Sunday, August 14, 2011

Unexpected Forced Vacation

On July 31st I got up and out early to beat the scorching heat and get in some riding time.

I saddled up my two mares, my paint mare Karma and the Welsh/Paint Pony mare Lily both pictured here both of whom tend to be a little high spirited and hard to handle. The paint mare and I usually come to a understanding pretty quickly, I have ridden her frequently and had some of my best moments on the trail with her. That morning however, was not so pleasant, both mares were not behaving well even as I saddled them. But,stubborn woman that I am, I rode them both but not without a great deal of head throwing, prancing around, kicking, some rearing up and generally just being difficult.

After my initial rides on both of them I decided to spend some time working with the paint mare Karma to get her to stand still while being mounted, usually I have to have someone hold her while I get on her so she does not run off before I am fully in the saddle. After a repeatedly making her come to a full stop in front of my mounting block I thought she was going to finally cooperate but alas I was terribly wrong. Just as I swung myself over the saddle to sit she decided to take off in a full canter before I could fully catch my balance and find my seat. She ran directly along side of the fence where if I did not raise my right leg it would have been caught. My right foot was not yet in the stirrup since I had not time to place it there and I am unsure looking back on the event if that foot being free was a blessing or a curse in any case as my right leg came up instinctively to avoid the fence my saddle slipped to the left and I knew at that moment I was coming off of the horse one way or another. I have no idea really what happened because it happened so quickly but in a matter of seconds I hit the ground and hit hard. I immediately knew I was hurt but was able to after catch my breath and with the help of my family get into the house. It wasn't long before I knew I needed to head to the emergency room. I had severe pain in my neck and in my rear end.

Long story short, I ended up with some bad whiplash and a broken sacral bone, which is basically my tail bone, the large bone in the back of your pelvis. The whiplash began to ease up after a week but the broken bone has forced me out of work since the event, with the hopes of going back to work after the 26th of Aug. Standing, sitting or bending are very painful with laying on one side or the other in bed being the only comfortable position I can find I am forced to get lots of greatly needed rest and lots of time to think and reflect on where my life is going. Boy is that a scary thing to face.

I have asked myself over and over what went wrong that day and a couple of things could possibly have influenced the events of the morning. Besides being horribly hot and humid for so early in the day, both mares had had their hooves trimmed the day before and even though I was riding on soft ground it's possible they had tender feet.

Additionally, in my repeated attempts at getting the mare to stand still at the mount I had neglected to re-check the cinch which had loosened too much something I usually am so careful to do. Also I believe my high strung mare was pretty agitated by my exercises with her which I failed to fully realize. In any case I did not win this battle with my horse, I did not show her who was in charge and I was not as careful as I should have been.

It will be a long time before I will be healed enough to ride again and I had to admit to myself that I definitely don't bounce as well as I did when I was younger. I will have to really evaluate how best to be safe when riding again and how best to find a way to make these mares safe to ride whether it be being sent to trainers or spending a lot more time with them myself. I can't bring myself to consider finding them new homes, I love them both so for now I will be considering my options.

As for my time off, it's unexpected, its financially challenging, but it's nice to be home.

The event has really made me stop and think about people who live with chronic pain or illness and given me a greater sense of compassion for them. I know that this accident could have been so much worse and I am so grateful that it was not.

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