The Road Ahead
Well I figured I should start a journal here to pass the time because I won't be riding for at least a year and a half. I have two horses and board at the most wonderful place in the world. It has no arena (other than fields and the BO's front yard and a roundpen) and doesn't look like much from the outside. I used to take lessons off of the trainer/BO when I was a kid and she taught me everything from riding western, english, and driving a cart. I've worked under her for years now. I want to be a veterinarian, and I was accepted into a great college a few hours away. I bought a house, got a roommate, was all prepared to say my saddened goodbyes for a while to my friends, family, and most of all horses and cats and dogs when I got injured.... again.
About two years ago I was riding my mom's gelding who when he spooks bolts (and there is no stopping him AT ALL). We had just started to canter to work on his fearful mentality of the gait when lone behold the girth to the english saddle literally broke.... in half. Brand new girth. Metal buckles just snapped clean off and my saddle went flying when my horse began to buck. Long story short, I was thrown, rolled down a small hill that was in the medium sized field I was using (pretty sure I got kicked) and got up just in time to see him go charging through her break away fencing and into the big field with all his buddies. I dusted myself off and with my mom and BO took the long trek to go regain the steed. I limped along, and after recovering the horse, saddle, lone stirrup and a spare girth we went into the roundpen to get back on and go again. We worked for a while to get him over the shock and calmed down again and then left it there.
I feel it fair to note here that I have an extremely high pain tolerance.
My mom asked if I needed to go to the hospital or the doctors because I was limping so bad and like an idiot I said: "No, I feel fine!" and climbed up on my mare who is bombproof and dead broke.
Let's fast forward about a year and a half. I had severe back pains, hip pains and no matter what could barely haul myself up on a horse (I had been active and keeping up my vigorous riding/work schedule after the accident). With a lot of persuasion I went to see a Chiropractor who after an xray session came in and asked me if I was joking about the whole incident and that I hadn't gone to the hospital. I said: "No you're the first doc I've seen, why?" To make this part short here's a short list: (genetically I'm different sizes on my bones it turns out) a cracked collar bone that had healed over itself to form a small lump, stage 2 spinal defluxation with deterioration and collapsed discs/vertebra, arthritis all up and down my spine as well as bone spurs, (and her guess as to some soft tissue damage around my hip). Needless to say I berated myself for being an idiot, promised never to do it again and began treatment with success.
Until a few weeks ago.
I decided to help our BO on my supposed day "off". She fractured her knee a while ago and it never healed right so when she was moving hay I offered to go up in the hay loft and go help her. I put my mare in the stall and went up the ladder and began moving bales. As i went to hand one to her I twisted wrong and suddenly my knee gave out, dislocating and sending me to the ground. I lay there for a moment getting my bearings and trying to get the fire in my leg from spreading and clouding my judgement. When it subsided the BO helped me up and asked if she needed to help me down the ladder. As I stood up she looked at my knee and asked me to sit down.
Stupidly I said "No, I'll walk it off, long way from my heart!" and took a step... and relocated it. Word of advice: don't be stupid like me. I proceeded to walk around the hay loft and when she finished up I made my way down the ladder unassisted (I think the swelling was keeping my knee in place). I walked over to grab my horse and let her out when the BO asked if she could take me home (and told me SHE was putting my horse out) I said no and drove home, sat down with a package of frozen Brauts and peas on my knee and waited for my mom to get home.
I had to go to the ER because pretty soon the swelling went down some and the knee decided to go MIA. I won't bore you with the whole fiasco of the ER, or the xrays, or the journey to the local orthopedic center.
In the end it turned out that when I relocated my knee I left my mark. The group of bone and cartilage that fits underneath that tendon and into the socket was shattered and flew of into all different directions. The ligaments in the knee are torn and the surgeon is going in SOON to find out what else needs fixin. His professional opinion is that I won't be putting weight on it for at least a year, and if he had to guess at least riding for 2 to 3 if everything goes 100%.
This means my roommate has to be informed I'm not moving up, my stuff moved back into my parents house, my college put on hold/moved to an online program, and a bunch of other questions I have to be prepared to ask myself about my future career as a Vet, rider, and trainer.
I figured this can be a way to ease my stress, keep myself occupied and out of doing another stupid thing and talk about my horse.
Speaking of which, I'm going out tomorrow with my mom to see my mare for the second time since being in crutches/wheelchair! I've been told by both her and the BO that they're gonna train my QH mare to drive because most likely I'll be cleared for that before riding and I NEED my horsey time!
