Monthly Archives: September 2011

Second day of the show – and my trip to the ER!

I started this show update weeks ago and have just been too busy – and too hurt (more about that later) to finish. Hopefully my decorating mania will wind down in the next month or two and I can get back to riding and journaling more! On that vein, my contractor is coming tomorrow to finish our guest bath! Hoping it will be finished within the next two weeks. AND, next week I am taking a short vacation to go to the Arabian/half Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in Kentucky. This year I am going as a tourist – with an eye to scoping out the facility and the competition so that Faxx and I  will be better prepared to go next year as COMPETITORS. Mike gets stuck home doing horse and cat babysitting duties.

 Faeryn did very well at the Labor Day show – despite not being ridden much in August. Two firsts, two seconds, scores mostly around 65% and got her qualifying scores for championshps. It turned cooler (thank goodness!) and was SUPER windy and on Sunday the wind blew over two huge Waste management plastic dumpsters – just as we were heading into the rodeo-type covered coliseum type arena to start our last test. She panicked – flew sideways, scrambling UP the 8-10 foot STEEP embankment where the warmup area was and I was positive she was going to fall with me as she was just staggering sideways at one point. I kept trying to figure out how to bail, but she was leaning so far one direction I could not even figure out how to bail except in the direction I was afraid she was going to fall.  She was truly terrified – but she did finally listen to me and I got her stopped before she ran into someone in the warmup! I had no idea what set her off until the gatekeeper told me about the trash cans. We would have been late for our ride time, but gatekeeper radioed to scribe, etc. about the incident. Gatekeeper had to LEAD us down the ASPHALT road to the arena at that point, because Faeryn had had ENOUGH, but bless her, even tho her heart was still beating wildly, she went in and was a good girl, did her job and got a 64.8! Even once we got IN the totally enclosed arena, the wind was so bad in there I could see scraps of paper swirling around on the ground and hear all manner of banging and thumping. Friends who were sitting in the arena watching (who had NO idea of the drama that had transpired just prior to the test) told me afterwards that they were SO impressed at how obedient and calm she was! LOL! She would have scored higher, but she broke in the last bit of canter work and the cranky judge gave her a 3 for that movement – even tho she’d completed the canter serpentine (first 3) very well, and had already even gotten to H or whatever that letter was. So the movement was essentially OVER. Her adrenaline was pumping hard when we started, and I think she just kind of ‘crashed’ when that wore off! Who could blame her?

The other big news – big, but not good – is that I ended up at the ER about two weeks ago. I had finished riding Faxx out in the field and was just noodling around when suddenly Faeryn got a wild hair and just took off at a dead run and came barreling toward me and Faxx – which sent Faxx flying sideways and then he started bucking. I am 0 for 2 on sticking Faxx’s very infrequent bucking episodes! He is so strong that even when he j ust puts his head down to cough, he pulls me out of the saddle. I tried for several leaps to get his head UP and get him stopped without success. Next time I need to remember to just send him FORWARD since they can’t buck as easily if they’re going forward. He really was not being naughty – Faeryn just got him totally wound up.

 I landed flat on my back and had the wind knocked out of me so badly for a minute I really thought I was going to die simply because I could not manage to take a breath!

I finally COULD breath but was hurting really badly. I laid on the ground moaning and assessing the ‘damage’ and while I was doing that, Fling chased Faxx and Faeryn away from me and was nuzzling my hair and making worried nickering sounds! I think at that point I would have rather her KICK Faxx AND Faeryn instead. I was able to get up and walk to the house but I could still barely breathe because EVERY muscle in my back was in total spasm. I could feel that I had pulled just about every muscle in my entire uppper torso. Faxx was left in the field – I went in and Mike could HEAR me coming before I got to the back door. He had to take my boots off me and I sent him out to catch Faxx and untack him. Of course I later discovered he’d totally destroyed his $300 bridle in the process – breaking the reins and shredding both cheek pieces. Alvin has a small ER – they cannot handle really critical things, but I knew that I was not mortally wounded, but also knew that I had to get a muscle relaxer because breathing was very, very difficult and I also knew I needed x-rays to determine if I had broken anything. I prayed there would not be a long wait – getting in  and out of the car was excrutiatingly painful. I walked into the ER under  my own steam, but they immediately put me in a wheelchair, although truthfully the least painful position (and easiest to breathe) was standing.

