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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14 comments

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

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

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  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 :)

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  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.

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  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!

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  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!)

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  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.

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  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!

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  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!

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