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DraftyAiresMum 07-22-2011 09:38 PM

Minor setback...getting back in the saddle afterward
Okay, so on Wednesday I had a fairly serious horse-related accident. Thankfully, it was NOT involving my horse.

Now, please don't flame me for what I did. It may not have been the brightest thing, but I would much rather it happen to me than the older BO because I can bounce back from an injury FAR better than he can.

So, here's what happened...

We have this lady at our stable who bought a 7yo mare from a rescue. She was told the mare is "pure paint" be quite honest, after seeing this horse move, she looks like a gypsy cob/TB cross. She's a black and white paint, which is the SOLE REASON the lady bought her. She was told that the mare was broke and had been ridden quite a bit, but hadn't been ridden in a while. She bought the mare as a horse for her 11yo daughter who has a blood disorder that has made her extremely frail (she weighs about 40lbs and looks like one good sneeze would do her in). This lady says she had horses about ten years ago, but I am pretty sure I've FORGOTTEN more about horses than she's ever known! She couldn't even halter her mare at first.

Anyway, the lady asked my friend and I if we would help her saddle the horse and ride it. Since we were led to believe that this mare was broke, we said sure. The barn's trainer was busy and the BO was off trying out some QHs he'd just bought. So, we saddled her up. She was an absolute angel, even when my friend was putting the hackamore on (what we were told she rides in...yeah, right) and lost her grip and dropped it off the mare's face. We got her all tacked up and took her into the round pen where I started working on lunging. We were also told this mare could lunge. Yeah, not even close. She charged at me several times when I went to swing the lead rope to get her to move. I have NEVER felt uncomfortable around a horse, even in the round pen, but that horse made me EXTREMELY nervous.

Well, I asked my friend to come in the round pen with me and we weighted the stirrups to see how the mare would react. She didn't even flinch at all when we leaned as hard as we could into the stirrups. So, we decided that I'd climb on and take her for a ride around the round pen. My friend counter-balanced the stirrup and I swung up after a couple of bounces to get momentum. Again, she didn't even stir, nor did she feel tense. I leaned slightly forward to catch my right stirrup and the mare threw a little crow hop buck at me. I pitched forward slight in the saddle, but didn't even remotely come close to coming out of it. Now mind you, we had been warned that this mare was rope shy (the trainer at the rescue said she accidentally dropped the reins on the mare's neck and she FLIPPED OUT), so I made sure I kept the reins as far off that mare's neck as I could manage and kept a firm grip on them so I wouldn't accidentally let them fall.

I moved back to put my butt back in the seat and try to catch my right stirrup again because she STILL didn't feel tense when the mare's ears snapped back, pinned down, she jerked her head to the right so she saw me out of the corner of her eye and BUCKED. We're not talking a little crow hop this time. This was a full-out rodeo bronc BUCK. I went flying and flipped over her neck, but my left foot tangled in the stirrup before jerking free. I landed on first my butt, then my back, then cracked my head on the ground and blacked out for a few seconds. Apparently the mare bucked so hard she flipped herself over onto her side, rolled OVER the saddle (luckily the tree didn't break!), and came to her feet with murder in her eyes. As soon as she was up, she came after me with both front feet. She would have been on top of me trampling me if my friend hadn't jumped between us and kept the mare at bay until I regained my feet, which was VERY quickly. There was absolutely no way I was going to be caught DEAD on the ground with that mare in the pen with me.

My first thought when I came back around after blacking out was "Where's the horse?" My second thought was "OMG! My left ankle hurts!" My third thought was "Where are my glasses?" (thankfully they were still on my face). After figuring out where the horse was, I got up and immediately realized something was off with my ankle, but decided it was probably sprained. We walked the mare out of the round pen (I held the lead rope...I may not have been able to get back in that saddle [not that I WANTED to with her!], but I wasn't going to let her beat me!) and over to the hitching rail so we could untack her. She wouldn't let us take the bridle off for a good five minutes, but just stood there like a calm, lazy lump the whole time we took the saddle and pads off.

I walked around for four hours with the pain in my ankle getting progressively worse until finally I asked my friend if she could take me to the ER (there was absolutely no way I could drive my truck since it's stick). At the ER, the PA who saw me was expecting my ankle to be pretty much shattered with the way we described what happened (almost exactly as I have here, just without all the details), but he was pleasantly surprised to find that I "merely" :wink: have a hairline fracture on the front of my left tibia, right where it meets my ankle. So, I'm splinted up right now and should be getting a hard cast sometime this week.

