I came off my horse yesterday before I was to set out on a trail ride with friends, and I hit the ground so hard it felt as if at meteorite had crashed to earth. Fortunately those few extra pounds I've been sporting this summer kept me from doing further damage than I did. But today I have severe bruising and I'm so stiff I can barely walk.
I purchased my first horse in 10+ years last summer, and for the most part "Ty" is a wonderful QH gelding, quiet and dead-broke. He is an ex show horse so his life experiences have been minimal as far as what I wanted him for - trail/pleasure riding with the occasional fun show. I've been sacking out Ty since the spring, exposing him to as many 'scary objects' as possible ie. Balloons, kites, garbage bags (these are very scary monsters) rattling cans, etc. Ty has handled all of this with style and aploomb, but there is a side of my horse that is unpredictable, and yesterday was one of those times.
I had put my hat on one of the posts in the round pen, and when I was ready to leave with my friends, I rode over to fetch my hat. As I leaned over to pick up my hat, Ty freaked and I ended up on the ground, but I was quite proud that my hat was lying beside me. And Ty was on the other side, looking down as if to say, "what the hell are you doing down there."
I haven't fallen off a horse in years, and I found that my time away from horses has given me a renewed respect for what can happen and that we don't bounce the same when we're 60 years old, even with the extra padding.
Once I realized I was still alive and I could move all my body parts, I leaped up, got right back in the saddle, and did a 2 1/2 hr. Trail ride which was most enjoyable. However, when we got back and I dismounted, I could barely walk, and I had an hrs. Drive home. By then, I couldn't even lift my leg to get into the bathtub for a soak, so I crawled into bed and called it a day.
I find today that my confidence is shaken and I am disappointed in my horse. I love Ty to bits but sometimes his emotional response to a scary situation is less than safe, as when he spooks, it's big. And I have spent so much time with my horse...building up trust and presenting him with as much adverse stimulus as possible, so that I reduce the risks of getting hurt. Having said this, I realize that this can happen to anyone, anytime, and on any horse. But my husband has been ill for the last 6 months and it may well be another 6 months before his is well again. I have been my husband's 24/7 care-giver for this time, and my horse has become my much needed therapy.
My husband is not a horse person and he is worried now that I will get hurt again and not be able to look after him, which I completely understand. I guess I'm just wondering what more I can do to help my horse through those really scary times when he doesn't think, but reacts in a very unacceptable way. He is an amazing horse and I want to help him through this.
Sorry for the novella, and thanks for listening.