...you'll miss them when they're gone."
- Baz Lurhmann, from the song Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)
Thanksgiving weekend started out sunny and happy and wonderful. Thursday was full of family and food. Friday I had a great jumping lesson where we did a grid gymnastic. After most passes through, the jumps were raised and decorated (flower boxes, etc) to keep adding visual interest for Hemie to look at and adjust to. He was a rock star.
Have a gander:
Saturday things went terribly downhill. We had another jumping lesson doing the same exercise. All was going just peachy - Hemie was being great, I was feeling good about my riding, and again the exercise started small with jumps getting increasingly higher and more decorations.
Then it happened. Half-way through the grid Hemie slammed on the brakes, head plunging downward as we ran through a jump, he dodged out to the right and took off across the arena, heading straight for the fence. I fell forward onto his neck, righted my body up but lost my stirrups, and almost was able to get back under control when Hemie made a sharp turn at the fence and I went tumbling off. I hit the ground HARD, rolled into a post, continued rolling under the arena fence, and landed face down and legs tangled in a pile of CONCRETE that is located right. next. to. the. arena. (For no apparent reason).
I thought my left leg was broken. I couldn't move.
I did have my helmet and my xc vest on. After a minute I had enough adrenaline to get up. No bones were poking out, so I got back on to continue the lesson. Hemie had quickly been caught after I fell off, and didn't seem affected.
We approached the (now made small again) grid and had another dodge-out part-way through the grid. Riding very defensively (as one does after a fall) I recovered quickly and halted him, then walked him back into the grid line to go over the final ground pole. I'll be honest, and this point I was really rattled. And I don't normally get rattled. My heart was racing, my eyes were watering (okay, okay, I was crying), and a small voice inside told me to get off the horse.
We approached it again - and got through it. I was riding so overly defensive that I got left behind on all the jumps, hooked his mouth in the air multiple times, and brought him to a full halt after the grid. But as we continued with the exercise a few more times we got back to a normal feel, where I went with him over the jumps and relaxed my reins.
But soon the pain in my left leg really kicked in and we called it a day. I untacked and headed home. Ice + Aleve + pizza.
The next day I couldn't walk. Both my legs had multiple large bruises. But the kicker was my left knee - it was in so much pain I couldn't extend it straight or bend it 90 degrees. I spent the rest of the weekend lying around, icing my legs, taking pain meds (and drinking wine). Monday I could walk, but with a severe limp. Tuesday was better - stiff after sitting, but then it would "warm up" and be only a small limp. Today was a bit better.
Honestly though, my confidence has been majorly bruised as well.
So Hemie hasn't been ridden since Saturday. He's been getting his turn-outs and feed, but I haven't been well enough even to longe. Tomorrow I'm going to have Laurie do a training ride in lieu of a lesson - I just need to give it a few more days. Ugh.