Thursday, May 24, 2012

Learning the Hard Way

Wow, looks like life got a hold of me again!  I have been playing catch up since finishing the castle project at the church.  With the Gem and Mineral Show, National Health Week at Curves, and a co-worker on vacation (meaning: working triple the time I normally have to), not to mention the accident with my horse that put me out of commission for a solid week at least, life has been a bit overwhelming.  Exciting, yes but also overwhelming. 

On top of all that, I have apparently required a refresher course on not taking short cuts.  First example:  Horses that don't get ridden consistently require hours of groundwork; especially when they are obese on new grass and have become certain that they are princesses and should never succumb to the indignity of carrying a mere person on their back.  (You'd think she would at least appreciate that said mere person has lost over 65 pounds of carrying weight...nope)

On a beautiful May Sunday afternoon, I took such a shortcut.  As you can see, I lived to tell about it...barely.  Deciding against the drudgery of groundwork, I tacked Roxy up, put on my helmet, and mounted.  As usual she was a handful, but nothing I couldn't manage.  After all, I have owned her for 
almost 10 years and she'd never dumped me...famous last words.

She looks pretty innocent, doesn't she...

After a few minutes of riding the fence line, I decided all was going well enough to branch out into the 18 acres of conservation land.  Lex, my shepherd was by our side and the day was beautiful.  After an hour of riding slow switching between walking and trotting, I decided to give Lex and fat princess a bit of a run.  Big Mistake.  The moment I loosened the reins and urged her to a canter, she decided it was time to ditch the witch.  After the third buck, it occurred to me that I had no training as a rodeo bronc rider and threw myself off to the side.  I wondered if she would be one of those faithful, repentant horses that patiently waited for their rider to get up and remount.  Nope.  Off she ran, kicking not a single buck to mar her remarkably fast progress to her pasture.  She rounded 9 acres in record time, leaving me like a sack of rotten potatoes behind.  As I got up, I was delighted to note that I didn't hurt a bit - not bad for 47, I mused.

As I trudged back to the pasture, I did what every good horsewoman does when she's thrown.  I found an old bridle with another bit since she'd stepped on and snapped hers during her olympic run and remounted her.  I worked her for another 30 minutes in pastures one and two and even made her canter - which if I am being honest - was kinda scary!  But we did it and the ride was wonderful.  At that point, I should have called it good and ended it in on a positive note.  Oh, but for hindsight. 

Feeling a bit cocky in my mastery over this 1800 pound princess, I decided we would check out pasture three for a short turn before heading in.  She decided, Not.  Forgetting all the tips and tricks my trainer had taught me, I struggled to keep her head up to prevent her from bucking, and tapping her between the ears to keep her from rearing.  Instead I should have turned her in circles so she could not become the rocking horse she did.  She completely freaked out, reared up and over on top of me. 

As I fell, I heard my neck make a cracking noise my chiropracter has never before or since accomplished, and I recall thinking, that this couldn't be good.  My head whacked either the fencepost on the way down or the ground as I hit - honestly not sure which.  But to be sure, the most painful part of the whole process, was feeling her scramble to her feet using my right leg three times to assist her footing.  I was pretty sure there was going to be some bad news. 

As I struggled to sit up, (I surely did not want my husband to look over and see me lying prone on the ground after he was ready to send her to horsey heaven after the first round) mentally checking that all my body parts were still attached, I was amazed to note that princess was standing next to me sides heaving as if I had landed 1800 pounds of horseflesh on top of her then used her as a step ladder.  I would like to think her loyalty kicked in, but I'm honest if nothing else.  She eyed me balefully as if the whole thing were my fault.

After about 15 minutes of mental and physical checking, I did what any insane horsewoman would do...I got back on.  Two times around the smallest pasture was enough for me.  I untacked her, rubbed her down, then went inside and took two Naproxen and three ice bags to bed.

I am grateful to report that there are no broken bones, no head injury (thanks to the helmet that cracked in lieu of my skull), a bruise the size of my right leg...oh, yeah, that is my leg, and two hematomas; one on the left side of my right knee, and the other on the mid calf of my right leg.  It could have been worse...a lot worse.  And I am grateful to God that He intercedes on my shortcuts.