The Hardships of Horse Riding

| November 5, 2022 | 0 Comments

October was not my best month.  It began with a stupid mistake on my part.  I was practicing dressage on my friend, Dolly, the lesson horse.  I knew something next door had disturbed her; she jumped a bit to the side.  Normally when this happens, or if she gives a little buck to express displeasure with me, I just go with her and pretend she did nothing.  No point in giving her attention or rewarding her.  However, I was busy concentrating on what I wanted her to do, and I totally ignored what she was doing.  Something startled her in the same area where she had reacted before.  This time, however, she went one direction, and I went the other.

I am known for being awkward as a Keystone Cop before I fall off a horse, but I actually fall quite gracefully.  Not on October 4.  I went splat!  I landed on the right side of my back; the wind pretty much knocked out of me.  Dolly was upset and walked over to see how I was.  Thank goodness I could still get off the ground unaided.  Well, I leaned on Dolly’s leg a little.  My trainer checked me out.  Nothing hurt. We walked over to a mounting block. (After 80, it is difficult to get on or off a horse without a mounting block unless you are really in good shape which I am not.)  I got back on.  Dolly and I walked around the arena until my trainer, Linda, suggested we walk around the property for a while. 

Dolly and I headed for the back gate of the arena which is always open.  It was not.  Sweet Dolly tried to push it open with her head.  I explained I needed to unlock it, so she moved over to give me access.  As I undid the hasp, Dolly politely pushed it open, and we went through.  We walked around the grounds, greeted other horses and humans, and then went back to the mounting block so I could get off.

Wow!  It hit me then.  Dolly kindly put her face against my lower back and kind of pushed me back to the crossties so she could be untacked.  Bless trainer Linda’s heart.  She arrived and said, “I’ll take care of that,” and took off Dolly’s tack.  I brushed her a bit, Linda took her back to her stall, I collected my gear, and headed home.  By the time I arrived, I could barely move.

I should point out that I am married to a saint.  He really doesn’t like horses; he hates dirt, dust, and sand (which goes with horses) as he wears contacts.  He is a good rider, but he sees a horse as a convenience when there is no other mode of transportation.  He favors sailboats and cars.  Despite his fear that his aged wife will drop dead while riding (he says he has never seen me happier — we’ve known each other since 1960), he supports my horse addiction.

We ended the morning in the emergency room.  Luckily, we had reading material because once the staff had determined that I wasn’t in any danger, we waited six hours to learn nothing was broken, but I was definitely badly bruised.  My x-rays showed a healthy, arthritic body. 

For two and a half weeks I have limped around the house.  I managed to attend a major event at the Auto Museum, attend two plays at the Globe (I had to regret one at La Jolla Playhouse as there was way too much walking for me), go out to eat and do a tiny bit of shopping. Of course, I didn’t drive when I took pain pills.

A week later, I was still miserable.  I went back to the doctor who said I was just beaten up.  Time would take care of it.

October has been especially hard on my garden and house plants.  I managed to murder a flowering house plant.  It just suddenly died.  It was fine one day and dead the next.  My hand- propagated bougainvillea are still alive (four of the thirty cuttings are now in the garden soil), and that is truly a miracle. 

I am hoping that by Friday I can get on and off a horse.  I have no problem sitting, lying down, or bending over.  It is walking that hurts, and only on one side. Since I’m comfortable sitting and riding on a horse relaxes my back in the most amazing way, I am counting on a ride or more on my friend Dolly before she leaves for her new home in Massachusetts.  Then I’ll have to find a new lesson horse and trainer.

For future meetings of the Garden Club, please check the web site at

Dolly gets fed by Barb Strona.

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Category: Animals, Local News

About the Author ()

Barbara Strona is a native Californian who grew up in the Mid-West and Los Angeles. She and her architect husband, Carl, came to San Diego in 1968 and have lived in Mission Hills since early 1971. Barbara received a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College with a major in English, and a minor in Art. She attended UCLA graduate school and received a General Secondary Credential. She taught English in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and at Point Loma High School. She has been a Realtor specializing in residential sales since 1984. Her passions include her job, reading, writing, foreign languages and foreign countries, animals (feathered or furry), theatre, and her family: husband, two adult children and two grandsons.