So, I know what I have to do right now to heal. My questions are about after I heal and I can ride again. I'm anticipating Aires being ready to ride by the time I'm out of my cast (he's already had two rides on him and he ALREADY responds to leg pressure!!!). Since it was my left (mounting) ankle that was fractured, should I have the trainer teach him to mount from either side so that I can get on him from the ground without worrying about stressing my ankle too much (I figured out that if I have someone weighting the stirrup, I can mount with no problems)? I'll probably ride my friend's dead-broke arab mare (even though she's a little small for me) the first couple of times out, just to get a feel for how my ankle will handle riding. Do you think I should wear a brace when I ride? Right now, I am not in ANY pain from the all...and I'm not taking any pain meds other than some ibuprofen every once in a while (only had one dose today and took 400mg). I do have an EXTREMELY high pain threshold (the BO kept telling me my ankle couldn't be broken because I was walking on it lol You should have seen his face the next day when I showed up with my leg in a splint and on crutches).

Anyway, the only good thing to come out of this is that when I hit the ground with my back, I must have jarred loose some scar tissue that was limiting my range of motion on my left shoulder from where I injured it moving stall panels last year (more than likely tore my rotator cuff, but insurance wouldn't fix it), because now I have almost full range of motion back in that shoulder and it's relatively pain free. The only pain I feel in it right now is from hauling my 180lbs butt around on crutches all day! lol

Oh, and I am TOTALLY not scared to get back up on a horse. I was ready to get back on one that day, just not that mare again. I think my friend was more freaked out about what happened that I was, to be completely honest.

Ladytrails 07-22-2011 11:36 PM

Drafty, sorry to hear of your injury. I'm typing this with one hand since my other one is in a cast, so I have some sympathy. My ER nurse practitioner told me to eat cottage cheese to help build up calcium for speedier healing, so I will pass that on. In checking that out, I also learned that curd cheese (also cottage cheese) is high in K2 which is necessary for new bone growth, which actually may be the reason why cottage cheese helps heal fractures faster. So, eat up and get back in the saddle faster! That's my goal....

DraftyAiresMum 07-22-2011 11:43 PM

Is there anything else that works like cottage cheese does? lol I can't STAND the stuff!! :-P

I do drink A LOT of milk and eat cheese (from what the PA said, that's probably why I haven't had any significantly broken bones before [he didn't seem to think breaking the second knuckle on my left ring finger counted] and why this break was so minor compared to what it could have been).

Ladytrails 07-22-2011 11:56 PM

It did sound like you got very lucky that you didn't end up with plates and screws in your ankle...but it's still not being lucky when you're hobbling around, right?

Based on what I read, there is a fermented soy product, called "natto" that is supposed to be rich in K2. Also supplements called menaquinone are K2 but some question among the natural foodies whether it's the same as getting K2 from food. Another blog mentioned sauerkraut and cheeses (did not specify curd cheese). Apparently it's the fermentation caused by bacteria that are responsible for the high levels of K2 in these foods.

I don't know about the other cheeses besides cottage cheese, but there was something when I googled it that sounded like cheddar curds, soft curds of cheddar before it's pressed. I don't like cheddar so I'm pretty happy with the cottage cheese. Dressed up with chopped fruit or canned peaches, it's really pretty good. I usually plunk a few spoonfuls on top of my salad at lunch, and it mixes up with the salad dressing pretty well and I don't notice it.

DraftyAiresMum 07-23-2011 12:02 AM

My grandma used to try to get me to eat cottage cheese with my peaches. I tried it once and literally puked as soon as I got it down (and I wasn't sick). So yeah, no amount of "oh, it's good if you..." is going to get me to eat it. lol

I LOVE cheddar cheese, though. My parents buy this Vermont extra sharp white cheddar cheese that is to DIE for! lol

I was also told that Advil (or its active ingredient) speeds up the healing of fractures, so I might give that a try.

I'm a pretty fast healer in general, so I'm not too worried about the healing part, to be honest. I'm "worried" about the after the healing and getting back in the saddle part (I tend to be a forward-thinker, not an in-the-moment-worrier). :-)

Ladytrails 07-23-2011 12:09 AM

I get that! Both the puking and the wondering about getting back in the saddle!

