October 17, 2011

Yes, I'm PREGNANT and I'm riding my horse!

How's that for a sensational post title?

You may have been wondering why my blogging got a little sparse and my adventures got a bit tame this fall. That's because in early August we happily found out, after a year of trying, that I was pregnant! I'm currently at 13-weeks (4th month) along and this is my first pregnancy. It's pretty exciting, but at the same time a little nerve racking. Of course I found out when I was only 3-weeks pregnant, because apparently I am a great HCG hormone producer. I immediately became freaked about about the controversial complications that come along with the combination of being a riding addict and pregnant. Also, the fact that it took so long to get pregnant had me worried about loosing it during every stride of sitting trot or spook. As a result, in the first few weeks I irrationally cut back on my riding and cancelled my fall showing and hunting plans. I also stopped exposing Rose to any new things that might pose a falling risk.

Morning Sickness
So far, I have not suffered from anything remotely related to morning sickness. It is a big relief to not have to dismount mid-ride and vomit all the time. I know that I'm in the minority and I count myself very lucky in this regard! Oddly, I've spoken to a few equestrians who all said they never had morning sickness and rode through their pregnancies. Maybe there is a connection there...and riding is actually good for pregnant women? Research paper anyone? I'm sure every doctor in the USA would cringe!

When to Stop
I know that many equestrians ride right up until the day they give birth and prior to actually getting pregnant that was what I always imagined that I'd do. However, regardless of how mature Rose is most of the time she remains an unpredictable 4-year old. For instance, recall our recent longeing incident? I was 10 weeks along at the time, and it definitely opened my eyes to few good realizations. I'd never heard of a pelvic girdle before, but at that moment as I lay face down in the sand with a bloody elbow, I was really happy to know that the baby was still protected by it! Had I been further along it could have been a bad situation. I realized then that Rose just isn't the right horse to ride long term during pregnancy. Transversely, I don't want to give her a full year off either. I don't think that I could physically or mentally handle that, and she likes having a job to do. So what should I do? This is a question I asked myself a lot in the beginning. I came to the conclusion that I would allow myself to wuss out come winter and stop when it got too cold to ride comfortably...or maybe abide by doctor's orders.

No More Jumping
Regardless of my nerves of steel and riding addiction, I did stopped jumping Rose when I was around 5 weeks pregnant. She was doing well and I didn't want to take any chances with her suddenly deciding to stop at fences. Plus it was getting really tempting to put the jumps up...and teaching her to jump bigger would likely be a BAD idea while pregnant. If she were more experienced with jumping I would likely still be jumping her.

The Dreaded Doctor Visit
I was looking forward to our first 8-week ultrasound and seeing if there was really something in there. Sure enough, there is a healthy little "peanut" in there waving it's stubby hand. It certainly looked like it was practicing a dressage salute to me! However, I was greatly dreading the "I am addicted to riding horses and I turn into a sucky person without my fix" conversation with my OB. I fretted over nothing. It turns out I have an awesome and understanding doctor who was happy that I voluntarily stopped jumping. As such, she threw me a bone and said that I could absolutely keep riding until I am 20-weeks along without any argument from her. That means I can ride until the beginning of December, coincidentally when the cold season arrives. Since Rose is due for her 4-year old vacation this winter anyway that works out well. She'll just get to relax for a few months longer than originally planned. It does however mean, 5½-months of no riding (including the 6-week post-baby recovery). That's a thought that doesn't sit to well with my "riding fix", but I figure I can still sort of get my fix by spending the time honing Rose's groundwork and teaching her a few pointless but highly entertaining tricks. Although after that longeing situation, I am re-thinking ground work. Maybe we'll just stick grooming until baby is born?

The Husband
So, what about the other half's opinion on my continuing to ride? I know that many non-horsey husbands and family members make foolish requests that their baby carriers immediately stop riding "those dangerous animals". Like we haven't already given up all the fun vices of life, not to mention just some basics (I very much miss roast beef sandwiches, sushi, and oil painting...acrylics just aren't the same), so why not just pile one more on the heap? That is just adding insult to injury (or pregnancy) if you ask me. Lucky for me, I am blessed with a non-horsey husband who fully appreciates how horses keep me "sane" and from day one has encouraged me to keep riding. Best husband in the whole world! 

