Last Friday I broke one of my cardinal rules: Always wear boots around horses that protect your feet. Not shoes. Not sandals.
I’m pretty good about it, usually. But the one time I wasn’t, I got hurt.
I was feeding Freedom and Willow in the morning. I’d just given Freedom his grain when something spooked them. Who knows what it was. Probably a chipmunk or something equally terrifying. Maybe a bit of plastic blew across the field.
Whatever it was, Freedom jumped three feet to his left. And landed on my heel. It’s hard to describe the feeling of a 1200 pound horse landing on your foot and slicing through the back of your heel without using a lot of four letter words. I certainly did at the time. It hurt. A lot.
My rubber muck boots were in the car, not on my feet where they were supposed to be. Nope. I was in a rush and had just come from dropping my daughter at school. I was wearing (now I have to hang my head in shame), sandals.
After the pain dissipated enough to walk back to the car, I put the boots on and finished feeding. It still hurt.
Driving home, I saw that the local farm had strawberry fields open for picking. So I limped out and picked two quarts.
By the time I got home there was a lot of blood and a lot of pain. You know the type of injury? The one where you don’t want to look at it? It was that kind. I stuck my foot in a pot of warm water and Epsom salts. Then I bandaged it up and felt very, very stupid.
Later that day was the Solstice ride. Which, of course I did. My husband asked if I was going to ride with my foot so obviously injured. Seeing that it was still attached to my body, I answered like most of the horse people I know — of course!
This week I’ve taken it easy. Today was the first day that I rode again, and it was a short ride. It’s still hard to wear shoes with heels (although I have done so for every feeding), but it’s getting better.
I was actually lucky. It could have been a lot worse. So, given that I’ve provided a great example of what NOT to do, I hope you all keep your feet well protected and wear boots. Not shoes. Not sandals. And definitely no bare feet. I certainly will be wearing my boots every day, every time.