Monday, March 10, 2014

November 3, 2014 - Morning ride at Eisenhower State Park in Kansas...great start to the day...and how it turned not so great...

We got out there was very cold and windy, but oh soooo pretty!  We were excited to get a few miles under our belt before meeting the rest of the group this afternoon.  It all started pretty good, but you know how it is sometimes.  All good plans...

Tripp is ready to head out again...he is such a great boy!

Wyoming is patiently waiting but feeling the wind and crisp air...he really has done so well and I fall more in love with him every day!  He is fun!

April was riding Zip today.  He is a fun little mustang that belongs to her husband...except on the days Zip belongs to her.  Hee hee!  We all love Zip!

Wyoming is wearing the leather side-pull again.  Look at that blue sky!

Beth is getting her camera put on....

...and is ready to go!  Woo hoo!  (We are both wearing our orange today)

Wyoming is learning all about photo bombing...

We had fun trying to get pictures at the sign to the entrance of the park.  April and Zip have done this before, but Wy was not so sure about that big brown thing with white markings.

Wyoming was more nervous today than the day before.  I think because of the cold and wind both.  He did not want to get away from his buddies...even for a picture.  I did manage to get one of April on Zip, and Beth on Tripp.

I got Wyoming close to it, but he was not taking his eye off it for a second.  :-)

We had a lot of good laughs this morning...I was loving it!

Riding along the fence row was an adventure at times.  There are metal signs on the outside of the fence that you see from the road.  They are only attached at the top, so the wind blowing them clinked and clanged a lot.  April and I laughed because Zip and Wyoming would react the same way to them.  They would do a little spook, but mostly in place.

April and I chatting while riding...

We had a creek crossing which added a flare of fun to it.  April and Zip were enjoying it.

Of course I got a couple self portraits along the way.....

As you can see, the morning started out great!  It was beautiful, the horses were doing good although Wyoming had a couple moments of separation anxiety that we worked through, and I was having fun!  I usually ride alone, so this was a good lesson for Wy and I both.  

Remember the old saying about all good plans?  It is amazing how quickly it can turn on ya...sometimes a good day and fun can make us forget about safety.  Oops!

I have been trying to figure out how to tell this part.  I can do a short version, but it doesn't turn into a short version because there are too many factors that played a role in what happened. 

Some of the obvious lessons of Group Riding 101 were ignored.  This is my short list (I know many more can be added to it by others who have gone through something like this).

1. When riding with a group.  If you want to do something different like ride ahead, take a moment, whatever, let everyone know.  Especially with a green horse or horses and/or rider/s in the group.     
2. If someone rides away from the group and your horse is not happy, call them back.  Period!  Don't get caught up in the "I should not have to call them back" thought process.  Just do it!  
3. Ride the horse you have at that moment, not the one you had earlier.  Don't get caught up in the "I got him under control earlier, I can do it again" thought process.  Ride the horse you have NOW!
4. If you have that fleeting thought of getting off - GET OFF!  You can always get on, and if you can't get back on your horse, maybe the walk will do you good until you can find a place to get back on.

Those are all the ones that came to me immediately.  Like I said, there are more to add to it.  Everything that happened was due to human error.  Wyoming was the innocent victim in all this and I feel like I failed him.  He seems okay and I have been doing a few things that are within my ability right now to get a feel for how he is mentally.  I really think he is good....we will know when I can get on him again.

So what happened?

The last part is going in a big white box....don't know why so I am leaving it.

(Here is what I shared with some I just copied and pasted it here instead of typing it all out again.  I find I have to make a few adjustments...I was typing single handed at the time and my mind still was not working in complete sentences.  They were nice and didn't say anything...)

The ride part was great in spite of the crazy wind and metal signs on fences making lots of noise.  Everyone knew Wyoming could have separation anxiety and he had been doing pretty good. Tripp and Beth got ahead of Wy once already but not far and we worked thru it. April and Zip were with us and I thought that helped.  I will say that this day Wyoming was much more worried about being left - even in plain sight - than he was the day before.  

