Having lived without horses…

Not having a horse was something I’d ever thought about before the year 1998. Was a bad year. My husband had, had a heart attack, and a triple by-pass to boot. We had two horses at the time. Though never having talked about letting them go, we decided it was more than we could handle at that time in our life. I hadn’t ridden much in nearly two years, because of a riding accident that left me petrified to ride. At that time, I owned a horse who was 16.3 hands tall and about 1300 lbs. He was a real eye catcher. A bald-faced paint with a flaxen mane and tail, unusual markings and four stocking legs. A real nice quiet way of going. I was working at a vet clinic at the time. A whole bunch of us had horses and we decided to meet for an early ride. It was my bosses land. Nestled alongside the Trinity river bottoms near Ennis, Texas. The sun was rising over the hills, birds were flying high, the horses were snorting and feeling their oats fed earlier that morning. All the horses were bouncing off each other like the old bumper cars from a county fair. My horse was especially fired up. He was young and still full of himself. He had finally settled down about an hour into the ride. Crawford Park 07232011 026We neared a vertical bank which was nearly thirty feet high above the river crossing. Other riders were making their way down the embankment. My horse following closely behind, stepped off the trail, and got his legs caught in some vines. All of the sudden he lost his footing and toppled head first onto the rocky riverbed below. We fell nearly twenty feet. He landed on top of me, crushing me into the soft sandy riverbed rock. I felt a snap to my right shoulder. I was stunned. Totally in shock, the horse scrambled to his feet and stood over me looking as confused as I was. He to, must have been wondering what just happened. My husband bailed off his horse, trying to rescue me off the ground. He helped me to my feet. I was in excruciating pain on the right side of my body. We were an hours ride from the barn. The trails were not wide enough for a truck and trailer to drive down. We had to walk to the nearest road wide enough to get a vehicle in to get me out. Loading the horse up, seemingly calmed down from the prior excitement, it was time to take a trip to the nearest hospital. Checking in with the emergency center, they immediately wheeled me in thinking, it was more serious than it was…The Dr. ordered x-rays. The prognosis was a broken shoulder. He said “that was quite an impact on your right side”. Not being able to cast my shoulder, he sent me home in a sling, along with some pain medication to heal. It took several months to get better. While recuperating I spent a lot of time idle thinking about the accident. Now in recent years, I had been kicked, thrown, stomped on, bitten and God only knows what other things had happened to me over the past years. But, this one thing took the breath out of me. I was mortified of this horse. I was clearly afraid of a horse for the first time in my entire life. Which brought me to the decision it was time to let go of our horses. We sold them both in 1998. Palo Dura Canyon1It wasn’t until 2009 I boarded a horse again. My Grand daughter and I had gone to Amarillo, Texas to visit her Dad. I decided to take a trip out to Palo Duro Canyon to sight see. While driving down that canyon road, we saw a horseback riding stable that rented horses by the hour. My Grand daughter was always talking about  how she would love to have a horse, and that wasn’t an option for us at the time. Two middle-aged people had enough on their plate with a 10-year-old girl to raise. Never the less, we stopped. Thinking this was the perfect opportunity for her to ride her first horse. She was thrilled to get her very own horse to ride all by her self. We mounted up after paying the gentlemen for an hours ride. Surprisingly, I wasn’t a bit frightened of the horse. I stepped into the stirrup, swung my leg over the saddle and sat down as though I’d been riding everyday. We had a guide take us down in the canyon. I could see by half way down , she had a natural seat. The smile on her face was priceless. She took the trails like a pro, never complaining about the distance, crossing creeks, walking over logs, etc… She was in heaven. On the ride back home to Dallas, it was all she could talk about. It was all I could think about! It wasn’t long after we came home I started looking for a horse. We had made the trip in July and by the end of August she had her very own horse. For her?, well, maybe it was really for me.

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"It's better to ride even if you get thrown, then to wind up just wishing you had." - Chris LeDoux.
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