The Phys­i­cal Toll

Practical Horseman - - Inside Your Ride -

Of the 44 rid­ers who set out to con­quer or at least sur­vive the 2018 Mon­gol Derby, 33 com­pleted the race with an of­fi­cial plac­ing, in­clud­ing win­ners Adrian Cor­boy and Annabel Neasham, who com­pleted the race to­gether on Day 7. Re­tirees suf­fered from a wide va­ri­ety of in­juries from falls—bro­ken ribs, bro­ken col­lar­bone, dis­lo­cated shoul­der, torn an­kle lig­a­ments. (Rid­ers have also been knocked out of races from de­hy­dra­tion, hy­pother­mia, ex­haus­tion, ill­ness, chaf­ing and a whole other slew of ail­ments.) At the end of Days 1 and 2, my whole body was so sore, I could hardly walk when I got off my horses. But by Day 3, the mus­cle sore­ness dis­si­pated as joint pain (knees and an­kles) and chaf­ing set in. From the out­set, I taped both my an­kles, as they had been prob­lem­atic dur­ing train­ing. As the derby went on, I be­gan chang­ing my stir­rup length about every other leg of the race to slightly change my knee and an­kle an­gles, which helped. I spent a good por­tion of my morn­ing rou­tine on Day 3 tap­ing chafed ar­eas—the backs of my knees, backs and in­sides of my thighs, butt and tops of my shoul­ders, which were be­ing rav­aged by my wa­ter pack—to stop the open sores from get­ting worse. My big­gest is­sue came on Day 5 when I wrenched my lower back af­ter my horse tripped in a mar­mot hole and I over­com­pen­sated by pulling him up and sharply to the right. By the end of Day 6 it was in­cred­i­bly painful, and the bounc­ing wa­ter pack didn’t help. When all else fails, a hand­ful of ibupro­fen, a tab of Imod­ium and some Mon­go­lian vodka go a long way!

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