Anyway, that's my big news that I've been dying to share with you all for months now. Fear not however, unless there is an interesting topic that pertains to training/riding Rose while I'm pregnant, I won't be boring you with discussions of onesies and organic diapers. First and foremost, this blog is and will remain about Rose and our training adventures.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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  1. Congratulations!!!! I am so excited that you are ushering in the future generation of horse people!

    I have ridden through two pregnancies. Each time, I rode until I was no longer comfortable in the saddle, then switched to ground work and long lining. That transition was different for both of my pregnancies, as I expect it is for every woman's pregnancy. The decision of when and how to pursue our relationship with horses is the first of many we make as mothers, and it is just as important as any of the other decisions we make.

    There were many who felt that I should put aside the horses in order to focus on my children. I didn't think that was the right choice for me. I choose to retain my identity as a horseman, and to raise my children in a culture of horsemanship. They can choose to ride or not, that doesn't matter to me. But they will be raised by a woman who never sacrificed herself to someone else's ideals, and they will be stronger people for that.

  2. Aww...congratulations!!! That is super exciting. I'm sure Rose will be just fine getting a little extra time off...or maybe you have a horsey friend who would continue to put some riding time on her while you can't.

  3. Congratulations! Very exciting. Glad you're supported in continueing to ride until Dec.

  4. Congrats!! I'm glad you're taking care of yourself, both by making wise decisions and by still riding. ;-)

  5. Oh my gosh! congrats! how exciting... can't wait to hear the accompanying "adventures in baby starting" :)

  6. Congrats!!! I'm 27 weeks!!!

    I didn't know I was pregnant when my horse ended up FALLING on me (I was only carrying an embryo then) then when I moved my horses, I still didn't know I was pregnant and kept sticking my hand in the electrocuing auto waterer to find out why my horses were freaking out over it........

    I found out I was pregnant at 10 weeks.

    I have a history of miscarriages so I wasn't allowed to ride anymore until I was past the 3 month mark. After that my doctor was annoyed by my insistant pleading and finally I was allowed to ride again. I have 6 horses and a pony. However, I was told if my horses are spooky, stick to a walk, no crazy galloping and NO training for other people. Stick to my tried and true horses.

    Since being pregnant I have done quite a bit of riding but I am finding that the weight is starting to hurt my pelvic region so I'm cutting back. I still managed to do a 25 mile endurance ride as well. In my research to find out more about continuing to ride I have met barrel racers who barrel raced until their due date, dressage folk that showed till the day before they went into labour and so on and so forth.

    The big key is anything can happen so be careful you stay rooted in that saddle.

    I also find my wee one enjoys riding. My friends swear she's a barrel racer and practicing her kicking... others say she's got a knack for the endurance world now LOL either way, you can still enjoy your horse while pregnant, just be careful.

    As for my horses, I have one horse that is prone to bucking. I don't take chances on him and walk only. If I want him to go faster, I have someone who I can pay to throw a ride in on him whenever I want. I also have friends who are willing to put a good lope on my horses whenever I want as well. Just an option for exercising your horse when you are unable to.

    Congrats again! :D

  7. Congratulations!!!! I would love to hear how your pregnancy is affecting your riding. My husband and I are trying for #2 and this will be my first pregnancy while actively owning/riding/training horses and various other livestock.

    And of course, onesies and organic diapers are always a good subject! If you just want to talk about baby stuff, feel free to contact me - I love discussing baby stuff!

  8. Congratulations! Glad to hear you are able to continue with your horsey life. Are you already having visions of tiny paddock boots?

  9. I'm catching up on all my fave blogs and saw your Post - How Exciting! I had to laugh about needing your "horse fix"...I'm the same way. Glad you can still ride until the weather turns cold and nasty. That will be a good time to spend inside preparing for the your big day. Very happy for the two of you! :)

  10. how did i miss this?!?!? omg!!! yay!!!

  11. Congratulations! I rode during my two pregnancies but also did a lot of groundwork. I taught my horses how to long line and also did some work in hand.

    The important part is to make sure you feel comfortable and safe.

    Good luck!

  12. Yay! Congratulations!!! And you better be sharing pictures of your baby when he/she is born. I don't care if this is Rose's blog, she can share some picture time. :) I'm so excited for you.

  13. Just popped over from the carnival, many congratulaions on your pregnancy.



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