Thursday, September 24, 2009

Taking your OWN advice seriously...

Ever since I've had my two horses, Bo and Spirit, I have emphasized the importance of "safety first" when around them, to my family members, who are in contact with them daily. This means my husband, and #2 son, who is still currently living at home.

I've had my geldings for five years. I worked at a riding facility, as an assistant, for almost three years, helping kids learn to ride safely. You'd think I'd be the one to heed my own warnings.

Sometimes, I guess, we think we're not in the same category as our non-horsey family members. We get a little careless.

The other evening I didn't listen to the little voice in my head. Not so much words as a feeling. Isn't that what the little voice is?

I decided to let my two guys out into the front field. It was evening, and time to let them go out to that field for about an hour. It's actually not a big field, but to them, I think it means a different view with a few more sprouts of grass than what the boring back field provides

Spirit, always the eager one, always trying to please, was right at my heels, but politely a few feet behind me. I thought it a little odd he was walking alone. I looked back and saw Bo still standing by the water tank watching us. He thought he was going to go out the gate by the water tank, which is the way to the fresh growing grass near the front of our house. My husband and I do put them out there off and on, but not every evening. Bo was biding his time, evidently thinking Spirit and I were going the wrong way. He had other plans. Bo is always right. Never wrong. One of those types!

So, it apparently dawns on Bo that Spirit and I are continuing to walk toward the front field gate instead of walking back toward him, so he hurries to catch up.

Now, I am not afraid of being between two horses. My guys have always been polite. I usually walk between them, their heads at my shoulders, on our way to the front field gate in the mornings. No lead ropes, no halters, just quietly walking with me. They quietly stand at the gate as I open it. I tell them to wait, they do. Then they quietly walk out into the field.

This time, I didn't take into consideration, didn't even think about it, well, should have listened to my inner voice, that it wasn't a good idea. The feeling was there. I should have made sure Bo was on the right, just like in the mornings. It may seem silly, but he gets a little edgy if he doesn't get his way. Bo is a bossy one though he doesn't get away with the attitude with me, he does with Spirit. I spend alot of time calling him off his reprimands, as in nips, of the little guy when they are in the corral and stall area. Bo stops when I yell at him to "Quit". Spirit usually just tries to avoid him anyway. Bo is a jealous type. I've heard it said horses don't get jealous, well, I think they do and he proves it to me often.

I really am not clear about the series of events. I've tried to piece it together but it was one of those two second episodes that when it's over you're left thinking "WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?". I'm usually more polite in my language, but that's exactly how I felt.

Somehow, Spirit got between me and the gate, I think he was trying to get away from Bo, who was walking up behind. Then, somehow Bo got in front of me and Spirit, turned his big butt and tried to kick Spirit. Bo's hoof clipped my left hip. Man, did that HURT!!!! I've been kicked in the arm before, by a small horse at the stable I used to work at, but I must say, this was really painful. It was a fuller kick by a much bigger animal.

I had a grooming brush in my hand because I'd been grooming them both in the stall area, and hadn't laid it down. I instantly threw the grooming brush at Bo's big butt. Yes, he has a big butt! He ran away, Spirit following. Of course, I had yelled a few words I honestly don't usually use so the outburst must have made my anger clear to both of them. Probably my body language too. I was hurting and I was mad.

Well, the pain in my hip concerned me that something may have been cracked, like my hip bone. Good thing I have lots of hip padding! I think it would have been much worse if I were a smaller person. I do have middle age, extra padding that's sometimes good for something!

No one was home at the time. Just me. I kept walking around. Tears filling my eyes. I was afraid to sit down. Afraid I wouldn't be able to get back up. My left leg was feeling weak, like it might give out. I was a little frightened. I calmed myself down. Told myself to just keep walking around a little while. As long as I could walk, I told myself, I really wasn't hurt that badly. Finally, after about thirty minutes, I decided I'd better go in the house, get some water, take a couple of ibuprofen and just sit down.

I survived. I have a very large, ugly red and blue bruise on my left hip today. I'm sure it'll be an uglier black and blue in a couple of days. The area is sore. I can feel it when I walk, a little painful. I realize, it could have been worse.

I have reprimanded myself for being so careless. It had been such a simple task, but that's usually when we are caught off guard in the first place. I usually watch for the signs. That evening, I don't know where my mind was, but I wasn't being careful. I knew it as soon as the events unfolded, or rather after the fact. I've always tried to keep safety first. It's more than important, it's essential.

So, for anyone who has encountered a lapse of being in the present when dealing with their horses, I'd like to know how you handled it. What was your lapse of "safety first"? How did it manifest itself? What did you learn from the episode?

I always thought I didn't take things like safety for granted, but all of us can sometimes get careless, especially when it concerns ourselves. Maybe we're being reminded when we are getting too careless. Unfortunately, sometimes the results are much worse. Be safe, not sorry.


Linda said...

I think the most dangerous place is in the corral because 99.9 percent of the time it's fine--but every once in a while...something like that happens.

I almost got it once, but somehow avoided catastrophe. I was bringing one horse in through a stall and the back of the run was open. My older lead gelding came in without me knowing and advanced right into the stall where I was unhaltering my gelding, Cowboy. He acted like he was going to kick Cowboy (turned his butt toward him in 12x12)--it was really strange--but I got really aggressive--yelled--threw up my arms--he ran back out. I was really in harms way--only by lucky maneuvering and a surge of anger did I escape serious injury.

wilsonc said...

Really glad your alright. Thanks for the reminder that I can never be careless and that I always need to be in the moment watching, and listening, and leading.

Kate said...

Just came across your blog - I had an experience like yours back in June, where I didn't listen to my inner voice "you know this isn't very smart" because I was in a hurry and just not paying attention. And I'm big on safety, and very experienced around horses. Here's the ugly story:

I've been kicked before (twice) both times by ponies, but never seriously injured - it was a little too close for comfort this time.