Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

I rode Lakota for a short while yesterday, and we had a les than stellar day. She was a little resistant, and I wasn't sure if it was her mood, or I was being conflicting.

So when I had the chance to take her out again today, I was excited. The kids are off school this week, so I don't have to meet any school buses, and have the luxury of time after work.

First, my daughter wanted to ride Jen a little bit. That went quite well. Jen was mostly happy to be tacked up, although she is still a bit tense at the saddling/girthing process. We just go slow, and give her lots of pets and reassurance through it.

We tried moving away from the crutch of myself walking along beside them for reassurances. At first Jen was resistant and didn't want to move forward for my daughter. Then she realized that I was out of the picture, and she was pretty good, although extremely herdbound. Even though she was riding in the paddock, Jen kept wanting to head back to the barn. So after about 3 or 4 discussions between the two of them, with my daughter getting her to walk a few steps away from the barn, she ended the session on a good note, with Jen taking 4 steps away from where she wanted to turn back to the barn, and she dismounted and untacked facing away from the barn. Jen is improving with every ride, so I'm sure we'll be able to help her along with her barn sourness, although I suspect it will a lot of time and patience.

Last night I was thinking that perhaps the tiny bit of attitude Lakota had yesterday may be boredom. I always struggle with the line between boring them, and overfacing them, considering I have no experiencing training a horse. So today I decided I was going to do some cone-weaving. I brought Lakota out, and she was good as gold. We did the cones from the ground first, then I circled her w/t a few times in both directions and she was soft, willing, and quiet the entire time. I mounted up without incident, and we did about 1/2 dozen weaves through the cones. Her gait felt a little funny to me. My daughter thought she was hesitating, asking questions between steps, and I wasn't sure if she was trying to do that odd gait she has that I don't know what it is. I still had the camera in my pocket, so I rode over to where my daughter was sitting, we halted nicely, and I asked her to come get the camera and video tape it so I could see what it looked like.

As my daughter reached up for the camera, she touched Lakota and Lakota got a zap of static electricity. I didn't know that's what it was at the time, but all of a sudden as I'm leaning down to hand the camera over to my daughter, I feel Lakota coil up under me, and up she goes then spins in the other direction. My daughter said I stayed on for quite some time, but I did eventually fall off. I landed ass/back/head in that order, I think, judging from the amount of dirt shoved in my underwear. I remember hitting the ground hard on my upper back between the shoulder blades, and looking up to see my foot wrapped up in the reins, which were over her head and she was standing there looking at me, horrifed, and slowly backing away from me. I looped my foot out of the reins, and she started to move off. I asked my daughter to go get her, and that is when she bolted, snorting, and headed up to the barn.

I told my daughter to just leave her be, and I laid there, assessing damages before slowly hauling myself upright. Wow, was I hurting! I've fallen off before, but never this hard. This was no slo-mo fall, first she was under me, then she wasn't, like cartoon, and I just landed with a heavy, old thud.

I hobbled back up to the barn to make sure Lakota didn't get her leg caught in her reins with my daughter following me apologizing profusely. Lakota did not want my daughter anywhere near her, and kept snorting at her and shying away. My head was quickly starting to ache, not to mention my ass (sacrum for you scientific folks), and my mid-back (thoracic) felt like it was in a vise. I had my cell on me, and called work immediately. My new job (for the last 4 months) is working for my chiropractor whom I've been seeing for the past 9 years. I made arrangements to head to Lou's house (because it was now after business hours) and get things put back where they belong immediately. But first I had a horse to attend to.

Lakota seemed otherwise calm unless my daughter came near her. So I had her sit aside, and I brought Lakota back down to the riding area. I walked her around a little to make sure she wasn't spooky or nervous. She did want to sniff and snort at the HUGE divots her hooves made in the dirt with her massive piourrette, or whatever the hell she wants to call that maneuver. I shuffled on over to the mounting block, and managed to haul myself up there. Let me tell you, it was NOT easy, thank goodness more physically than mentally.

