Thursday, July 28, 2011


I'm getting to that point in my life where i can realise my strengths an weaknesses, well some of them anyway, i selectively ignore others. I know that I'm good at getting jobs done, but dint have great attention to detail, e.g i can bake a great cake, but icing it with pretty little flowers is not my thing. I can clean the barn, but my halters wont be hanging up according to colour. I know house work is a big weakness, and tidiness's may have been left out of my genetic code. But one thing i do definitely can do, is take a big hit,I'm tough, and it takes a lot to put me on the ground, or worse yet in bed. if i was a wilting delicate flower i would not have survived a month in my current career. So when i ended up not only hitting the deck, but unable to get off couch it was not a good thing.

Funny enough it was one of the smallest horses on the property that brought me to the ground. It also wasn't a wild horse, but an innocent looking little welsh pony. As usual with horses it was also my fault.

I brought two little ponies on Monday, something i have been meaning to post about, but that will come later. They are half feral, untrained, and malnourished things, that i picked up for pittance with the idea of turning them into kids ponies. Now it is always my own rule, that as soon as any new horse arrives on the property that i do basic ground work with it, to make sure it does n't kick, bite or otherwise trample people. I meant to with these ponies, but i didn't, i was busy and the only handling these horses got were taking them to and from there stable.

so yesterday evening i was leading them both to the barn, it was late, i was tired, it was the last job of the day, and mentally i wasn't on my 'A' game. Sometimes i also find after dealing with massive horses, or wild horses all day, sometimes i take the little ones a bit more casually, i shouldn't i know, but it happens, and now I'm paying for it. As also, often happens with young horses, they were a bit spooky, eyes wide open, and jumping from any leaf that moved. about halfway to the barn, as we walked past a paddock, the Shetland pony came tearing up, galloping and bucking. Well little Bramble, the more fiery of the two ponies, thought this midget horse was monster coming to get her. She leaped forwards trying to make a break for it herself, hitting the end of the lead rope, she tried to dart sideways. meanwhile her friend Cassie the other pony was on my other side, being more docile she was just standing watching the show, but she was definantly blocking the way if need to move out of range fast.

We have an old farm dog, Tonka, the worlds most incorruptible dog, faithful, stoic, and a real working dog, he accompanies me very seriously all day, helping when he thinks his services are required to encourage horses, or geese, or any other livestock in the right direction. hes also old, lately we have noticed mentally, he not as quick, and his deep eyes are now clouded with cataracts, which cause him endless frustration as hes struggles to see in the fading light, so the otherwise sensible dog, now occasionally loses his composure. He saw that horse leap forward, knew it wasn't right and sprung at it from the side to give a quick nip at his heels. Even as i went to yell at the dog to stop, the horse swung it hind end away, and in my concern to get the old dog out of harms way, i wasn't paying attention. Bramble hindquarters swung right into the lead rope, brushing her legs, now she really thought she was in real trouble, dog one side, midget monster other side of the fence, and now a snakey rope around her back leg, she wasn't going to take the time to ask questions, using every bit of power those hind legs could muster she lashed out as hard as she could, and the thing standing right behind her, was me.

I tried to move quick, but there was a horse blocking my escape route, and you can never react as fast as a horse can quick. One of those sharp, rock hard pony hooves got me, right in the pelvis. Not just a glancing blow, but square full contact, with all the force behind it. For a millisecond thought it might not hurt, then i dropped both lead ropes and threw myself side ways to the ground, and i screamed. I never scream, i never even cry, im a tough farm girl, but i screamed like never before. Never in my life have i felt such pain, like id been shot with burning white hot iron. i hit the driveway curled into a ball, and let out a sound of a dying hyena, i couldn't even cry, just a screaming wail,i didn't care who heard, in fact i hoped some one did. But as usual i was on the farm alone, our neighbors are far away and i don't think a living human sole heard me.

I have been kicked by horses many times in my career, its a occupational hazard. In fact last year a similar thing happened with another small pony, it even managed to chip a piece of bone from the femur in my left thigh, there was a bruise for months, and even now a permanent calcified hard lump remains in my leg to show for it. That kick was nothing compared to this. i just lay on the drive with gravel digging into my face, and screamed, and then cried, then sobbed and eventually could take gasping breath, but that white hot fire burned from the toe of my right all the way to my ribs, and i stayed paralysed with pain in a fetal position for what seemed like an hour, before i had the courage to try any movement. cautiously i tried my toes, just wiggling them, and they worked, i tried moving my lower leg, it hurt, but i could do it, then my whole leg, and that made me wail.

it hurt so bad, i wanted to hear car tyres on the driveway of someone coming to save me, i knew i still had to put these horses away , and somehow make it to the house, yet it hurt so bad i just wanted rescuing, even the thought of walking made me want to scream all over again. But I knew no rescue was coming, the boyfriend was overseas sailing, and none of my family were due home for hours. It was just me, and all the time i was thinking, i cannot afford to be this hurt, i had clients horses to break in. now these two little ponies, the wild mare, the olympic rider's horse to work, plus the competition season just around the corner, meaning my big horses need to be in work, i could not afford to be hurt! The thought just made the pain all the more worse.

in the meantime, Tonka sensing my distress, had done what he thought was the best course of action to cure the situation, chasing the ponies far away for their naughtiness, and now was finding every stick on the property and dropping it on my face, so we could play fetch ( the other meaning of his doggy life), in the hopes that this was the required action to stop my howling, as in every other situation him bringing me sticks, brought a positive response from me, and gave him a fulfillment in life fetching them for me. So there i was curled up on the driveway in almost darkness, covered in a pile of wood with a dog standing over me, and ponies running madly up and down the driveway dragging lead ropes. Excellent.

i wont go into details, but i managed to hobble and put the ponies away, and make it to the house. For the first time in my life i was really hurt though, i couldn't breath properly, i was crying, i was to scared to even look at my stomach, which from the bottom of my hip to my bellybutton was swelling fast, i wasn't being tough and i felt vulnerable like never before, which frightened me. So i did what i have never done, and behaved like any hurt child, i text my mum and asked her to come home for me. in the mean time i couldn't stop shaking uncontrollably, i am a very clear headed person so i did what i thought was the best course of action, hoped in a warm shower then into bed. still shaking and now hyperventilating, i called my much more corruptible dog, Lucy, into bed with me, if no person was going to be there to give me a hug, a dog at that point, would do. I curled around Lucy, and breathed as slowly as i could.

My mother of couse is a saint, and was home within twenty minutes, i know I'm a big girl, but its still great to have your mum come take care of you,a huge bonus for me is that my mother is also a doctor. Unfortunately this wasn't the end of the drama, the mum Doctor fearing the worst, dragged me down the road to another doctor neighbor for a second opinion, apparently fearing id torn my femoral artery. Just what i always wanted my neighbor feeling around my inner thigh and pelvis (sarcasm), but he was more concerned that i had cracked my hip, and at least confirmed to my mum i wasn't going to bleed to death internally in the night. Again i wish that was the end of it, but later in the night, just when i wanted to sleep more than anythign in the world, the mother dragged me all the way to the local hospital, still fearing for the artery or internal injuries. After a lengthy wait and a nonchalant check from the nurse i was sent back home.

i survived the night, i can hobble, so i guess I'm going to live, fingers crossed x-rays this afternoon come back clean. all this for a mongrel pony that cost me $250.

Moral of the story, do the ground work on horse straight away, little bit of time to begin with will save you days on crutches in the long run. From day one with the wild horses i did ground work and they have always been amazing to handle, if id done the same with these far less wild ponies i wouldn't have to be writing this.