So I'm gonna keep this journal about this whole 'recovery thing' as well as the training of a horse to drive and maybe just funny stories I have up my sleeve about the years with horses. Hey maybe through this long, boring post someone else can at least get a chuckle for a day or feel a little better if they're ever injured and need to be kept preoccupied! :lol:
That is a lot to carry on your young shoulders-I will send healing thoughts your way & hope your recovery time is shorter than predicted. Stay strong-there will be more hurdles ahead.
Ouch! Sorry to hear that. I hope you're feeling better soon, even if it will be a while before you can ride.
My BO drives her horses and absolutely loves it. I definitely think you should look into it.
Thank you for the thoughts! I've always loved driving but have never had a driving horse so I guess soon I will! :D
Funny short story for the day:
When we first moved out to the place where we are now my boss had not finished putting up all of her fencing. There were only our two horses, some of hers, and another boarders and she sectioned off two fields by very easily breaking wire (so if any horse were to go through there would be no resistance) to make this visible she tied multicolored ribbons to the wire that would wave and show the horses the boundaries. Her and her husband had just finished putting up the last of this wire after their long hard day of work on the farm and noticed my mare standing by the far side gate, looking towards the barn.
My trainer apparently had been bringing her in at night because of the colder weather and rain which was making my mare need a blanket. In the barn my mare had a heated bucket, more than enough food and hey, she didn't have to deal with any of the horses out in the field! Her and her husband stopped and stared at my mare and he asked if she wanted to bring her in. As the weather was pleasant for a change and she hates to have horses in unnecessarily my boss said, "No, she'll be fine!" As they walked away she head my mare neigh and shouted back: "You can stay outside! You're a horse! It's good for you!" and without further ado walked into the barn with her husband, preparing to go out to dinner to celebrate their hard work.
They heard the sound of hooves galloping and walked out, watching from a distance as my mare ran to the back of the biggest field. Laughing and chuckling at watching her quarter horse tank of a body (she is traditional bulldog, pure muscle body) move they were struck silent as they watched her run towards the fence, her gallop putting a kentucky derby winner to shame. My boss swears up and down that she looked at the fence, doubled her speed and plowed right through all their brand new fencing, ripping down every inch of wire and then slid to a stop in the field beside the barn. As they both stared dumbfounded my mare snorted, found the gate closed, and then took off again, cantering in a circle until she charged the gate and jumped it, clearing it and landing in the unfenced area behind the barn. With a snarl on her face the horse walked up to the BO and her husband, stood there while they both were staring at her and then as they moved aside went inside the barn and found an open stall, going inside and waiting.
This was the first time that she plowed through their fencing.
Oh goodness! Here's hoping your knee and other assorted injuries have a speedy recovery! And about the fencing and your mare, wow! You have a very interesting mare lol. :)
Surgery today so I'll know the severity SOON!!
So I thought I might as well post another story about my mare just because she is very interesting and now that I'm injured I get to reflect on just HOW eccentric she is:
So I went out to the barn today, found my mare put into a stall by the BO and spent some time just loving on her and feeding her treats. And then went over to spend some time with the frisian that's been dubbed her "boyfriend" (she loves him to death since she lost her old "boyfriend" last year due to his old age). My BO came out and started to chitchat with me.
Ever since my mare ran through the fence the first time (she did this about 6 more times until my BO got the memo and just brought her in whenever she wanted) my trainer knows when she wants in, let her in! Now my trainer has a fractured knee that never healed right so it's very hard for her to go to the back field where my mare is and bring her up when she has a limited window of pain freeness to work horses. During the winter my BO would go out back to feed and open the fencing for my mare to come out and walk around with her, then follow her back to the barn and put her in a stall. (There's an open passage way that connects the barn and all fields together.) Soon my mare discovered that she could just walk up to the barn and go into an empty stall or wait for the BO in the aisle way to get outta the weather.
(My mare did not develop any bad habits from this, btw, just to put any minds at ease, nor did she ever stray from her straight line to the barn ;) ) My trainer has another girl that comes out besides me who is very new to horses, she was bringing up the friesian and my BO peaked out at her to just see her trying in vain to shoo my mare away. With the girl exasperated and trying to get through the wire to cut across an empty field and recognizing that fiendish look, my trainer just called out "Let her come through!" the girl hesitated a moment and then moved out of the way as my mare came through and stopped by the closed gate, a snarl on her face and her mind definitely set to come INTO the barn (despite the beautiful day). As the girl brought up the horse she tried again to shoo my mare away until my trainer just laughed and said, "Open the gate and let her through first." Again the girl hesitantly did so and my mare went trotting into the barn and walked into an empty stall. The BO waited and then began to throw hay to the horses that were inside as the girl brought the friesian in, put him away in his stall and shut the door, turned around and was shocked to see my mare standing in the stall with the door wide open despite hay being thrown and the hay cart right next to the door. She walked over, peaked in and then looked back at my trainer who shrugged and said, "You can shut the door." The girl shut the door and watched as my mare went to a corner and waited for her hay, then proceeded to eat it.
