It takes gumption to get back in the saddle again… Whether from a real estate transaction gone south, OR when your horse bucks you off. I have experienced both episodes, and a few others I won’t mention.
On February 8, 2021, I was less than 18 hours away from jumping on a plane and heading to Southern California for a two-week vacation with my adult kids and grand-kiddos. I was packed, checked in, and ready to take off. That afternoon I was feeling a bit guilty that I hadn’t ridden Palmer, my chocolate dapple bay gelding, in over a week, so I threw the bridle on and jumped on his back, sans saddle. (I had done this at least two dozen times since purchasing him in 2019. I love riding bareback!)
After a leisurely walk and trot through our orchards I decided to take a look at the lower pineapple patch. I was pretty sure there was a ripe pineapple down there and I wanted to give it to hubby, Pat, to enjoy while I was gone. After inspecting it and deciding it needed to stay put a bit longer, I rode back up the slight incline almost to the barn area. Suddenly, Palmer bucked three times and I found myself on my left side on the ground…in a heap, a heap of pain! Laying there, I tried to ascertain if I had any protruding bones. Thankfully, nothing seemed to be out of place so I slowly pushed myself up. The wind had definitely been knocked out of my sails, and I was in a bit of shock over the whole incident. In my 55 years of equestrian lifestyle, I had only had one real accident. (We won’t go there…) So, how and why did this happen, and without obvious cause?
Palmer was standing near his corral, acting like he hadn’t a clue as to the issue, my issue. I carefully removed his bridle and put him away. The pain suddenly overtook me so I had to lie down in the moist grass till until I felt I could get to the house. When I finally made it inside, I called for Pat. No answer.
I called his name again. No answer. Pat found me about 5 minutes later sitting on the couch. (He had started wondering where I was and went to the front of our property to check out the riding arena.) What a muddy mess I was! Thankfully, Palmer had dumped me in a grassy, wet area of the property. If it had been on our gravel driveway I most likely would have broken my shoulder or arm.
Pat checked me out, as all EMT/fire captains would do, and determined that nothing was broken or dislocated. (It sure didn’t feel that way!) He helped me get cleaned up, gave me some meds, and I crawled into bed. That night was a combination of searing pain and sleeplessness. By the morning I knew I absolutely could NOT fly to California, so I postponed the trip for 2 days. After all, I am a trojan horse…I had NO intention of missing this trip! The pain was so bad I kept asking Pat if I really did dislocate my arm. He insisted I hadn’t.
On Friday, I boarded then un-boarded my plane, finding myself back in San Diego. I had decided to check all my luggage. I couldn’t possibly drag anything with my left arm. My daughter, Ashley, met me curbside. Poor thing had to cancel a little overnighter she and my son-in-law, Greg, had planned because I had already announced that I could not pick up my 2-year old granddaughter, Lyndie. And, I was sure I couldn’t change her diaper either. What a bummer!
By Monday, Ashley convinced me to go to the hospital to have an x ray. I don’t like hospitals!!! But, after waiting about 4 hours to be seen and have the actual x ray, the doctor announced that I had fractured my humorous bone up near my shoulder. I didn’t NOT find that humorous at all! Stronger meds were prescribed and I exited the hospital with my left arm in a sling. Well, now we knew the whole story.
Let’s get back to the need to get back in the saddle, literally, in this instance. For the next 2 months, I fought the fear…fear of actually getting back on Palmer. I had never felt that way before, and I really had no intention of hanging up my boots for good. So, I relived the experience, over and over again, to try to understand why this accident occurred, and how I could do my best to keep it from happening again. Horses are huge animals, with minds of their own, easily frightened, and in my case, have lots of energy. The first thing I did was order a synthetic western saddle, giving up the idea that switching from western to english was a good idea for me. Then, I realized I hadn’t let Palmer run off his excess energy in our make-shift riding arena prior to hopping on his back. That, coupled with riding him late in the afternoon, equated to disaster.
I GOT BACK ON THE HORSE!
I kept my eye out for the perfect time to saddle Palmer up and ride our property. Two and a half months had passed and I was tired of just watching him eat the fabulous grasses of the Hamakua Coast. Plus, my shoulder had healed to the point of being released from PT. I knew the time had come. Hubby was a bit concerned so he stood under an avocado tree and filmed the “Maiden Voyage” as I like to refer to it.
Palmer was a gem, just like he usually is, and we had a glorious time. Boy, getting past that first ride took a lot out of me. I had to face my fears and just do it. (Isn’t that Niki’s tag line?) But, I can safely say that it was worth it. I can now follow my new protocols and enjoy my horse as he was intended to be enjoyed. Riding gives me a peace that I need in this very busy business of real estate. And, I come up with great ideas for my clients. I also love to pick fruit and just take in the beauty that surrounds me. I am truly blessed!