Injured Hip Can't Ground Fox-hunter

Jacobs Still Saddling Up After Replacement Surgery

October 16, 1991|By Muphen Whitney | Muphen Whitney,Contributing writer

Someday an encyclopedia may be written on the life of Glenelg resident Mary Jacobs.

The entry could read, "Mary Morse Jacobs: horsewoman, fox-hunter, Pony Club leader, painter, portrait artist, sculptor,wife and mother."

One of the most important things in Mary Jacobs' life today, however, is getting out the word on the benefits of a hip replacement to people with hip problems who wish to remain active.

"I remember how worried and scared of the operation I was before I had it," Jacobs,who is in her late 50s, says, although it's hard to imagine her being afraid of anything. "A friend said, 'Do it now, it's marvelous,' soI finally did it and it was marvelous. And that's what I want everyone to know.

"After it was done I woke up and there was no more pain. I almost couldn't remember a time when there hadn't been pain."

Jacobs' hip had deteriorated from accidents to the point where she spent the last six months before the replacement operation on crutches. Despite the crutches, the crunching pain and being kept up all night by discomfort, Jacobs rode "until the last gasp" and fox-hunted "upto the last minute" before the operation. She was back in the saddlein record time after it.

When Jacobs had her hip replacement surgery in 1980, the procedure recommended by Dr. Mike Ellis was relatively new. During surgery, a large pin is anchored deep within the thighbone to hold a new hip joint in place.

After the operation Ellis cautioned Jacobs against any "rough stuff." But knowing Jacobs, he couldn't really think there was a prayer that she would heed his counsel.

"I taught him to ride," Jacobs explains. "He is the best, he understands about the horses."

After the operation, she stayed off horses altogether until the rod in her thigh bone grafted to the bone.There have been other necessary changes in her horse routine -- mostof which she takes with good grace.

"I used to just jump right upon the horse," she says. "Now I can't do that so much; sometimes I need to mount from a block or get a leg up.

"Of course, there's always a better chance that you'll hurt yourself while jumping fences than while just riding on the flat, so I'm only jumping a little now. Just little jumps, no big things."

Jacobs gives her current horse much credit with keeping her going over jumps.

"My horse is very willing, and he jumps very well."

She pauses.

"Oh dear, don't tell Paul and John: They'd be furious if they knew. John always tells me, 'You'd better not be out there jumping,' and Paul gets on my back, too, so I really don't jump."

Paul is her husband, retired engineer Paul Jacobs. John is her son, John Bosley, an accomplished horse trainer and noted steeplechase rider (winner of the Maryland Hunt Cup, among other honors). Jacobs' other son, Louis Bosley, is also an accomplished trainer of flat and steeplechase horses.

Jacobs has transferred her fox-hunting tack to Carrollton Hounds in Carroll County because of that hunt club's lower fences and

smaller fields.

She and her quarter horse gelding, Cool Hand Luke, have discovered the sport of competitive trail riding.

"He's my first quarter horse, andI love him to death," Jacobs says of the 16-hand 7-year-old. "I'm absolutely tickled with him. When we're out hunting he's just invaluable. I can leave the other horses and do whatever I want. And we've been doing very well on competitive rides."

There have been as many as 10 horses at one time at the Jacobs' stable in Glenelg, but these days Luke shares his pasture with just one other horse, Paul Jacobs' impressive 18-hand Shire-Thoroughbred cross, My Toy.

"For a long time Paul just came out and played with him so I christened him My Toy.Paul broke him, and (steeplechase trainer and rider) Billy Meister trained him to jump. He was bred by Howard Streaker and is the quietest, gentlest thing. A real pussycat."

Jacobs and Luke began competing in trail rides last year and placed fourth of 84 in their second ride, a 25-mile contest. This year they have brought home a couple of ribbons and, to Jacobs' chagrin, recently lost out on first place by a slim margin when they took the wrong trail for 20 minutes.

"The judge was so nice," Jacobs says. "He made a special point to encourage me to keep up at this. He told me that with this horse I should have lots of success. Luke isn't the fastest horse, but he can go all day. He does 25 miles without even getting a wet hair. I want to do oneof the 100-mile rides at some point."

Old hip or new hip, Mary Jacobs will certainly prevail over 100 miles' worth of problems. When adoctor other than Ellis examined her hip after her replacement operation, Jacobs asked how soon she could get back in the saddle.

The doctor was aghast.

"If I were your doctor I wouldn't let you ride at all," he said.

"And that's why you are not my doctor," Jacobs replied.

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