For the rest of the day the girl was so excited and kept proclaiming to everyone who walked through the door that that horse was one that could, "Put itself away!" Later on when the NH boarder who is an extremist and a control freak was talking to her became aghast when the girl told her that she had seen the most natural horsemanship preformed: A horse putting itself in it's stall with no training; aka a horse that had trained a trainer.
I just about died laughing.
I've been revisiting memories of riding, and came to a startling conclusion about our gelding. To anyone who was wondering he was abused and rescued by a woman then us (though I consider us a rescue because the alternative was too harsh for him) so any of his issues are understandable and honestly, the trainers who have worked with him have told us to suck it up and adapt.
He's in no means perfect. In fact he's a bona fide nut job. Spooks at everything, bolts without stopping, injured both me and my mom and is a lazy horse who I sometimes doubt has more than two brain cells in his head. Add to that pigeon toed and crooked legged, and crosses his front feet when he walks.
But occasionally I'm reminded of the greatness he's capable of.
After his retraining when he injured my mom he sat in a back field until I decided on a fluke one day that I was going to ride him again and get him back into his once beloved discipline of dressage. I did so and rode him consistently and worked with him as much as possible. I never intended/wanted him to be my horse, he was my moms. In a way (corny and fake as it may sound) when I was a kid he was my black stallion. He was the untouchable horse who I occasionally got to sit on bareback when my mom lead us around but otherwise left alone. But I had no desire of ever calling that horse 'mine' eventually despite people's opinions that he was in fact 'mine'.
But in reflection I never rode a horse more willing and hard working then him. He gave it his all, every time he was worked. By month one of our dressage training he was trotting sidepasses, halfpasses, something of that sort I've yet to learn my terminology.... and never once complained. I'll be the first to admit I made many mistakes on him, I had many whoops moments but not once did that horse hold it against me.
When you bridle him you just open the headstall for his humongous head to clammor through and he launches his mouth at the bit and holds it in his mouth till you catch up. He does the same for his halter, he greets you in the field and never offers a harsh gesture towards you. In retrospect he's a **** fine horse.
When I was out visiting the other day I happened to run into the monstrosity on accident and had to admit I bawled my eyes out. I've not been in contact with him and had no desire to desensitize him to my crutches when I can't walk. But that lug came right up, and put his head near my chest, and waited for his attention. No spook no 'it's going to kill me' just peace.
I think it was that moment when I finally realized that he'd become my horse.
I remembered the times when I'd rode him, worked with him and how every time he's always put his head near my chest and begs for his attention. I thought about the time (on a fluke and a dare and a stupid notion) I put a tarp on the ground and led him over it, and tried to get him to spook to turn it into a learning experience. And I was reminded about how some things you can't control and sometimes it's the ones you least expect. And I hate to admit it but I bawled. He wasn't my horse, he was supposed to be my moms. Out of all the people he had to go and chose the wrong one.
I've thought a lot of my grandma who used to run barrels on her horse. He was Red, a huge QH who was particular of the people he liked. She in fact said that she hated him from the moment they met, she couldn't stand him and only rode him because he was the only horse around that met her needs. She said one night he broke his leg badly, the vet came out and offered to put him to sleep but for some reason she couldn't do it. She said that he looked at her and it was as if then she fell in love. So she called out her dad and told him to invent her something (him and her mom loved to invent stuff lol). He spent one day rigging up a sling that would hang from a support beam and a brace to heal the leg back to as normal a position as possible and then put it on a pully system so it was moveable up and down and left to right. According to her it went the length of the barn and outside about ten feet. Red sat in that sling for months and when he finally did get out of it he was standing on her front porch in the early morning. As per her own tradition she sat out in the yard with her cup of coffee and watched the sunrise, and soon enough Red his head on her lap and went to sleep. That became their tradition for the next 20 years. She told me that story and then said, "You have no control over who it likes."
For some reason now when I ride or look at him now I don't see the 'big stupid dumb horse' but I see the courageous one. I see the horse that might be afraid but gives 110% in everything he does for you. I know now that each of those rides no matter how trivial or frustrating was something that I've yet to feel on another horse to the extremity that he gave me.
I guess what I'm trying to say is: sometimes it's the horses that you can't ever see yourself teaming up with that turn out to be the ones which are the best to ride.
Kudos if you took the time to read that, if not, kudos as well! :) It's off of my chest and brain and into the open air for better or worse.
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