Sunday, March 28, 2010

To Have or Have Not... a Horse

Helloooooowwwwwww! How have you been, all three of you that follow this blog? I’m finally feeling like I’m on the road to recovery. This has been a very interesting 6 weeks…

It started out by bringing two (new to us) horses home. We took them to their new home, at the stables next door, and began enjoying them. I have to admit, I loved everything about it! I loved that my horse needed me, and that she greeted me and seemed to be growing attached to me. I loved her playful nature and everything about getting to know her. I’ve talked to two kinds of horse owners over the last year, those that love everything about caring for horses and those that hate the care and just want to ride them. I found out that I enjoyed cleaning her stall every day, and looked forward to brushing her in the evening before putting her in for the night. That first week was great fun, although we began to learn a few things about our horses that weren’t revealed (maybe not even known) by the previous owner. My horse was herd bound, an insecurity that caused her to grow extremely nervous when she couldn’t see or be near her horsemate. I didn’t realize just how dangerous this would turn out to be.

We took the advise of experienced horse owners and separated them, moving one to the other end of the barn where they couldn’t see each other and stopped turning them out into the same pasture during the day. After a week of working with them on a lunge line the time came to ride. A friend and her granddaughter wanted to bring their horses over and go riding with us for the afternoon. I knew it was too soon, I knew neither she nor I were ready. But even at my age, I gave in to peer pressure and decided to go for it.

It was a gloriously beautiful springlike afternoon, they unloaded their horses and saddled up as I lunged Sierra to get out some of her excess energy. She was acting like she knew something was up and didn’t know what to think of it, but then maybe she was feeding off of my uneasyness with the situation. I saddled her up, put on her briddle and adjusted it to make sure it was a good fit and out we went to the arena. Everyone else was on their horse, I walked her over to the stairs and my friend held the reins as I got on for our wonderful afternoon of enjoying the beautiful day God had given us.

My friend said; “That was great, you got on her just like you knew what you were doing” and then she let go of the reins. The instant she let go, my horse, as though she was just waiting for that moment, raised her head up high in the air and took off toward her horsemate at a full gallop across the arena. I tried to rein her in, but her head was so high it was obvious she was in control and I wasn’t going to be able to stop her by might or by yelling; “Woah Sierra!”

I remembered the advise I’d gotten from quite a few riders, they all agreed that when you have a runaway if you pull as hard as you can on one rein and get their head turned they have to submit, they can’t run forward with their head turned to the side. So I reached out with my left hand and grabbed the rein pulling as hard as I could. As I watched her head come around I thought; “Oh S___, now she’s gonna turn!”

I don’t know how much time had passed, but the next thing I remember; I was laying on the ground in a daze and everyone was gathered around me asking; “Are you ok?” I was probably the last person to ask that of, at that particular moment. I’m told I asked the same questions over and over for the next hour.

We pulled back into our driveway at about 9pm that evening. The beautiful day that God had given us was spent in the emergency room of the hospital. After a multitude of tests I walked out with one broken shoulder and a quite impressive array of bruises, scrapes and abrasions. Considering all that could have happened I felt blessed that the only real injury was a broken shoulder.

Fortunately I haven’t missed any work. I’ve been able to situate myself at my keyboard using my body to move my hands around doing the job my shoulder used to do. I’m praying that one more week of healing and exercises will enable me able to reach my head making it possible to go outside without a hat!

I never saw my horse again, Sierra went back to her owner and we gave the other horse to the stable owner. We’re now out of the horse business. At our age it was probably, well there’s really no probably about it, we weren’t using a whole lot of wisdom to think we could take on something as huge as horses. But, on the other hand, it’s nice to know that no matter how old you get, there’s still room for some foolishness occassionally.


  1. ummm is it wrong that I really want to laugh? :)

  2. I love foolishness --- at any age. I'm sorry yours ended with a broken shoulder. OUCH! Hopefully once you are on the mend you can still enjoy some of the beauty of horses by helping your neighbor out in exchange for some saddle time.