Ass Meets Ground

Monday evening. I’d been dying to get on my young horse, Lux. And I mean DYING! She oozes potential and I’m so excited to get started training her! All her ground work was done, she was ready to go. The next step was to simply step on.

I asked my husband (the non-horse guy) to help by holding her lead shank while I got on. We went through all the basics: she might jump around a bit, just move with her and put gentle but firm pressure on her lead rope, don’t yank, speak softly and soothingly. She’d been an angel thus far in her training, and I really didn’t expect any antics.

Maybe I let my guard down. Maybe I trusted her too much. Maybe it’s just been 13 years since I started a horse. Whatever it was, I got my left foot in the stirrup, stood up and she lost it.

Rule #1: Don’t let a green (untrained) horse know they can get rid of you by bucking. If they know it’s possible to unload you, they have some key knowledge to use in the future. I was still only half on, but held on for a couple hops before I couldn’t anymore. I hit the ground HARD with my left hip and lower back. My husband, bless his heart, was still talking soothingly to her and trying to settle her down. Then he realized I was lying on the ground and his calmness vanished. “ARE YOU OKAY???!!!!”

I was, I just needed a minute. I had fallen hard. I’d thought a grassy area would be good for this experiment, but I fell right where the snow plow had scraped some gravel onto the grass last winter. My back and left elbow were scraped up and my left hip was already starting to give me grief.

Rule #2: GET BACK ON. If a horse somehow learns that they can get rid of you, they need to know that’s not what we want, and it isn’t something to do on a regular basis. I limped over to Lux and we had a conversation about this very topic. Of course I know she didn’t know what I was saying, but she knew my tone of voice. It said I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t going to hurt her, and she could trust me. Then I put my foot in the stirrup and stood up again. She didn’t move. I stepped down and patted her. Then I got right on. She moved over a step when she suddenly saw my right foot appear in her other eye, but then stood perfectly. I patted her, got off, and put her away. My objective for the evening had been to simply get on, and I’d accomplished that.

As I limped back to the house and got the kids ready for bed, one thought kept running through my head. I have a half marathon in six days! I don’t have time to be this hurt! Calm down, it’ll be better tomorrow. You’ve been riding for 25 years, you’ve been thrown before, it’s always fine.

But it’s not. Today is Wednesday. It took me half an hour to get out of bed this morning. Getting in and out of my vehicle is excruciating. My hip has a sharp, shooting, burning pain when I move just wrong. I can barely walk. I definitely can’t run.

I saw my chiropractor this morning. He frowned a lot and told me to see him again in a week. If its not better by then he wants me to have x-rays to rule out a lumbar vertebra fracture. I mentioned that I was registered for the River Run Classic half marathon on Sunday… He frowned again and said it would be “highly unlikely” that I’d be able to run.

I’m upset. The River Run was my first 5K when I started running in 2010. It’s a fun event, but it attracts more serious runners, so you get a chance to run with some great athletes. I still cling to hope that this will improve and I’ll be able to make it. I know the chance of it is slim, but I’ve never committed to anything before and then not followed through. 😦

Right now I’m sitting in a walk-in clinic waiting to see a doctor and get x-rayed. My family insisted I go get checked properly, and I finally gave in. My Mom fell off a ladder when I was 13 and compressed two lumbar vertebrae. She was in a back brace and on bed rest for several months, but made a full recovery. Because of this, we’re all a bit more worried about back injuries, so here I am. I really don’t think anything is broken, I feel like I’d know somehow. I’ve never broken a bone before, so maybe it’s silly of me to think that. I’ve got another hour or so to sit and wait and wonder I guess!

Gotta run. Ah, shit!


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