As we were riding along I told the girls about something I read; it is only a bolt or a run-a-way if we try to stop. If it happens try to ride it out. (This really is relevant to the story...hee hee!)  (This is also if you don't feel the one rein stop will work for you)

We got to a spot where the trail splits off and Beth and Tripp headed down the trail.  Wy started getting nervous and I should have gotten down, but instead I insisted on getting his attention first. April & Zip were behind me and I let her know what I was doing. I was also watching Tripp and they were not slowing down; Tripp made the corner and was out of sight. I had hoped that Wy would be okay with Zip close by.  Oops! Wrong!  I had been flexing him, turning in circles, trying to disengage hindquarters, tried moving his feet (as much as my brain would do it...I was nervous about the uneven footing), tried facing April and Zip so he could see another horse close by (they were right behind us)...anything I could think of to get his mind back with me.  I knew I screwed up and we were in trouble...when Beth and Tripp made that corner and got out of sight I felt the change in Wy and knew I had lost what ever little part of his mind that I had.  I was afraid to try to hold him back any more.  I hollered at April, who was behind me, and let her know I was going to let him go and just hold on.  Wy took off after Tripp. At this point I was still good.  Kept telling myself to just ride. I was also hollering at Beth to let her know we were coming. I did not want to freak them out as I came around the bend.  We went around the bend and I was good until Wy did not slow down...he was aiming right for Beth and Tripp.  That was my first moment of panic. I lightly asked him to move sideways, which he did, then we were aimed at the thorn tree.  ACK! That is my second moment of panic.  There was a branch that I was not sure I would miss if I leaned forward in the saddle. I gripped the horn with my left hand and pommel with right as I ducked my head and shoulders sideways to the right. (I know I was not hanging off the side like the Indians used to do, but it felt like it...ha ha!)  We made it thru the branch and I thought "Yes!  Made it through the darn thorn tree!"  That is when I peeked up to see what was next and I saw Wy's nose tip to the left.  I thought "Oh crap!  I am going down!  This is going to hurt!" Wy went to the left, and I screamed like a girl and went down.    

When I went down I landed hard.  It seemed like there was a pause when all of a sudden the momentum threw my head down and it hit the ground on the right side.  It knocked me loopy!  I was soooooo glad I had my helmet on. I consciously thought  "Crap! Now I have to replace my helmet too!"  I laugh because my brain would not be quiet the whole time.  It is amazing how much crap can go through your head in a short period of time.  And I remember all of it!

When I got up I knew my wrist hurt, and it was kind of in a light 'S' shape.  I knew that was not good.  Then I squeezed the forearm to get a feel for what was going on and I felt something move.  I thought "Oh crap!  That isn't good!"  Other than a moment of feeling like I was going to pass out and me walking in tight circles looking for something to sit on besides the ground, I did alright.   

So there you have it...the rest of the story. Bottom line is I should have gotten off. Just because we worked thru it earlier did not mean I had the same horse mentally this time.  The minute Tripp started going ahead I knew Wy was mentally leaving me.  All human error.  Isn't it always?  :-)    

My wrist....just landed weird on it.  I remember trying to tuck and roll, and somehow the left wrist got under me and I rolled it.  It pushed one of the big bones back, the other big bone forward, I broke the ends off something else, and the wrist bones kinda went through a mini explosion and were not as tight as they should be.  As crazy as this sounds I am glad to hear that. I was talking myself into tucking and rolling, not putting my hand out to stop.  So I am glad to know I did that part right. Ha ha!

I will post the after part of the journey tonite after work.....

Oh yeah, we did make it back after the first ER visit in time to have birthday cake!  

And I want to thank everyone who played a part in taking care of me and the horses!  Everyone rallied together and got me and the horses to Kansas City to meet up with Brian and his son.  That way they could get us all home and get me to the ER in Columbia, Mo.  They have a great trauma team there.

What a mess!  Like I said, it is amazing how quickly a great day can turn on ya.  I replay the whole thing in my head, all the way back to the beginning and middle of our ride to try and figure out what and why things happened.  I can only speculate...  To be honest, I can speculate all day long and it really doesn't matter...what matters is ME and what I did wrong.  Make sure I don't make the same mistakes again.

So my request to others - please get out and have fun, but don't forget to stay safe and make good decisions.  It won't keep things from happening, but it will lessen the chances.

Until later...Karen and Tripp who was minding his own business when the big chicken came ripping up behind him (as Tripp shakes his pretty little head)



Cindy D. said...

I am so glad you are back! I have missed you!

Cindy D. said...

oh crap! That is what I get for skimming! I missed the part where you fell. Yikes!

Karen C. said...

Hi Cindy, it is great to be back! I sure have missed blogging, and I have missed reading about everyone elses adventures.

It is easy to skim when there is a lot of words....and I had plenty of them! Ha ha!