The Dr. was very impressed I made it all the way from the field to the house under my own steam. To give me a pain shot and muscle relaxer they had to give it in my hip and I was not sure I could get my FITS breeches pulled down that much because a) moving at all was very painful and b) they are pull-ons and have a wide, tight waist band. She offered to cut them off and I said “NO! They cost $200!!.”  Unfortunately Mike was there to hear that. 😉  That gave me sufficient motivation to scrunch them down enough for the shots. 😉  They let me sit a few minutes for those to kick in before carting me to x-ray.

 I think the dr.  could tell i was coherent enough that I had no head trauma – tho I did hit the back of my head on the ground and had a bruise and a bump – and the foam portion of the back of my helmetis FLATTENED. (And I have discarded that helmet and ordered a new one. It’s worth spending another $30 on a helmet to make sure it works when you really need it!)  Who knows what it would have been with no helmet. I can tell you I will NEVER get on a horse without a helmet. that has been my policy for a number of years now and it may have saved my college education this time!

The muscle relaxer kicked in quickly and once breathing became easier I was a much happier camper. They sent me to x-ray and I had to scooch from one table to another and that was unbelieveably painful.

After x-rays the dr. came in and dramatically said “well, you’ve broken your back.” What a thing to say! I was not alarmed because I KNEW I could walk upright and it couldn’t be THAT bad. I had a fracture of my L4 vertebrae along with a small bone chip. She told me it was going to be ‘very painful.”

Frankly, all the muscles around my entire torso hurt much worse than my fractured vertebrae for the first 48 hours. The pain meds completely knocked me out an I spent the entire weekend pretty much in bed. Shifting position at ALL was super painful – as in, I could not do it without making very pitiful noises, which annoyed the cats. 😉 

By Monday I felt better muscularly, and Tuesday I saw an orthopedic guy for a second opinion just because the ER dr.suggested it. He looked at the x-rays from the ER and scoffed when I told her the ER doc had dramatically announced I had a ‘broken back.” We ‘negotiated’ a two-week period of no riding – but truthfully it was mainly because he said I would not ‘feel’ like riding for two weeks. I had my first ride at 9 days and riding itself does not hurt at ALL. What is slowing down my healing I think is more the standing on my feet for hours at a time right now doing stuff around the house like painting the guest bathroom and framing pictures, etc. etc. since the entire house is a wreck during my redecorating and remodeling.

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Faeryn is qualified for Regionals!

Maybe the headline SHOULD have been “It’s under 100!”  That is certainly more noteworthy news!! It was actually pleasant in Conroe today, where Faeryn and I are showing in the HDS Labor Day show. I really completely forgot what pleasant weather was all about!! Even in the outdoor warmup, in the sun, it was not bad at all. The competition arena was a ‘coliseum’ type affair, completelty enclosed and dark and the horses could not see any other horses from in there. Faeryn handled it much better than Faxx would have, and when I was schooling here in there on Friday, she did not even have a problem with it when the other lone horse left and she was by herself.

She actually won her first class with a 65 this morning – First level test 1.  In our second class – the qualifying class for the championships in NOvember, I had a senior moment and went off course. I’ve only ridden this test about ten times this year! Oh well. I was really sweating it, worrying that we would not get the 62 we need for our second and final qualifying score for the championships. I was shocked and happy when someone told me we had a 65.8 for second place! Without the -2 deduction for the error of course, it would have beeen a 67. The best part was the comment from the judge: “Wonderful partnership.” Glad someone else can see what I feel!

There is plenty of room for improvement. She is swtill getting 6s on her canter and trot lengthenings. She needs better fitness (the weather in August did not help that) and she needs to be stronger. You might think those are one and the same, but they are not. The strength comes in her ability to carry herself better and to use her hind end more – which will result in her being more uphill and hopefully have more activity and engagement behind. The fitness comes into play in the last third of the test when she really runs out of gas. I have been wanting to take her to the beach for a long time now, to walk and trot through the shallows. that will help in BOTH fitness and strength. Maybe next weekend!

Tomorrow I have two more rides, but the pressure is off and this will be strictly for practice – and hopefully THIS TIME I will not go off course!