The Pain Parameter

Until I hurt, I forget that I am technically injured.  Mostly.  I mean, I wear this fugly brace for about 22 hours a day, so there's that.

Here's a rough timeline of where we are now:
Wednesday, 9/14: met with knee specialist who told me that if I could do it in a brace and it didn't hurt, I could ride.  Challenge accepted.
Friday, 9/16: rode Archie in my jump saddle.  Mounted on the off side, thinking that would be easier on my left knee.  Swinging my leg over was the most excruciating experience and I couldn't bend my leg well enough to pick up my stirrup.  Ignored trot and tried to canter and contemplated the benefits of amputation.
Saturday, 9/17:  rode Archie in my dressage saddle.  Mounted from the picnic table, so the left leg was in a stabilized position.  Trail buddy helped me get my left foot in the stirrup.  The ride was unremarkable as far as pain, so trail buddy and I planned a trail ride for the next day.
I zip my left boot up half-way and then fold it over and close the snap.  It works and doesn't rub or anything.
Sunday, 9/18:  went on a trail ride and repeated the picnic table and dressage saddle.  Able to pick up stirrup by myself! About half-way through the ride, I asked if we could trot.  Trotting was pain-free, so we picked up a little canter which was also good.  The trail ride lasted an hour and when we got back, I told her that I wanted to ride Ox.
    • Tried Ox first in my dressage saddle.  Went through walk/trot/canter and only had a little pain when my gimpy leg swung.  Jumped a cross rail in my dressage saddle.
    • Put Ox in his regular County saddle and lengthened the stirrups to an absurd amount.  Then we w/t/c and jumped the cross rail a few more times.  Why am I jumping so early into my recovery?  I can't let it become a phobia, because it will.
Tuesday, 9/20:  played photographer and let the knee rest.
Wednesday, 9/21:  hopped on Ox in his County again and did our normal.  Rode Archie for a whopping ten minutes until the light faded too much.
Saturday, 9/24: ripped the inside hinge off my knee brace because it sucked.  Riding in it broke it and it was too hard to bend.  Rode Ox again, this time jumping just a little bit more with more normal-length stirrups.  Had a fucking epiphany and applied something trail buddy had said:  instead of my overzealous two-point, I leaned my shoulders forward and Ox's momentum took care of the rest.  Took Archie on a trail ride afterwards, where we flushed out two groups of deer with no spooking, but lost our shit at what was presumably a ghost in the woods.  Thankful for my deep-seated Kieffer.

Sunday, 9/25:  Archie led a trail ride for an hour and was just a fucking champ.  Hopped on Ox afterwards and with trail buddy's guidance, jumped all the things.  The only pain is when I have to drive Ox with my seat.  It puts the angry knee in an angrier position.  Also successfully did super-light-weight knee curls and extensions.

A video posted by bekaburke (@bekaburke) on

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  1. I love all the bright colored breeches under the knee braces. Flaunt it. ;-)

  2. Look at you being a total badass and going straight back to jumping!

  3. Glad you can ride while you recover! I can imagine the fear being terrible if you couldn't address any jumping anxiety after a long period. I know it would be for me at least :)

  4. I rode with a knee brace for a while in college. I mostly stuck to bareback riding as that was the least aggregating to my knee. I got really good at staying on that summer.

  5. ugh injuries are the absolute worst - i'm so sorry you are going through this! my general rule with the broken leg was that obviously i wanted to be able to get out and do the things i loved, but i tried not to let my plans for today sabotage my goals for tomorrow. good luck and heal quickly!

  6. Omg be carefullll! I would hate to see a re-injury (coming from someone who came back too hard many times, not worth it!)

  7. Definitely be careful, but your knee will tell you when it's too much. I rode with no stirrups for a month when I was in a boot for a torn ligament in my foot a few years ago because it's just too hard not to.

  8. You forget how much you need your knees for every single movement you make, until you can't use them... I've dislocated the same knee twice, and that's awful. So, I can't imagine a tear. Yikes!

  9. I saw your instagram and was so damn impressed. And something you said here really resonated with me, and that's attacking something before it becomes a phobia. I think I've recently let that happen, and I'm going to remember your words on tonight's ride!