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My Para-equestrian Journey – Part 2

Julie and Judge
Picture of Julie Hahnke
Julie Hahnke
Julie is the President of Cecropia Strong and is a stroke survivor, who was finally found after three days. She's a bagpiper, an author, a management consultant, and a nature enthusiast.

My Fall

Spring started early – February 26 – and I was into my second lesson when I was thrown from my horse. (Thrown isn’t the right word. I was mounting from the ramp and I kicked the horse in the butt. She jumped forward before my right leg was completely over her. Needless to say, I fell off.)

I landed on my tailbone and – of course – my head ricocheted back, and I hit my head. After all of the CAT scans said I was okay, I thought seriously about giving up riding. You bounce when you’re young, but I stopped bouncing a while ago.

It took one month before I could walk and sit without pain, but I quickly decided I wanted to ride again. It didn’t hurt that during that month I received a grant for private lessons and riding gear!

Guinness kisses!
Guinness kisses!

What I need

I’m getting better at communicating with my horse, but I don’t have it yet. It’s all about priorities, and I can only worry about one or two of them at once. (It’s a stroke thing – multitasking is a thing of my past.)

For instance, when I’m posting the trot, my right leg starts to spasm, and I’ve got to focus on keeping that to a minimum. Or my left hand must do EVERYTHING! (My right hand doesn’t work.) Hold the ladder reins, hold the whip, and balance on the neck strap when posting a trot.

A friend saw me at the end of my lesson yesterday, and she noticed my extreme fatigue. (That’s another stroke thing – fatigue.) I need to treat my lessons as if I’m in physical or occupational therapy. I must rest frequently. It will be good for me AND my horse!

I know what I need, and that will be the stuff of the next chapter!

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