Friday, August 21, 2009

Has it been THAT long?!

My ankles hurt. And my hips.
And my knees and my back.
Basically, my whole lower body ached.

What in the world?

But let me back up a minute.

I used to run 6-8 miles every day. Then I moved to SD, and for various good reasons, I for the most part stopped running. A couple of years ago I bought an elliptical machine to use winters when it's too cold and nasty to do much outside, and I'll admit, I've gotten spoiled - it's really easy to hop on and exercise for half an hour when I'm half-asleep. It's a pretty painless way to stay in shape for riding and chores!

But the elliptical machine is still taking up space in the basement at home, and since I'm only there on weekends, I had to find something else to do for exercise & stress relief during the week. And I thought, hmmm... why not start running again.


I've gone running on and off since I quit running daily, and although my hips might ache a little, and my muscles might be sore the next day, I've NEVER had sore ankles. Or most of the other sore spots I had after three days of running. Three days, I should add, that weren't even sequential - I went rollerblading the days in between. Yikes.

And then it dawned on me. Shoes. I have good running shoes - IMHO, riding boots & running shoes are two items of footwear worth spending a bit to get good quality, because otherwise you pay for it in other ways!. BUT, although they look pristine on the outside, I'd used them for about 1,000 miles of elliptical machine exercise.

Result? No more cushion - they're fine for walking around in, but for running? I'd have been better off barefoot. A week later, new running shoes, and I've logged three days of running with only a bit of stiffness - hallelujah!

And that started me thinking. How often do I really check over my tack to make sure that everything's still comfy, cushy, and secure? Oh, It looks fine. And I check that Chicago screws (hate them!) are snug, and that my latigo and off billet aren't stretched or cracked - you know, the big stuff. But is my wool pad still fluffy, or has it packed down enough to be uncomfortable? And what about my reins? Okay, so my whole bridle is biothane, so I'm probably fine there, but the stitching could still rot out.... There are any number of little things that might need attention.

I know I don't check as often as I should, because after all, it worked fine the last time I used it.

How about you? What's your tack maintenance schedule? Do you have one? I know I've had reins break. And on one very memorable occasion, walked home because the horse spooked, a stirrup leather broke when I stood down into it, and thump! Off went my horse without me.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Very good points - I do have a routine - of course, not always followed! First, every time I ride - I actually do this every time - when I am done I rinse my bit and clean (sponge and glycerine soap) my leather girth - if these are dirty they can hurt the horse. I also wash my saddle pads frequently - riding with a dirty pad can also cause the horse discomfort. I do a visual inspection of my bridle and saddle - buckles, ties, billets and stirrup leathers, to be sure nothing looks like it's about to go, and monthly I take my bridle apart and saddle leathers off the saddle and clean everything thoroughly with sponge and glycerine soap. When stitching starts to go or holes in leather to stretch, it's time to take things in for repairs.