Working with and riding horses can be rough. It isn't always going to go well or how you thought it would.
This past summer I broke my first bone... multiple actually. I came off an established horse and broke three bones in my wrist and severe trauma to my ribcage and sternum. So what happened? Possibly a nasty attitude from not enough work. Maybe a bee sting. I don't know what happened but I still learned a lot.
First off, it was a traumatic incident. I won't get into the details but this fall rocked me to my core and I still replay it in my head. Second, the physical damage to my wrist and the intense pain of my ribcage was shocking. And last but not least, normal operations came to a halt. I was in a cast up to my shoulder so I couldn't shower or get dirty. Tough situation for someone with kids and running a ranch during the summer! I couldn't dress myself, do my hair, or get in and out of a lying down position by myself. I was in pain, limited and very dependent. The experience was very eye opening.
You're probably wondering what happened to the horse? I made the difficult decision to re-home him. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't a bad horse. This wasn't the situation for him though. He needed more work, more one on one. And most importantly, he needed someone who was going to enjoy him and ride him confidently. He deserves to be loved without resentment and ridden without fear. Part of me, my ego, wanted to hold on to him to prove I could get past it and ride him again. Here's the thing, I had to be honest with myself. Could I ever ride him again without fear? No, I don't think so. That would definitely affect my riding and his read on my energy. That is why I made the difficult choice to let him go.
Time passed, bones healed, and life resumed. Eventually, I got back in the saddle. I had to modify how I did things because I did not have the same capability due to loss of range of motion and intense pain. The experience rocked my confidence so I needed to begin again. I went back to the basics. Reading horse behavior, bonding and basic riding. I slowly built back my confidence through revisiting my foundation of horsemanship.
Where am I am now? Physically, I'm still not fully recovered. I might not get my wrist mobility the way it was. The entire experience was humbling in many ways. Most importantly, my perspective has changed. For one, always trust your gut. If something is telling you not to trust a horse or proceed in a moment, LISTEN. Second, but equally important, do not skimp on your prep work. The practice of your foundational knowledge matters! Don't be lazy or think you are past it. Especially, if your gut, or the horse, is trying to tell you something. Go back over everything with a fine tooth comb because your safety and confidence depend on it!
Be safe my fellow riders!