My 4 year old gelding broke my back
So I have a 4 year old appaloosa. He is VERY green, but also very mellow, and he often tricks me into being too careless when working with him, because he often acts older than he is.
A few months ago, I was riding with a friend in the arena. We were both bareback, and we were standing our horses next to one another while we chatted. My horse was being good so I dropped the reins. Then, my friend's horse decided to pick up one of the nearby plastic barrels in the arena, and toss it straight at my horse. My horse had a MAJOR spook and jumped to the side, bucked and bolted. I fell off and twisted my foot, getting a bad sprain. I was on crutches for two weeks.
Then last week, I was gathering up my confidence to ride again and I decided to go for a short, easy ride in the arena. I had been lunging him and he was doing well. So I put an english saddle on him and set a mounting block on his left side. He has always been kind of squirmy about the mounting block. As I was throwing my leg over, he moved and instead of landing my butt in the saddle, I landed on his rump. He freaked out and took off at a gallop. I should have jumped off, but didn't. He ran halfway around the arena, then started bucking. I came of when he bucked, and landed on my back, suffering a compression fracture of my L1 vertebra.
I am in the hospital, and I will be laid up healing for a long time. Luckily, I am not paralyzed and when I heal I will be good as new. I always wear my helmet when riding, otherwise I would be dead.
I'm so lucky to not be paralyzed or dead. I feel like it would be foolish to ride again and push my luck further, and it would be extremely foolish to keep riding this horse. I don't think he is too much for me, I was just unlucky two times in a row. I could just as easily have landed a little differently and I would be fine.
My parents (although I am 21 and an adult) want me to quit riding and get rid of the horse. My boyfriend and sister feel the same way. I have one friend - a fellow rider, who thinks I should keep the horse and get back on.
I thought about waiting until I heal, and then do ground work with him for like 6 months. Maybe try natural horsemanship and get him to be totally bombproof and way more obedient. It is his spooking and bolting and bucking that is most dangerous. He only does it with good reason - it's not just disobedience, but he is spooked really easily and he has a big reaction.
Does anyone have any advice? What would you do in this situation? Should I just sell him and buy an old bombproof horse, or stop riding all together? Please help. Riding is my life.
The basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
He's of the color of the nutmeg and of the heart of the ginger.
His neigh is like the bidding of a monarch,
And his countenance enforces homage.
- William Shakespeare