Horse people ARE crazy, there is no denying it. And one of the ways that you can tell is how we react to injuries. Specifically injuries related to/caused by horses. You could call it being tough, or you could say we are in denial.
Take this Facebook posting that I read this morning:
Well, this certainly is putting a damper on my week… Dislocated hip, some fractured back bones and some neck pain. But I can move everything so I’ll be just fine.
Just fine? Even to my jaded eyes, that sounds like a bit more serious than just fine. It sounds more like “hurts a lot” or “I’m really not doing too well right now.”
But, I will admit to concealing the extent of my injuries with platitudes. After all, I picked two quarts of strawberries right after Freedom landed on my heel this summer . . . and previously have been known to get up off the barn floor and drive myself home after a flying stall door broke a rib, bruised my liver and sent my glasses flying . . . and have walked around with a broken hand for three days after hitting it on a jump standard after an unscheduled dismount.
So what is it about equestrians that make us so stupid (I mean stoic) about injuries?
- There’s the “I told you riding was dangerous” response from our loved ones. We’ve all heard that. We all want to downplay it. That’s why many of us have a rule: No visible bruises? You don’t have to tell anyone you fell off. Of course driving to the supermarket is dangerous, too and no one tells you not to do that.
- There’s the embarrassing feeling that you might have been able to prevent the accident so you don’t want to ‘fess up. I certainly felt that way about my recent heel laceration.
- We understand that it probably could have been worse and we are grateful that we are only semi-permanently injured.
- We are actually tougher and more stoic than the average human being. We have a higher pain tolerance than most people so we actually do feel that we’re “just fine.” There’s something about riding horses that attracts this type of person.
- We want to start riding again ASAP. Seriously, I asked my doctor when I went to the two week check up after I broke my rib if I could start hunting again. The look on her face was priceless. I decided to stop asking. The orthopedic surgeon who set my hand was much more sensible. When I asked him when I could ride, he shrugged eloquently and said: “Now. You horse people are crazy so I know you’ll do it anyway.”
How about you? Have you hidden injuries from your family and friends? Started riding again while your leg/arm/hand is still in a cast? Time to confess!