With the weather warming up, I headed to the barn to enjoy the mild temperatures.
My family told me to take my time, so I decided to ride both horses. The first ride, on Freedom, went fine. Sure, he was a maniac after so much time off, but the footing seemed okay and he didn’t slip at all.
My second ride, not so much. Zelda slipped and fell, crashing down on her left side. She must have hit a patch of ice under the snow. I’m not entirely clear on how the fall went, only that I knew it was bad. Right away I knew my left collarbone was broken, but when I tried to get up, I realized that wasn’t the only thing wrong.
First, I had to find my glasses. The tumble sent them flying and without them, I’m blind. Luckily they were within arm’s reach and putting them back on helped me get oriented. Zelda got up right away and stood next to me (I was surprised because while I was in the ring, there were horses in the pasture that she could have visited). I wonder if she know there was something wrong with me. My left ankle hurt a lot and my knee hurt too. Yes, I hit my head, but it was the last part of my body to hit the ground. Yes, I was wearing a helmet (which will now be replaced).
I managed to hobble to the mounting block — sitting in the snow wasn’t an option — and pulled out my phone. Always carry your cell phone on your person. This is the first time I’ve had to use it to get help for an injury but I was really glad that it was securely in my pocket.
First call was to my husband, who was only about 15 minutes away. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me to call an ambulance, but it worked out better because he was able to drive down to where I was sitting so I didn’t have to walk. Second call was to the house on the property where the horses live so that someone could take Zelda and turn her out. She walked off sound so I think she’ll be fine.
We headed off to the ER and the pain was terrible. I was shaking with cold and shock. Probably the worst part of the trip was the hour and forty-five minutes in the waiting room without pain meds. Then, of course was the diagnosis. Basically, I’ll be non weight bearing on my right leg for 6-8 weeks. My left ankle, while broken, is usable (although painful) with an air cast and my broken collarbone means I can only use a crutch on the right side. PT told me I could hop on my left foot while using a crutch. To me, that sounded like a recipe for another fracture. Even standing is like a cruel version of a Twister game: “Stand up using your right hand and your left foot.”
Right now I’m still trying to absorb the enormity of the injuries. While they will all heal and I should be fine, the next two months are going to be tough. And boring. While I’m still in the hospital, my next step will be acute rehab, where they will teach me how to work around my “limitations.” I’m a long way from being able to walk, drive, or even take a shower.
So the next few months of Equine Ink will likely be devoted to the long, slow process of healing. That and some wishful thinking of how I could be out riding.
Riding is a dangerous sport. We all know that and we all choose to take the risk. How annoying, though, to get so badly injured doing something so pedestrian. We were trotting. Slowly. In a ring. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be pushing the envelope to get hurt. I know people who only wear their helmet when they’re jumping, or if they’re on a young horse. With horses, sometimes that accident can happen when you are least expecting it.