From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Concussions, Lameness, and Run Aways. What Fun!

This past month has been quite interesting to say the least. Where to start...

The week after the show, Jet had some time off. I rode him Wednesday, then decided to hop on bareback on Thursday. He was perfect Wednesday and was willing to do anything I asked of him. Thursday went the same way....mostly. I did walk/trot over ground poles and he was doing great! We cantered the poles bareback to work on picking spots and lining up for jumps, etc. All was wonderful. He listened to me, waited when I told him to wait, went when I told him to go. 

After we did that, I decided to work on transitions. Jet started anticipating and got ahead of himself. In one corner, I asked for a walk to canter transition. Instead of going straight and engaging his hind end, he booked it to the side, leaving me hanging on to him sideways. After going around a quarter of the ring, I let go and ended up landing on my head and back apparantly. How? I'm not sure. 

I cracked my helmet pretty good and had a huge gash on my back. I was out for a few seconds and didn't move for a while I was told. My sister watched the whole thing. Instead of coming to see if I was even breathing, she sat there for about a minute and just watched me laying there...then she got my mom. About 5 minutes later, my mom came out to check on me and I was back on him...bareback....cantering...over ground the sun was going down. I don't remember the fall, all I know is from what my sister told me.

I got a concussion and a nice battle scar. I had a headache for several days, even weeks, afterwards, but I'm no worse for the wear. I rode a horse at school the next day and was in excruciating pain afterwards. Since I have no commonsense, I went home then rode Jet at Hobby Horse with Mom. Yet again, I was in serious pain. Did I learn? Nope. I rode again the next day. Finally, after riding three times and being in serious pain and on the verge of passing out at the end of each ride, I took a week off from riding at home, and two weeks off from riding at school.

This was the cut a few days after the fall. I couldn't wear jeans for over a week because it is right where my pants lie on me.

So after that fiasco, I rode Jet a few times. His feet were getting long, and I brought that to the attention of my mother. Our usual farrier was unable to do their hooves due to family reasons, so mother decided to try a new farrier. Abby had a show with Elsa that weekend and Elsa was in desperate need of her feet being trimmed. Well, the man came and talked to mother and brother. He talked about how each of the horses move and how this and that could do blah and blah. I wish I was there to hear what this guy said, but unfortunately I was at school. He did all of the horses feet. I got home that day to ride, got tacked up, hopped on, and was sadly surprised to see my never-been-lame-in-his-life horse gimping around with me on him. It wasn't obvious from the ground so I didn't take much notice to it. However, when I was picking his feet, I noticed a HUGE change in them. Every thing was extremely different. His feet were all different shapes, different angles, not level, and his toe was filled down at an angle leaving his sole hitting the ground instead of the hoof wall. 

Poor Jet was extremely uncomfortable. Elsa was also lame in her right front. We called out farrier a few days later and she came as soon as she could to see what she could do to fix them up a bit now that her family issues were a bit more settled down. Mr. Farrier took soo much off in all of the wrong places, that she didn't have much to work with. She managed to fix Elsa up a bit, though. With Jet, she decided to put shoes on with a leather cushion. This took the pressure off of the sole of his foot and placed it more on the wall where it should be. He instantly looked more comfortable, but not quite sound.

Three days later, he was sound enough for me to put around on in the trails. We kept it slow for a few days just to make sure he was ok. We are still working him back up to where he should be right now, but atleast he is ride-able.

A few days ago, I decided to go for a bareback trail ride. He was being an angel like usual, We walked and trotted around a bit. We were trotting around when all of a sudden, he stopped, squealed like a little filly, did a 180, bucked, and took off. He put his head in between his legs and had the bit clenched. I tried doing a one rein stop...didn't work. Circles? Nope. trying to atleast bring him to a reasonable canter or trot? Nope. Run him into a tree? Nope. So there I was...useless on my runaway horse. I let him have his head for 2 strides, then with all of my effort I sat back as far as I could and just yanked back. I am quite aware, this is not an appropriate thing to do, but when I am picking between staying on the horse or falling again and risking another concussion, I chose the act of desperation. He threw his head up and finally started to trot. We trotted all the way home through the trails. He jumped every log that was fallen, wove through all the little trees, and was still being a brat. So I got home, and worked him in the ring bareback. 20 minutes later, I got off....then lunged him. By this time, I expected a tired, sweaty horse but nooo. He was still full of energy and not even warm. I ended things on a good note and put him away.

I have had work after school so I haven't been able to get back on, but I am planning to if the weather allows it tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

-Em and Jet

Oh, by the way, please follow me on Youtube! I post new videos frequently and I have recently discovered the powers of windows movie maker! Here is my most recent video of me and some of the other students at my school riding in class: