+ TVhorsetalk: Confidence Found - Confidence Lost

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Confidence Found - Confidence Lost

Wow!  Getting my balance back is taking longer than I thought it would.  I’ve always had pretty good balance and thought of myself as “reasonably” physically fit.  Pretty soon I began cantering Max for short distances at home and was excited to show my instructor what I could do.  I couldn't canter for long without feeling too off balance, but hey, it was a start. 
It was November, 2010, and a little chilly at my next lesson.  I had on a gray sweat jacket with pockets in the front.  Usually I put my keys in the barn when I get my helmet.  That day I had just shoved them into the front pocket of my sweat jacket. 
            I rode a different horse than I usually rode during my lessons, and my instructor was telling me the cues to bring him up to a canter as I trotted around the arena.  I cued the horse with my outside leg.  He kicked out and bolted!  It took me (and everyone else) by surprise, and I lost my grip on the reins.  (My instructor had taught me about the one-rein stop at my first lesson and I practiced it often, at lessons and at home.)  But I had lost my hold on the reins and I was leaning way far back on the horse.  I had been caught totally off-guard.  Lesson learned.  Don’t get caught totally off guard...or even a little bit off guard.
He stopped for just a split second at the end of the arena and I tried to get a hold up close on one rein so I could pull him to a stop.  Since the reins had slipped out of my hands right from the first jolt, I couldn’t get far enough down on the rein to bring his head around. 
He took off again.  I almost had him at the next turn.  But he took off. 
I was leaning way back, having been thrown off balance from the beginning.  There was a square, low platform in the middle of the arena and we were heading right for it.  I could see us either jumping it or us having a big wreck right in the middle of it if he stepped on it. 
Did I mention he does hunter/jumper shows?  He jumped.  I sailed off.  While airborne, I was actually thinking how I could land in order to be hurt the least and spend the least time in the hospital.  (I was wearing a helmet, by the way.)  I landed on my left glute.  Kind of on that left side of my back, too.  The breath was knocked out of me.  And I hurt.  I laid there for a minute to get my breath and make sure nothing was broken.  Then, I made my way up off the ground, with much assistance, and got back on the horse and my instructor led him around a little. 
I limped to my car and drove home.  By the time I got home my body was stiff and my husband had to literally pull me out of the car.  I could barely move and I was in PAIN!  Whirlpool baths in Epsom salts and left-over pain medication from a previous, now forgotten pain-filled experience were my body-savers for the next five days.  I couldn’t even get out of bed the next day…  Or the next…
You know, it was just one of those things-nobody’s fault. 
Upon recovery, oddly enough, I was still okay about riding Max.  I wasn’t afraid, just a lot more cautious.  I just didn’t want to get on that other horse again! 
Okay, here’s what I think ACTUALLY happened to cause the incident.  I remember hearing my keys jingle as I trotted around the arena anticipating the canter.  Just when I cued the horse with my leg, I think my keys bounced out of my pocket and somehow, in the way that things can just all come together in a weird way in the universe, the keys lodged between the horse’s ribcage and my now squeezing leg.  The keys jabbed him in the ribs and he, super surprised by the stab, bolted. 
I told everybody they’d find my keys at the point where I had cued the horse.  Yep - there they were.  I made sure I put my keys in the barn after that! 
I finished out my lessons early in December… 

Have a good ride,

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