how do you define "lucky"

July 29, 2008

Last Tuesday 7/22 Bonnie and I went to the Horse Park at Woodside to do some jumping before they closed the cross-country course (which they do two weeks before a competition to minimize home-ground advantages). I had such a blast I didn’t take any pictures. We didn’t get to the park until around eleven. It’s only a few miles from the barn, so it wasn’t the kind of trip you have to get up at the crack of dawn for.

We did big logs, little logs, banks into and out of water. I believe at one point Bonnie called Whisper a “natural.” Unfortunately I wasn’t doing as well as Whisper but Bonnie got me to stick my bottom in the saddle and RIDE the course, instead of making poor Whisper do all of the work keeping us safe. I think I’d made some improvements by the end of the day. Raleigh was a pro, even though they’d closed the longing arenas and he started out a little fresh. I think he figured out it was just going to be “more work.” He did find a few things irrationally spooky, but really, I thought he was very good. We definitely ascertained that Whisper [and Nicole] needs some more conditioning.

Friday was not such a successful day.

I had been a good kid and worn my vest when we were at the horse park. Friday morning, cocky with my success from the horse park, I didn’t wear my vest (I don’t usually for arena jumping). I was setting a gymnastic to work on with Bonnie, and I was having fun playing with the blocks. I set a 3′ oxer, mostly because it looked pretty. Then I went to go saddle Whisper. Bonnie came down and fixed my distances (I’m using the tape measure next time) and re-set the height to maybe 2’6″. I was doing okaaay… until the bad approach, that was not only not straight, but from a bad distance, and I dropped my reins, and I was looking at the standard on the second part of the combination, and Whisper said “Are you crazy? I can’t jump a standard!” and ducked out. I wasn’t looking where I wanted to go, my bottom was not in the saddle, nor was I holding the reins, and I went over his shoulder.

Bonnie commented that I fell like a rag-doll. After many years of falling, I’ve learned to not fall stiffly. You have to relax and try to break the fall. I actually did the same thing falling down 8 feet off the bouldering wall on Thursday (saving my knee and ankle). Relax and try to cushion the fall. After I’d rolled off the jump, I thought to myself: This is the part where he steps on me. *wait* Luckily Whisper got around me without hurting me, and went a few feet away to wait. He was actually pretty calm.

Bonnie was asking me if I felt okay after I’d got back on and we’d re-set the jumps. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but lets just say I was shocked and disappointed that I’d let that much “stupid” happen while I was riding. I only hope Bonnie doesn’t think I’m hopeless and that she’ll continue to share her knowledge with me.

Then we went for a trail ride. It turns out there are a lot more places to ride around up in Saratoga than I thought. There’s a whole network of trails that go through private property. We were on one, in deep brush. Bonnie and Raleigh were in front of us, and they managed to walk over a downed wire fence! I noticed it in time to stop, and Bonnie told me there was an opening up the hill. I misunderstood and thought the opening would be just a little ways up, and I was riding up to see where the fence was, when I looked down and realized Whisper was in the fence. I immediately began to dismount, partially in the hope that I’d be able to untangle him, partially because I knew he was going to pull back and possibly go down. Whisper noticed that he was in trouble at the same time I did, and pulled back before I could dismount.

Having your horse’s legs wrapped in wire is one of the most horrifying equestrian experiences. Horses legs are very delicate, and horses can be hysterical about protecting their legs. Whisper was pretty calm and even though he lunged backward, pulling against the wire, and presumably breaking it (thank god it came off, however it did). He cut a gash about 4 inches long on his front pastern (did I use the right word there?). Then he stood there, waiting for me to help him.

We rode back to the barn, washed off the blood, and discovered that the cut wasn’t very deep and had already stopped bleeding. I drove down to longs to get human vetwrap, sterile pads, and superglue. Yes, I closed the wound with superglue. The wound really wanted to stay closed on it’s own, even when he walked around. I just wanted to create surface tension. Whisper was very cooperative, only looking a little offended when the iodine stung. After wrapping his foot up, we applied another bandage of duct tape to protect the bandage and hold it on to his hoof.

I fixed my horse with superglue and duct tape.

I’ve changed the bandage twice over the last few days, and everything appears to be healing well. I’ve been hand-walking Whisper to keep him from getting stocked up (blood pooling in the legs, kind of like when humans are “bloated” or swollen) and to keep him from going stir-crazy. I was going to ride yesterday, but my morning was such a comedy of errors, I didn’t want to make any opportunities for things to get worse. And I was worried about keeping everything clean. Today I worked. I’ll see if I can figure out how to get a picture of the wound tomorrow, and maybe ride.


  • to have an awesome horse
  • to have good friends
  • to be safe

By levanah