That lovely photo of neatly stacked bales of hay? No, I did not stack them & I paid for delivery then directed the young man who delivered how I wanted them stacked. Remember that Helen Reddy song with the lyrics “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman”? Well, as I get older, I ain’t quite as strong or invincible and the 100+ pound bales I used to haul myself is now a task I delegate to others.
Practical measures need to be thought of to make sure we CAN still do all the things we want to do with our horses. Barn chores aren’t always easy and things associated with horses are usually HEAVY. If you have to modify routines to keep you fit & in the saddle, by all means do so, and who cares what others think. Here’s some tips:
Use a Mounting Block
Ok, it’s a shame that we just can’t fling ourselves up and over into a saddle with ease any longer. So what? If you’re straining your joints & muscles and end up with an injury just getting into the saddle, you won’t be riding much! Plastic mounting blocks aren’t that expensive, compared to doctor bills. If you’re on a budget, get some sturdy wood, a hammer/nails and get busy! Here’s photos of the block I made from 2″ x 6″ scraps. Nothing fancy, but it works!
One word of caution – if you use a mounting aid, PLEASE use something sturdy as unsafe substitutes can create injuries too. It’s NOT a good idea to flip a bucket over & use it as a mounting block, ladies!
Got an Ache? Wear a Brace
Have you noticed that after a ride you’re looking for the aspirin bottle so your knees can function without pain as soon as you dismount? Try a knee brace – one friend SWEARS by hers! Knee braces are worn to support a painful or injured knee joint, and made from combinations of metal, foam, plastic, elastic material and straps. Braces can help by supporting the knee, which is one of the most active joints when riding. When wearing a brace, make sure that the brace hinges are aligned where the knee bends. Check the placement of the brace once mounted to make sure that it hasn’t moved & is in the proper position.
The same goes for any supportive brace that helps other body parts. Lower back braces, wrist/arm braces, neck braces, etc. All will help keep you in the saddle & help to prevent pain. Are they attractive? Who cares!
My EZ Haul Cart
As a horse owner, you become a true professional heavy waste remover. Here’s a fun set of facts. Do you know HOW much waste a 1000 pound horse produces? They drop an apple pile approximately four to thirteen times each day and that adds up to about nine tons of manure per year. On average, that’s 37 pounds of apples plus 2.4 gallons of urine daily, which totals about 50 lbs. of raw waste per day in feces and urine combined. Yep, I pick up at my place every single day. Who needs to go to a gym to exercise & weight lift when you own a horse?!
Dealing with the bounty of road apples and how to move them is very important. EZ Haul Carts are a little pricey, but well worth the investment. I have their Jumbo Cart & love it because it has a low center of gravity that reduces stress and strain on humans, especially to the lower back. It IS an investment to buy a new one, but if you ever get the chance to buy a used on that needs some work, by all means go for it! That’s how I got my Jumbo Cart. The frame was fine but the plastic bucket a mess. The company sells replacement parts so after the purchase of a new bucket and with the addition of flat-proof tires, I’m in business. The cart is used daily and holds two stalls worth of muck that I can wheel around with ease. A suggestion is to invest in the puncture proof tires. We NEED them in AZ but they work great anywhere!