It's funny, is it not, how life can change in the blink of an eye? One minute you're riding along, happy and carefree, and the next you're slammed into the ground, wondering just what the damage is and if you'll be able to move without the aid of others.
Let me just say, right now, that yes, I visited club dirt, and yes, I'm able to move. But for awhile there, I wasn't so sure.
Darling had been at a reining show over the weekend. Saturday's show was full of low scores, and while Darling was disappointed, as the day wore on and more people had similar scores to hers, she began to feel a bit better about her first time out. On Sunday, her ride was wonderful, with Doxee making her simple changes and not breaking gait, giving Darling a score of 68.5, enough to secure a tie for third place.
A happy Darling and a goofy Doxee
The sun was shining and it was such a warm, beautiful afternoon, that rather than haul Doxee home to the Cowboy's, we decided to haul her to our home instead. Darling thought it would be nice to take a couple days off from the arena and just hang out with her horse. We decided that once it got cooler, maybe we'd take the two of horses out for a short ride together.
It was early enough in the day that I decided to saddle up Oz for a couple of relaxing loops around the path behind the house. He was so good the other day, and I wanted to know if he would be again. He was. Just drop the reins and go. I was loving that he took care of where his feet were placed, not rushing, just methodically taking his time. I made two loops and then spotted Darling watching us. "Want to ride him?" I asked her. Yes, of course she did! So she, too, took the big red gelding for a little spin.
When she climbed off, her comment was, "He's going to be a nice horse, Mom." Neither Darling or I are in love with Oz. He's been so tight and tense that we've not felt comfortable. But this is the new side of him, and it's been nice to see.
After dinner, Darling and I went out and saddled up both Oz and Doxee. I was on first and spent the extra few minutes walking around the driveway. When Darling was ready, we walked down the trail that went past the creek, then turned toward the path behind the house.
Doxee was jittery. Darling was laughing. I was recommending she not get too close to the business end of Oz, because he wasn't happy about what was going on back there and we already knew he would kick if he felt anxious. Darling asked to go around us, so I had Oz sidestep out of the way and they went on around.
I could feel the change in Oz. Not a big change, but enough. He didn't like the excitement. He was used to traveling with steadfast Sandy, not this jittery little mare. I asked him to move on down the fenceline, past Doxee and Darling (as they were working out their differences about stepping over a log) and towards the side of the house.
The old dog kennel sits up there, full of straw because our son had used it for raising turkeys last year. Oz's step changed. There was a stiffness to it. Trees were now between us and Doxee, so he couldn't see her, but he knew she was there. My mind took into account the change in pace, but I wanted him to stay relaxed and not give him a reason to think he needed to be worried. I stayed loose, lowered my hand and asked him to continue as we'd been.
And then there was that half step, and the holding of the breath. And it was all over. The explosion that I'd been waiting for in the round pen and arena finally came out there under the canopy of trees. Big monster bucks and lurches across the ground. I felt myself being thrown up and down, told myself to grab hold of his head, thought I'd done it at one point, but then down it went again. Keep your spurs out of his sides, I told myself. I could see my feet...nowhere near his sides. Then I saw his feet as went falling toward the ground, and I remember thinking that he was going to step on me. But he didn't.
He was gone then. Pain was searing through my right side, the shoulder especially. I called to Darling to get help. I tried to push myself upright, but didn't get too far. I wiggled fingers. I looked at my boot and wiggled toes that were down inside the leather. A sigh of relief. But the right side hurt, and there was something wrong with the shoulder. City Boy was there, kneeling down. My head was resting on his leg. I couldn't rise up any further. Something told me my muscles in the back were protecting an injury, not allowing me to move from the semi upright fetal position. All I could think was what if I'd had some trauma to my head?
I couldn't get up, so an ambulance was called. In truth, I was afraid to get up just as much as I was unable. I wanted professionals on hand. They checked my vitals and asked all the questions that they ask, and it was determined I was not in shock. I was placed on the gurney and off I went, sirens and lights and all. City Boy followed.