99% of my friends thought I broke my arm falling off a horse (none of them know that usually your arms are up over your head trying to hold on to the reins), LOL. The other 1% thought I slugged my husband! I actually was cleaning wasps out of a friend's rented horse barn, and fell off a step stool. Being grounded from step stools is better than being grounded from horses ;-)

My big forward thinking worry is my son's wedding on August 13th. I won't be out of the cast for sure, but the ortho says maybe a splint I can take off for pix. The wedding is formal, so I'll be in a sleeveless gown and I'm trying to figure out how to get the two arms to look like they belong to the same body... one scaly and white, and one tan .... Yikes! At the end of August I'll have my TWH mare's shoes put back on and hopefully can get back in the saddle.

PS - I definitely would suggest training for off-side mounting. It's harder than it looks for us, but I don't think the horses mind.

DraftyAiresMum 07-23-2011 12:17 AM

I'm a little worried about training for off-side mounting for Jen's (the trainer) sake, to be honest. Aires doesn't mind ME doing weird things on his right side, but he DOES NOT like anyone else on his right side unless they're grooming him. Even people just walking by us get "What are you doing?!" looks from him. I've tried working with him on it, but since he doesn't mind me doing stuff, it hasn't worked. Any time someone else tries doing stuff, he spooks like a normal horse (his usual spooks are a sudden stop and then he looks at whatever spooked him...a "normal horse" spook, as we tend to call it, is the full-on "OMG! I'm gonna die!" freak out). Jen intentionally spooked him from the right one day and he nearly ran me over...which is saying A LOT because he is usually EXTREMELY conscious of my space (something we've worked on extensively). Ah, the joys of having a two-year-old who was just gelded and who has stood in a stall for the past 18 months. :-/

In all fairness, he isn't really as bad as that makes him sound. He was ridden for the first time on Wednesday and didn't have to be plough reined at all, was working off leg cues by about 10 minutes in and stood like a rock of mounting and dismounting. There's a little two-year-old QH gelding who is being trained at the same time Aires is by our BO who has to be plough reined, has to be ridden in spurs to get him to move forward at all, and will walk forward when you try to mount and backward when you try to dismount.

Ladytrails 07-23-2011 12:30 AM

You have a problem.... If you didn't have a cast on your leg you'd already be mounting him from the off side...but you can't even be out there in the arena helping with this if he's possibly going to run into you. (Promise me you won't try...) Maybe the trainer can carry on for you - after all, you've come such a long way with him that maybe he will take this next phase in stride. If nothing else, the exposure to the trainer while you're out of commission may help further socialize him to other handlers and stimuli. I think the biggest issue if he were my horse would be whether I trusted the trainer enough to let her take him through the process. It doesn't sound like she's afraid of him...

Another thought, there's something that's a near-side mounting aid that (I think) hooks onto the saddle horn and goes around or over the saddle. It is like a stirrup and hangs down below the saddle stirrup, so that you actually mount by putting your right foot in the aid, lifting you up high enough to get your left foot in the saddle stirrup and then you swing your right leg over as usual. I had a jury-rigged strap and could never get the hang of it...but I'm 20 years older than you are and probably in not as good of shape! Maybe you could that to relieve your left ankle, but still mount from the near side.

DraftyAiresMum 07-23-2011 12:42 AM

Yes, the "Step-up Stirrup"!! You can get them on for $40! lol I looked into them because Aires is going to be TALL (going to mature around 17hh...he's 2yo and already wears a slightly bigger halter and the same size saddle as another boarder's 9yo belgian/QH cross gelding). That might work, actually. It's the second item down on this page: Draft Horse Hunting/Trail

As for trusting Jen with Aires...I trust her, Cam and my friend that was with me when the accident happened explicitly with Aires. Cam is only one of two men that Aires will actually tolerate (the other owns an arab gelding that boards there). Jen knows what direction(s) I want to go with Aires and what I want for him and from him. She knows that I want to keep his mouth as soft as it is now, that I want to do hunter, cross country, maybe some dressage and WP as well, with him (when he's ready, of course). She knows that I want him to both direct rein and neck rein (neck reining is SO much easier on trails!) and I want him comfortable with both a western saddle and an English saddle. My friend will be there any time I can't and she knows as well as I do what I want with Aires. So, I think he's in good hands. And of course, I'll be there through as much of his training as possible. :-)

Golden Horse 07-23-2011 02:07 AM

I'm sorry that you got hurt, and hope you heal and are back in the saddle in double quick time.

Just wondering, what are they doing with the mare now, she sounds very very scarey.

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