If it's not one thing it's another...I can ride, but Owen is laid up. It seemed to me that he'd felt a big sluggish our last few rides, not to mention that not only was he not progressing but actually seemed to be back sliding on the changes. But yesterday I rode him in the ring for a change and I noticed an audible toe drag on the ride hind, so on a hunch I pulled some blood when we returned to the barn.
Sure enough, he not only came up strong positive for Lyme but also Anaplasma, another rickettsial disease that causes fatigue, functional anemia, and swollen joints. Owen does have some bone spurs in his right hock due to an old confrontation with a wire fence in his youth, and when he gets exposed to these microbes his arthritis flares up. So, he gets some time off along with some nice flavored doxycycline powder I got compounded from an online pharmacy.
But what do I do in the mean time?
It seems like a lot of us have been doing some sidesaddle shopping lately and I couldn't be left out, so I plunked down some $$ for a copy of Ladies on Horseback by Mrs. Powell O'Donahue. It's another one of those classic sidesaddle texts that you see quoted here and there, and the lack of it was leaving a big gap in my aside library. I love comparing contemporary books, and I'm always entertained by the contrasting advice given by various authors. Some advocate the "new" flat seated saddles, while others refer to modern saddles as "modern straight seated nonsense." These are of course some of the most acclaimed riders of their time, yet some recommend a hooked back right leg as we do today while others emphatically state that the right leg must lie along the shoulder. Certainly the saddle choice affects position, since a flat saddle allows the rider to roll up onto the right hip better and placement of the right leg hooked back, while the sweepy seated saddles tend to throw you back in the saddle, necessitating advancing the leg further forward in order to maintain security.
But what I find most entertaining is the instruction on turn out and dress. Mrs. O'Donahue describes a meet at which many, many ladies were in attendance (the presence of Empress Cissy might have had something to do with it!) and very few met her standards. Her primary complaint was not their riding ability but their turnout, especially their hairstyles! Similarly, she is against ladies riding cross saddle not because of health or physical reasons such as round thighs, but because they look so much better aside.
Still, outdated as they are, those old sidesaddle manuals are important reading!