Friday, November 4, 2011

Unceremoniously Dumped!

"Thanks Blue", because of you I've been sitting on ice packs all week!

This past Saturday I was unceremoniously dumped by Blue, the “safest” horse in the barn.  He’s just lost that distinguished title, by the way.  Since a storm was moving in, I decided to ride early and my daughter was then going to lunge Grady and Nate.  I opted to ride outside in the ring by the barn; we were soon going to be under snow so I thought it would be nice to ride outdoors.

My daughter gave Blue and myself a lovely lesson.  Walk, trot, canter all went seamlessly and felt great.  During my last canter in a two-point I came around the bottom left corner and was just about to transition to walk and end our lesson. Out of nowhere Blue spooked/jumped to the right as a black van came up the road behind him, the saddle slipped and I became unbalanced, which in turn led Blue to gallop full speed away from the offending unbalanced rider.  Needless to say, I gracefully sailed through the air like an acrobatic butterfly caught in an updraft of wind and landed like a sack of potatoes on my back.

Apparently, I gave my daughter a little bit of a scare because I was knocked unconscious.  Now this is her description of me as I lay there: “I thought you were dead; your eyes were rolled back in your head, you had blood coming out of your mouth [bit my tongue] and you were making the most god awful noises from your throat--I thought you were choking.”  Didn’t sound too good.  She then cut my sweatshirt and turtleneck, which had bunched up tight, away from my neck thinking I needed air.  She’s good in an emergency.  Personally, I don’t remember anything except waking up with a bunch of people (neighbor, ambulance people and Jacquie) standing looking down at me like I was a specimen pinned to a board.  I never even heard the ambulance pull in.  How embarrassing.  I don’t like being stared at, especially in that condition.

Anyway, they loaded me onto a backboard and secured my head.  I’d never been in an ambulance before, so this was a new experience.  You know you’re getting old when you think the two EMT’s look like they just graduated high school.  The girl kept trying to insert an IV needle into the vein on the top of my hand, but on bouncy roads this wasn’t working out.  So I asked her to stop.  The hospital was about 45 minutes away.  We have a closer one but it’s not so good so my daughter wouldn’t let them take me there.  During the ride the ambulance stopped so I asked if we were pulling into the hospital and was told no we were in a traffic jam.  So I then inquired, “Excuse me, but isn’t this ambulance with lights and sirens?”  Teenage EMT  “Uh, yeah, Joe put the lights on and let’s go.”   Even in that state I could still be impatient in traffic….

We finally made it.  When they took off my boots and half chaps the nurse remarked “that’s a lot of dirt on the sheet now.”  “Do ya think so?”  I got some x-rays.  Nothing broken, just contusions in my butt and probably a bruised tailbone.  Nice.  Hurts like hell too.  Guess it pays to have a little extra padding once in a while to save you from broken bones though.  Asked them if I needed a CAT scan for my head to make sure my brain wasn’t Swiss cheese.  Not required the doctor said; my daughter confirmed that I wasn’t acting more addled than usual.

By the time we got out of there the snowstorm had kicked in to an almost white-out condition; after a few wrong turns, a stop at the drugstore for pain medication prescriptions, and a few stops along the way to check for people in cars off the side of the road, we made it home in about two hours.  Lots of trees and wires down because the leaves couldn’t take the heaviness.  Not a fun Saturday by any means between the accident and the snow.  Good thing it was close to Halloween because my new Frankenstein shuffle fit right in.

So the moral of this story - even the safest horse in the barn can have a bad day, which in turn rewards you with a painful week.  And everybody comes off once in a while no matter how good a rider you might think you are.  Even if, like me, you’ve had a good run and haven’t hit the ground in 10-11 years.  It should also go without saying, ALWAYS, ALWAYS wear a helmet.  This is the first time in all my many years of falls that I have been knocked out; if I wasn’t wearing a helmet my brain would be scrambled eggs.  
Also, beware of scary black vans!  (Good advice for several reasons ;-)

Until next time
Quote for Today
When you're young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you're my age and you fall off, you splatter. 
    - Roy Rogers

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