Well, I have been remiss in my postings, a result of a jam packed work schedule, conferences, contractors stomping in and out of the house, all in addition of course to riding. I've been finding myself with little to no free time as well as exhausted much of the time.
Something had to give.
That something was my back, the upside of which is that I now have time to do some posting since I'm confined to bed. A few weeks ago I started riding regularly without stirrups (astride), and I do mean the whole shootin' match: tempis, cross country work, extended trot sets, the works. My purpose for this was that I noticed that during the tempi changes I was occasionally bracing against the stirrups and I decided the best way to address it was to remove the stirrups from the equation. This part was a great success, and since I grew up more or less riding bareback I had no problems maintaining my position, and I was bolstered by the fact that I sat more deeply in the saddle and my pelvic aids seemed clearer. But I noticed from time to time a shooting pain in my right hip the evening of my rides, which I wrote off under the "grin 'n' bear it" column. Thing is, it was a signal flare from my innards to my brain and last week, after a brilliant schooling session which included !SIX THREE TEMPI LEAD CHANGES! I took Owen out for his regular fitness interval, and while galloping across the field (with no irons as usual) I felt a pop and a searing pain in my lower back. There was no point to dismounting since I was a mile or so from the barn so I let Owen gallop back to the barn while I desperately clung to his mane to keep myself in two point...my right leg was dangling, more or less useless. Sis pulled into the drive at that exact minute, and after putting Owen away she drove me home.
I was pretty convinced I'd blown another disc but as it turns out I tore a ligament in my back. The interesting thing is, the damaged spot is in between the lumbar spine the the iliac crest, which is the exact spot on your right hip that you land on if, when riding aside, the horse spooks left and you tumble off to the right. I've performed that particular gymnastic with the assistance of several different sidesaddle horses, to the point where I've fractured the iliac crest there, so I suppose riding aside has left me with some residual damage.
But whatever the cause, I find myself again unwillingly dismounted...just as Owen was really coming along well. And despite the fact that I am still doggedly returning to work each day, my back really hurts!