Our first show of the season was at a therapeutic riding center. Everything was inside because the weather was absolutely atrocious. It was cold and rainy and muddy and windy and terrible. Stella was pretty decent when I longed her in the arena, but she got really upset as I mounted up outside the ring. I could barely get on, and Larry had to hang onto her so she would hold still. To make matters worse, my hip was hurting a lot. Larry led me into the ring for my first class, and Stella exploded. She started backing, spinning, ducking, and whatever foolishness she could think of. I'm sure she was afraid. She halted and started to lighten in the forehand--not in the good way. She was trying to rear. I managed to fight her out of the ring so that Larry could lead us away and so I could get off.
I cried. I know I shouldn't have left and gotten off, but I couldn't handle it. I knew my hip couldn't handle her silliness, and that unforgivable sin became absolutely necessary.
I longed her for a while in the outdoor arena, and then I popped on and rode her. The change was dramatic. We had quite a nice ride. A woman who was watching the gate even stopped me on my way out and said that she thoroughly enjoyed watching me school.
A few days later, Larry made me go in the house and wouldn't let me out until I scheduled an appointment with the chiropractor. He got the phonebook out, threw it on the table beside me, verbally prodded me until I dialed my phone and scheduled the appointment. I really didn't want to go, but I had to or I wouldn't have been allowed to go out to the barn :)
The guy was very talkative. He asked me lots of questions about what hurts, what exacerbates the pain, what I do, and all of that stuff. I told him about riding, and he asked how long I've been riding, how much, what I do, and how many falls I've had. He examined me when I was standing up and said the entire right side of my body was higher than the left. He also told me that I had something weird going on with my ribs (I didn't exactly catch what he said.), but he told me that it wasn't causing any problems because I was able to touch my toes without a problem.
Once I was lying on the table, the fun started. His first reaction was a sudden, "Whoa..." Then he told me that my left leg was at least an inch and a half shorter than the right. There was a lot of tension in my back, so he worked that out for me. Then, he popped a bunch of stuff and made a lot of terrifying sounds. I thought it was funny when he had to throw himself onto my hip two or three times to get it to pop.
When I was all done, he reexamined my body and had another "whoa" moment. I had to take off my shoes while he looked at my right ankle and foot in comparison to my left. He actually asked me if I'd ever had some kind of serious injury to my ankle because I was rolling it in funny and I had almost no arch in my right foot. He said that I had to get a pair of arch supports for my shoes or else I was going to destroy my knee. I...uhm...didn't tell him that I was already having terrible knee pain...
I left and immediately went out to buy some arch supports for my shoes. I only have one set, so I just switch them between my regular shoes and my riding boots. I've already noticed an amazing difference in my back, hip, and knee. I feel like I'm walking straighter, and people who know me well have told me the same thing. Larry also said I look like I'm riding differently now--a better different :) I feel different too. No. I feel amazing.
I rode Stella twice after my chiropractor visit. Neither time hurt. My hip didn't catch at all, either time. I didn't have to cut my ride short, and I didn't have to compromise my riding to make up for the pain.
I feel free. I no longer feel like the pain was mostly in my head. That's what happens to chronic pain sufferers sometimes. It's one of the worst feelings in the world when no one can pinpoint a cause for your pain and the only way you can feel a little better is to take a few painkillers that mask the pain for a couple of hours. I'm absolutely ecstatic. I'm walking a little taller, not letting even a single gimpy stride slip in. I'm riding more easily. I'm not fighting anymore. Today, I jumped an in-and-out with a rollback one-handed. In those last two rides with Stella, Larry actually said I looked good and said I looked balanced. I just can't begin to describe how happy I am.
I think I'm finally fixed. Hopefully my chronic pain and my limp are behind me.