I got on her, and we literally did I think 3 circles of the roundpen, and then I hopped (or more likely, slithered) off her, and brought her back to the barn. I just wanted to end on a good note, for both of us but mostly for her. She was still definately very afraid of my daughter, so after getting her inside and untacked, I handed my daughter a handful of treats. The first one she snatched from her hand and leapt back so fast as if she would get bitten. But when she didn't, she then took 2 more treats nicely. I gave her a scritch, and hobbled my butt down to the house to change my clothes (I had somehow managed to pee my pants when I landed on the ground, that's how hard I hit the ground), and needed to get cleaned up before I headed anywhere! Let me tell you, that was NOT easy, I was that stiff and in that much pain already that changing my clothes was extremely difficult and painful, but I managed the 20 minute drive, got adjusted, and felt immiedately better. Certainly not good, but definately better. My daughter helped me feed tonight, I can't shovel manure, stuffing feed bags is difficult, but the worst is sneezing! And of course I have a sniffly cold thing.

My daughter managed to snap this only photo. This is when I got back on after the horrendous crash for our couple of circles. You can probably see the dirt all up and down my left leg, on my butt, on my back, and also on the back of my helmet. I'm grateful that I always wear a helmet! There was a goodly amount of dirt ground into the back of it.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sorry to hear you fell off, that stinks. But at least you weren't seriously hurt even though it is painful. Hope things get better in a few days.

windingwinds said...

Ouch, the day after is always worse.. glad you got back on, sometimes its hard to end on a positive note. :-) Dian

Anonymous said...

Michelle, that sucks. It is a good thing you were able to get back on. When I got thrown, I hurt my knee so badly that I couldn't haul my fat butt back up into the saddle even though I tried. My advice for you is to NOT replay it in your mind or even think about it, if you can. Focus on good stuff, and move on and away from it. Get on again as soon as your body lets you.

Michelle said...

I couldn't replay it in my mind if I wanted to! I happened so fast all I remember is reaching down toward my daughter with the camera, and then laying on my back, lol!

Although I'm pleased to say that I am feeling about 80% better already. I got a chiropractic adjustment within an hour of landing on the ground, then I took some Arnica and used an Arnica lotion w/MSM and Celadrin. I had another adjustment (and x-rays) today, and a massage and Reiki, and I feel SO much better. I'm still sore, but at least I can walk at better than a shuffle now :-)

Funder said...

Oh my goodness, I just read this! I'm so sorry to hear about it, and I'm so glad you took care of yourself so quickly and you're recovering already.

I know exactly what you mean about how the horse just teleports out from underneath you. There's one fall I took from my old mare, Silky, where she was underneath me one second and the next she was two feet to my right. I clearly remember a Wile E Coyote feeling of hanging in midair before WHAM I hit the ground. :(

You handled it all just textbook perfectly though. You should be very proud!

PS I have been wearing my helmet all the time lately. Stupid helmet, grumble grumble.

Lisa said...

wow Michelle, how frightening for you and your daughter and I can tell Lakota thought so too. You did so well to control the situation, calm yourself, daughter and horse down while getting back on to end on a good note. I think you do a mighty fine job of horse training if I do say so myself. I'm glad your feeling better.

billie said...

Oh, no - I'm sorry you took a hard fall, but it sure sounds like you did many, many good things afterward to ensure the next ride will go smoothly.

And all the great body work you got so quickly - very smart, imo. I hope the lingering ouchies leave quickly.

LJB said...

I highly recommend 1) homeopathic arnica after a fall, and 2) replacing your helmet. Even if it didn't crack, the protective qualities of the inner helmet materials are no longer there if you 'used' the helmet to break your fall at all. Glad you are healing quickly. I have vivid memories of coming off over the shoulder when my mare --years ago -- dropped her shoulder and scooted in fright from something. After a while I got so I could ride that, and in fact she's pretty darned predictable about what she does and in which direction, too.

Michelle said...

Thanks, Lasell. I did use plenty of Arnica, was adjusted, and I'm feeling 100% now. But then it got to 90 degrees, and now its raining, so I still haven't gotten back on :-( I do have a new helmet, I had actualy ordered one before this fall because while I love the looks of this one, it is HOT. And I also wanted the new Tipperary style that wraps down around the back of your head and is more low profile. So that's what I have now. I'll just hang on to this one for a spare.