Friday, July 11, 2008

"*@*!#*! That Hurt!"

My sister Jill recently had yet another knee surgery (I'm not sure how many knees she has, but I believe they have all been remodeled or replaced by now), so she's totally out of commission for the time being. That means that I am driving across town several days a week to our parents' place so that I can turn out Cowboy and his dam and clean their paddock. I'm also playing stepmother to Topper, Jill's Thoroughbred.

Now, none of this truly bothers me except that I'm constantly injuring myself whenever I handle either the mare, the colt or Topper. They're just little bumps and scrapes, but nonetheless I'm beginning to resemble the walking wounded. Today, when I took the lead chain off of Topper so he could run loose in the arena, the end of the stud chain swung back around and thwacked me in my bare, bony shin. Of course, I was wearing shorts, so now I'm sporting a bloody lump on the front of my leg. And it's turning a wonderful shade of hematoma purple.

I find some solace in knowing that I'm not the only horsewoman who is covered periodically in bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes. Believe me, I've heard other tales of maiming.

One of my favorite stories is from several years ago. An acquaintance of mine walked out to her pasture, loaded up with a handful of Rhinopneumonitis vaccines for her band of broodmares. One by one she inoculated her mares, stuffing all of the syringes in the chest pocket of her blouse. She claims the last thing she remembered was trying to give her oldest, most "testy" mare her Rhino shot and then... She came-to on the ground. With one of the Rhino syringes stuck in her chest.

She was fine. The mare was fine. The needle and syringe... Not so fine. Now, whether or not she was inadvertently vaccinated against Rhinopneumonitis, no one officially knows. But there's a lesson there--- someplace. I think the lesson is something about always taking a halter and lead rope with you when you head out to vaccinate a herd of mares. But there are also a few laughs involved, too, and that's what matters right now.

Another one of my gal pals was working around her backyard corrals and did the classic Stepping on the Wrong Part of the Heavy Metal Rake routine, whereby the hefty wooden handle flipped up and whacked her in the cheek. Naturally, she got a doozie of a black eye. And when she tried to explain what happened when she went to work the next day, most of her co-workers sort of went, "Uh-huh. Right." They seemed certain that she'd been on the losing end of a fist fight. No, she'd just lost a round with a rake.

There are countless other stories I can add to the list of Barnyard Bang-Ups. I had a horse's standing martingale break at the most inopportune moment, so that its poll smacked me in the face as I was leaning forward. That was a very special black eye.

I once extricated a struggling horse that was choking itself from being tied incorrectly. It was setting back, pulling against the tie rope snugged to the hitching post, while also strangling itself. My reward for freeing it? Once the pressure was relieved the horse reared up and backwards, slamming into me and knocking out my front teeth. That was an expensive trip to the dentist!

Just about anyone who spends any time around horses ends up battered in some fashion. I guess we can wear our wounds like battle scars. Such is the reward for spending our lives around horses.

You can share your thoughts by clicking on "comments" below.


Anonymous said...

i know how you feel. The other day ago, I was leaving the arena to go on trail with my friend, well shes riding a big belguim warm blood, and she walks out the gate easily, the gate doesn't move at all and me riding a little Arabian pony sqeeze through, well i got my knee caught on the latch. OUCH! I had a huge indent in my skin and a bloddy scrape through jeans and half chaps. I got into a fight with the gate, and the gate won!

Anonymous said...

Tell jill that i say get well soon! Ill miss seeing her and topper in lessons!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, horses can definitly turn the simple human into a giant walking mound of bruises and cuts. I remember when I was MUCH younger, my girth wasn't quite tight enough. I knew it was loose and tried to stop my pony to fix it, but being an over-excited-lets-run kinda pony, I couldn't get her any slower than the walk. So, naturally, I decided to spin her in a quick circle and ask her to stop again. How smart of me. The...something...force pulled the saddle off and face met dirt. Added to the wonderfullness of it all....even at the walk I hit my arm just right to completely snap the big bone in my upper arm...what's that called, the humerus? LOL. ROFL, in fact.

Anonymous said...

I know just how you feel about the bruise on your shin.A couple months ago I was riding a real good barrel horse and I keep knocking barrel.So the last time I went around I finaly got a really good turn so on the last barrel I wasn't that foucused and knocked that barrel.My leg hurt for two months.I had the bruise the for three months.I hope your bruise heals faster than mine.

Cindy Hale said...

Well, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who's accident-prone around horses. A few years back I got really sick at a horse show. The paramedics had to come take me from my motel room to the hospital! The nurses were really concerned about all the bruises, scabs and old scars on my legs. They kept asking me, "What is this one from?" I think they feared I was being abused or something!

I just kept saying, "I ride a lot of horses. English. And I work outside a lot. Around the horses."

I don't think they quite understood!

Anonymous said...

I know what you're talking about with the poll-in-the-face black eye. I have one of those right now, actually. In addition to 3 stitches in my muscle and six in the skin of my eyebrow. I was running my horse around the barrels a few times to make sure he could make it through without knocking any over without spurs because there was a show the next day. Well, he did well the first two times. After that, I wanted to give him a walking lap's break before doing it just once more so I could work on MY posture. Of course, that didn't help much, b/c a barrel horse's "walk" after running is more a prance... so I go to take him through the pattern again, but by now he's a bit excited and touchy. He tends to spaz a lot when he gets like that. We go around the first barrel, but the posture thing didn't work out so well. I leaned forward and used lots of leg instead of rating as he came around the turn, and his head came up. Hard. My face was there. (I'd earlier tied a knot in the top of the bridle like an idiot because I found out after switching the bit to this bridle, which had chicao screws that were a real pain in the butt to change, the bridle was too big, anyway.) As you probably don't want to imagine, that did a little damage. We ran on and finished the pattern with me gushing blood everywhere. I had two thoughts: "Great, a black eye for the show tomorrow" and "Oh, no, I have to get off ASAP b/c I'm dripping blood all over Erin's saddle". I made it to the barn and handed Flash off to one of my friends while I went to see the damage and clean it up. Apparently it somehow went down to the bone, but it didn't really hurt. There's even more of a story behind it, but I've already gone too long. Sorry about the length.

Emma said...

I know exactly what you mean about black eyes. I have one right know. How? Well, my big 17.2 hand Sutch Warmblood decided it would be 'fun' to go ahead and gallop without any warning. Long story short, I fell off and by some stroke of BAD luck, managed to hit my eye directly on the fencepost. Needless to say, I know have a huge black eye.