My First Show Back After Injury Was a Resounding Success

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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Last weekend was my first show after falling off my horse last November and badly spraining my right ankle and left MCL. It also was my first show with my new horse, Cherry.

I was super excited, but also not totally sure how the whole event would go. My knee and ankle have been doing really well thanks to Pilates, but would they hold up to an entire competition? How would Cherry behave? Would my asthma act up? I was relatively confident that the first two questions would have positive answers, but I had no idea about the last one.

In the end, I didn’t really need to worry. We went out on Saturday for schooling (the equestrian word for practicing), and Cherry was amazing. She was bold and forward to the jumps, but not in a bad way. I had my ankle brace on under my boot, and while I could feel my ankle a bit, it wasn’t any more than usual. My knee gave me an occasional twinge, but otherwise didn’t really bother me throughout the weekend. Clearly, Pilates has done an amazing job of improving my strength and stability.

My new horse, Cherry. (Photo by Karen Del Vecchio)

On competition morning, Cherry and I had a great first phase, dressage. (Eventing competitions are made up of three phases.) Dressage rarely bothers my injuries, although it’s difficult for me to keep my shoulders from slouching and my back straight. I did well on the test. Cherry did even better than I thought she would, and I was thrilled.

Jumping was a few hours later, and she did great in stadium jumping. She was totally into it, and I was able to keep my right leg steady, which is sometimes difficult with my ankle. Then we went off to cross-country, and she was a machine! This phase is usually the toughest on my injuries because it’s the most physically demanding, but I made it through without any significant pain. As a bonus, I didn’t have an asthma attack, either. Woohoo!

I don’t let EDS get in my way. When I need to, I find a way around any limitations that it tries to throw in my face. Overall, this past weekend was an amazing success and confidence booster. We had a blast, I was able to successfully manage my injuries, and I had a great time with my new horse. I can’t ask for anything else!


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