Tuesday, May 6, 2008

53/365 Ice, Ibuprofen and new helmets

I've been talking about our preparation for next week's trail ride for a while now. After a successful ride on Sunday, Tina invited us to come over to her house as much as possible this week to practice practice practice and work with the girls, whether she was home or not. So Mom and I checked the weather forecast and decided that Monday evening would be one of two nights at Tina's this week.

We loaded the girls right after I got home from work and headed to Tina's. We rode them in her round pen for a while, and since they were doing SO well, we decided it was time to step up the challenge and take them out into the open to ride.

This area that Tina has is great because it's soft dirt and there is plenty of room for several people to ride at a time. On one side is a fence, one is a barn and driveway, one is the round pen and the fourth side drops off down a hill to a valley where she keeps her horses.

And it's a steep hill.

I got off Oprah to open the gate and let us out of the round pen, and Mom stayed on Shep and rode her out to the pad. She could tell Shep was a little anxious being out in the open because every time she cued her with her heel to turn, Shep broke into a trot instead.

I got Oprah to the pad and was working on getting her to stand still so I could get back on when I heard Mom saying, "Whoa... Whoa... Whoa!" I looked over and Shep was doing a fast trot down into the grass and was heading straight for the drop off, with Mom sliding off of her sideways.

I saw Mom hit the ground on her side and hit her head, and I started to run to her, but I realized I needed to put Oprah somewhere so I could focus on Mom.

So I put Oprah by herself in the round pen, then by the time I got back to Mom she was up on her feet. I made sure she was okay, then I ran after Shep, who was down the hill with her head over the fence meeting Tina's horses nose-to-nose.

Every time I got within four feet of Shep, she kicked up her heels and took off again. I tried to get to her before she got her feet tangled in the reins, but I didn't make it. She didn't trip or injure herself, but she did get caught and broke through the reins.

She ran back up the hill, I ran after her, and the only way I caught her was after I cornered her and was finally able to clip a lead rope to her bridle and lead her back to the round pen.

By that time, Tina had returned home, walked over to us and said, "What happened?!" She said she knew something was up when she saw Oprah in the round pen by herself, Mom standing outside of it, and Shep and I nowhere in sight.

Mom could hardly walk by the time we got home. She said she knew Shep was anxious, but it wasn't until Shep completely stopped listening to her and started heading for the hill, and no correction was working, that she knew she had to think quickly. She knew that trying to ride Shep down the hill could be incredibly dangerous for both of them, so she bailed as fast as she could.

Mom went to the chiropractor this morning to get checked out. Thankfully nothing is broken, but she did jar her tailbone over into her right hip. The chiropractor was able to realign everything, told her to ice it on and off continually all day, and she'll be going back tomorrow and Friday.

It could have been much much worse. We decided that Shep, at the very least, isn't ready for a week-long trip, so we'll be postponing our maiden voyage. We think the only reason Oprah behaved, because she usually takes her cues from Shep, was because I wasn't riding her but was on the ground at her head and didn't give her time to think about freaking out when Shep took off.

So today's picture: ice, Ibuprofen, and my new helmet. We actually already had Mom's helmet here and ready for next week's ride, but we thought we'd be fine at Tina's without it. We ordered mine last week but it just arrived today. We'll be wearing them from now on!

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/125s, f/4.0 at ISO 200 in natural light at about 7:45 p.m.

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