Friday, January 14, 2011

The Almost Travesty


Yesterday, the day started off pretty exceptional. I slept in, then went to the barn to school yanks and he was angel. It was still really cold outside, so I didn't ride outside. In fact I didn't ride at all, just did a bit of groundwork and trick training to switch it up.

Yankee did very well in hand. I started with long lining, working on straightness and perfection of cues. I have trained him to 'walk on' with a tap to his rump on top, to 'trot on' the same way and to 'whoa' with little bumps on the reins. He is supposed to stand perfectly still until I say otherwise and he usually does. He is also ground tie trained, which you can see in the video. To come down from a gait I say "whoa____", like if he is trotting I say "whoa walk". To move up I say "Aaaaaand___". Within gaits I say "eeeeeasy" to slow and "____ON" to increase action. Consistency is key and Yanks has it down, since I use the same voice commands when lunging. Long lining yesterday I tried doing renver and traver using the whip as my leg and he sort of got it, but really all it was doing (esp to the left) was making his neck crooked, and we don't want that!

After long lining I did a little more piaffe training and he is really picking it up! Literally! I am using alternating cues for his back legs (tapping L, R, L ,R) and he is doing the front leg work himself. The video is pretty good, do not mind my hobo outfit and pink boots, teee hee! Yanks is REALLY starting to get the idea of what I mean when I say "easy", he sets back and the movement goes UP. After the movement I ask him to "trot ON" more to let him know there is a difference and I am positive he gets it. Don't you just love his ground tying skills too? :)

This is where the day gets sketch-ma-getch and almost tragic.

After his training shesh, I like to clicker train with trick work and yesterday I was working on his bow. He gets that he is supposed to stretch his front legs out, but he still isnt getting that to balance correctly, he needs to back his back legs up a bit too. To help with this, I ask him to almost set out like a standardbred and then bow. I ask him to bow with one leg set back, and I still have to command him to do so by touching it and holding it up a bit while he brings his head down and back and bows. We do this ALL the time and I didn't think twice about it today.

I had asked a few times for it and of course, he performed beautifully as always. I am trying to 'wean' him off me holding his leg so that eventually he can bring it back himself and so every time I ask I hold it less and less and he does it himself more and more.

The 4th time I asked it was all going swimmingly....and then right as he brought his head back and down I saw his front stabilizing leg buckle and I thought " Oh Shiiiit"....

Oh shit indeed.

When his leg buckled, his left shoulder bumped me and since I was half crouching (I had just set his kneeling leg), I toppled over and landed sprawled on my back and all I saw was his MASSIVE body falling....

I was terrified. I braced for the impact and saw Yankee scrambling above me and all I could think about was my impending death. All these thoughts raced through my head in about a split second, I was gonna get crushed and die, I was gonna be a veggie for the rest of my life, what will happen to yankee when I die, how did this happen, why am I so stupid to try to teach a horse to bow...bla bla bla.

Then, miraculously, his body was no longer falling, in fact it was rising away from me..."I'm saved! I'm Aliiiiive! How did this happ-OOOOWWWWW?!" What the-"

In his effort to not fall on me, Yankee ended up crunching down on my right ankle with his hind foot when he rebalanced himself. Thank sweet Jesus that he didn't fall on me and he doesn't have hind shoes right now, but oh crap now my ankle is broken...

Yankee was very worried about me and I could see in his eyes he was sorry, I told him what an amazing horsey he is for saving me like that. I KNOW he tried his best not to fall on me and in his effort, accidentally stepped on my ankle. I leaned on him for support while walking him back to the crossties and he stood perfectly still while I brushed him and put on his blanket (which is really hard to do on one foot) and led him back to his paddock and stall.

So there I was, thinking my ankle was broken and I was scared, hurting, sad and angry at myself since it was all my fault. I drove home with my left foot (cried the whole way), called off work for that day and waited for Brandon to get home to take me to the ER for x-rays.

3 hours and xrays and CT scans later I find out its not broken (YIPPEE) but just a bad sprain and deep bruising. I don't really understand how since it hurts like a mother trucker but the doc gave me percocet and ordered me to 5 days of inactivty, a brace and crutches. 5-6 weeks for 100% heal, but hey I am NOT complaining! I could have actually broken it, or worse, died!

I am very grateful that it is only a sprain since SOOO much could have been ruined (not being able to work to earm income, have a hard time getting to classes, no riding this season, etc etc) and I am VERY thankful for my wonderful horsey :)

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