Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

Hazard pay and, on an unrelated note, horses


I’ve been thinking, lately, that my physical therapist deserves hazard pay for dealing with me. I often walk around with a chip on my shoulder these days, and I can be unintentionally difficult to deal with during our sessions. I want to be so far from where I am now, I can’t always stop the frustration from coming through. To her credit, she’s kept her own frustration with me to herself. Which, I guess, means that I don’t know if she’s frustrated with me. But I would be, if I were her.

I’m now nearly 13 months out of surgery, and I’m still struggling to keep the pain under control. As Liz Lemon would say, “Blerg!”

On the bright side, I’ve ridden Magpie each of the last four weekends! That’s right, friends; I’ve ridden as much in the last four weekends as in the last three years. The first time that I rode, I was in massive pain for days afterwards. So my PT came up with a plan to see if we can alleviate some of the symptoms (it involves compression, ice, elevation, anti-inflammatory medication and Tylenol). It’s not working all that well YET, but I’m becoming more and more determined to make it work (channeling my inner Tim Gunn). So much so that I’ve resorted to wearing my thigh-high TED stocking for the last two weeks (Tim Gunn would be appalled that I rock my TED ho–so called because it’s only one, not a pair–in shorts in the gym). It makes my shin feel better, and I don’t suffer quite as much when I’m done riding as when I don’t wear it.

Right now, my biggest problem (besides the ever-present pain) is figuring out how to make my leg work in the saddle. Magpie is rather wide, partly because she’s been doing nothing more than eating grass for two years, and her girth makes it difficult to wrap my leg around her correctly. Add to that the fact that my leg doesn’t like to be twisted in the first place, and I have a problem. It might just be my imagination, but I feel like my leg control is getting a tiny bit better, so I think it will simply take some time to work itself out.

Even more exciting than riding Magpie is that I got to “ride” Stryker. I was basically just sitting on his back while walking very slowly around the round pen, but I’ve been waiting five years to ride him! I looked the fool; I could not stop smiling the entire time we were in the arena. I was so incredibly happy.


Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

3 thoughts on “Hazard pay and, on an unrelated note, horses

  1. Hi Laura,

    YIPPEE, WELL DONE!!! I’m so pleased for you that you’ve been back on your magnificent horses!!!

    I’ve read a lot of your blog and know what a hell of a time you’ve been having during the long recovery….. but you are doing so well (even though it may not feel like it!) What an achievement getting back in the saddle – I’m not surprised you were grinning from ear to ear!

    I used to have horses too (sadly I sold my last one when my knee became too much of a nightmare) but I’ve never owned, nor ridden, a stallion. I had one mare and both my ‘boys’ were gelded. Your stallion Stryker is truly fabulous! Is he difficult to handle?

    Keep up the good work – and give the horses a pat from me!
    Best wishes, Lyn x

  2. Hi Lyn! Thanks for commenting. I’ve actually read many of your posts about your patellar realignment, as well. So I’m glad that we’ve made the connection!

    Are you familiar with the story of Ferdinand the Bull (who would rather smell flowers than fight in the bull ring)? Well, we affectionately call Stryker our “Ferdinand.” He’s the most gentle stallion I’ve ever met. We have horse friends who can’t believe how wonderful he is to handle; even his trainer thought he was pretty great. He’s just a giant baby. I think it’s the breed; the Gypsy Vanner stallions are known for their kind nature. That said, he’s still quite green because I broke my tibial plateau before he was old enough to ride, so I never rode him. We had a trainer work with him for about six months, and then we sent him to be trained for the cart as well. He’s better with the cart than under saddle, but I hope to change that. :)

    Stryker was actually born in your part of the world (I think…) and came here when he was about 6 months old. He landed in Colorado first, and then he came to Indiana when he was about 9 months old.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to say goodbye to your horses. It’s such an overwhelming situation to know when it’s time to move on to other pursuits. I will definitely give the horses a pat from you.

    How is your recovery going these days? Seems like we’ve both had a long road over the past year. I hope you’re doing better!


  3. Hi Laura,

    Yes it’s good to finally make contact! I should have said “hello” months ago…

    Yes, I’m plodding on in my recovery, as you are too. Although I’m not really making much progress at all at the moment…. Also like you, when I began writing my blog I intended to write a “quick” six month recovery to let others know what it would be like, and end with a photo of me doing something adventurous! Yes, well…. we haven’t quite got there yet have we!! But perhaps our blogs are more realistic, seeing as knees are such complex joints?

    On a more cheery note – your boy Stryker is certainly well travelled! He sounds (and looks) gorgeous. And your other horse is lovely too. I’m not familiar with that breed, but if I ever consider getting another horse (maybe not very likely but you never know) I might look out for one!

    I hope you’re doing ok,

    Best wishes,
    Lyn x

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