool without assistance. Another victory!! But I overdid it, as I pushed myself to become independent.
3/24/19 – My right hip has been so sore that I was unable to climb onto Rowdy until today. My right leg still dragged over Rowdy’s back but I managed to mount unassisted again. I picked up the reins and rode at a gentle walk for 2 minutes, before dismounting. My hip was so stiff and hurt so much that my leg dragged up and over Rowdy’s neck as my husband lifted my leg to get my legs on both side of the horse. I needed help climbing down the step stool. So, 2 steps forward and 1step back.
3/26/19 – I climbed on Rowdy unassisted again today. My right leg still dragged as I put my leg over his back, but I mounted unassisted and my husband said I had better control over my leg. I rode 2 minutes at a slightly faster walk. I like the feeling in my core as I am building up my strength. It no longer feels strange. I had difficulty dismounting and had to slide farther back on Rowdy so my husband could lift my leg over Rowdy’s head. I have no strength to do it myself, and the pain from the joint is excruciating but I am confident I will get there, especially post surgery.
3/27/19 – I came home from the doctor, after learning my surgical date is 4/9, and decided to get on and see how much strengthening I could do between now and then. What a huge mistake I made. I hurt so badly I could not get off soon enough and was screaming in pain as my husband got me off Rowdy. It was a good, but unhappy, learning experience. I can see I won’t be riding every day for a long while.
4/8/19 – Today is the day before surgery. I had to stop all anti-inflammatory medication, since March 29 so with each passing day the pain has become excruciating and sleep has been eluding at best. Doing the day to day tasks has been more than enough, so I have sadly had to admire Rowdy from afar. But the end is in sight and I am so optimistic to have all of this behind me.
We're sending Kathy all of our thoughts and prayers as she is now 5 weeks post surgery. We will have another update from her soon to hear how her rehab with Rowdy is progressing!