Saturday, November 26, 2011

I had to get launched sometime, right?

Thanksgiving weekend used to be a tradition for me and my horse.  I used to drive out to Castro Valley every Thanksgiving morning and ride Cre and give him a bath because the weather was always awesome.  When we moved to Roseville I also went out to see him every Thanksgiving, though he didn't always get a bath, since it's cooler up here.  Now that I have Blu I'm happy that I was able to keep at least part of my Thanksgiving tradition - I got to ride my horse on Thanksgiving weekend.

It wasn't Thanksgiving, itself.  Instead it was Friday.  But I believe it still counts!

Ken and I (and the zoo - Angus, Annie and Sydney) drove down to Millbrae on Thursday morning.  Thanksgiving Dinner at the Fancher's has been a tradition we've only missed on rare occasion.  We park the camper in Kim and Tim's driveway, hang out with their family, throw the football around (Ken, Tim and Ryan), play dress up (Kathy and Kim), and generally have a good time.  We all drive down to Ted and Shareen's and spend many an hour chatting and feasting on excellent Turkey (not to mention the deviled eggs that we pounce on as soon as they come out of the fridge) with all the fixins.  This year I also enjoyed a boat ride around the Foster City Lagoon after dinner.  (Had to work up an appetite for dessert!)

That's Angus and Annie and Bill and Christian - and all enjoying the beautiful day

Friday morning I said bye to Ken and Sydney and took Angus and Annie down to the ranch in the camper.  Sharon, Bill, Emilie and Christian all arrived shortly after I did.  We were all due for lessons.  We kept Todd hopping, that's for sure.  Emilie rode Rocky, then Bill rode Rocky.  Christian rode Easter.  Then Emilie hopped on Colonel - (a horse she was trying out) and Sharon and I got on our ponies.  Turned out Colonel needed a bit of work by Todd first - he doesn't get much arena work (Colonel - NOT Todd!).  Bill and Christian took off for home and with Colonel worked, Emilie got back on and the three girls rode together.

All was going fairly smoothly.  Emilie was walking Colonel to cool him down.  Sharon was jogging Nazz and I was working Blu.  Easter had been turned out in the big pasture next to the arena.  Each time Blu would come close to her they'd "have words" - she'd make "pissy faces" at Blu and Blu would do a little kick in her direction.  I didn't think much about it.  But then Todd asked me to pick up the lope.

We were right next to Emilie on Colonel (who's grey - Blu didn't like grey horses way back at Rancho Murieta but I didn't think anything about that until later) and Blu got his lead wrong.  Todd told me "NO" and as I was gathering him up to put him into a jog and back to the correct lead we passed up Colonel and Emilie and Blu gave a kick which popped me out of the saddle enough that I landed on the cantle (the back of the saddle).  I think that freaked Blu out enough that he started to crow hop (a stiff legged buck type thing that the saddle bronc rodeo riders ride for 8 seconds if they're successful) and then we came upon the fence.

Blu went left and I went right.

I landed on my butt (which has some padding luckily) but my spine compressed and made a sickening sound.  With Blu's hooves coming down next to me, my first thought was "get away from the hooves."  I crawled a couple feet and then stopped.  I realized that my back hurt something fierce!  I sat there for what felt like an hour but was probably 20 seconds.  What went through my head:  I figured if I was able to crawl I wasn't paralyzed (did I say that sound of my spine was sickening?) and I wiggled toes and took stock of myself and realized that I didn't think I'd broken any bones.  Todd was on his way over to me.  Emilie got off Colonel and Sharon was stopped on Nazz (when someone comes off a horse all other horse/riders in the arena freeze) watching me (she didn't see me come off - just saw me on the ground).  Everyone converged on me (Blu had run down to the gate at the other end of the arena) and we all took stock together.  I got immediate, appropriate care.  Todd helped me to my feet, kept an arm under mine as I figured out that I could walk (it's amazing how rattled you can get coming off a horse in an "unplanned dismount").  I'm not sure exactly how things went, but I do know that Todd got me Motrin and a bag of ice and helped me sit down in a chair once we knew I was basically ok - meaning I didn't need immediate medical attention.

Then Todd got on Blu.

They didn't go five feet before Blu did the exact same thing and Todd went flying through the air!  Holy crap!  The Trainer?!  I could barely move and I think we (Sharon, Emilie and I) were all in shock.  I mean it had only been a few minutes since I'd been "launched" and now Todd was on the ground!!!

He was OK, too.  His was a slightly more controlled dismount - and I say slightly only because he said he knew he had to bail and pushed off as best he could, though he landed on a knee that swelled up later.

So there I was sitting in my chair, still a bit shocked that I'd come off and I'm watching my trainer come off!

But then Todd got serious!  We'd both ridden in the bosel which Todd had said before didn't give you any control if something went wrong (now it's been proven) because the bosel would go up the nose and he'd tuck his head and that was it - it's all over.  So Todd went up to the barn and got a snaffle and martingale.  He put his baseball hat on backwards and mounted up.  I still laugh because I could hear Todd saying "Is that all you've got?!?" as Blu was loping around the arena all stiff legged and 'pissy.'  There were a couple comments like "you want to go fast - fine - let's do it!" and Todd basically worked Blu through it all, and got him loping slowly and with bent legs and finally jogging.

All I can say is I owe Todd a LOT!  He made me feel slightly less horrible because "the trainer" came off right after I did...not that he did it to make me feel better!  But really, I don't think I'm alone in thinking thank goodness it wasn't just me.  Blu did the same thing to the trainer!  And yes, I realize that sounds awful, but I guess you had to be there.  We're both smiling today.

And I also have to give big thanks to Sharon.  Since my back was 'out' and I couldn't bend or lift anything (not to mention the nasty rope burn I managed to get on my wrist that is still oozing) she took care of me.  She didn't sign up for this - remember I mentioned I'd brought Angus and Annie?  She fed the dogs, took them out on a walk and generally did all the things I shouldn't try to do.  Thanks Sharon!

As you can imagine, it ended up being a VERY early night.

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