Early Days

Be kind to your knees…

…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.

7 comments on “Be kind to your knees…

  1. Yuck! I am so sorry that happened!!! I HATE it when I FINALLY, FINALLY feel confident about riding and then get tossed. It takes so much time to rebuild confidence and even longer if you get hurt in the tumble. Take a deep breath, take your time, and have someone else ride him if that will rebuild your confidence.

    Sydney did some wild stuff tonight and ALMOST dumped me – not sure how I stayed on. it rattled me a bit for sure. Feel better soon (body and heart).



  2. I totally know the “rattled” feeling and you are very brave to keep working through it after getting slammed into cement (big yikes!). I hope your body is feeling better soon. I agree with Speedy G…take advantage of some trainer rides to help with the confidence factor.


  3. I had a fall that left me similarly immovable in the knee several years ago. I hope you go get it checked out and feel better.


  4. I would get that checked out. I fell off, of all things, the mounting block, and tore my ACL, my IT, and my miniscus. I have no recollection of the entire day after I fell off the mounting block, apparently I drove myself to the ER, got checked out, and called a family member to come pick me up. I had three surgeries to fix all the damage and three years later am now finally getting back to the normal life that I had before my injury.

    ACL tears are very common in women, and while you don't really need your ACL, I would still get your knee checked to make sure you didn't damage anything.


  5. If it's any consolation, you looked AWESOME the day before. :) That's the biggest I've ever seen you two jump and you look great together.

    Green moments are the worst. It is so incredibly hard to bring along a young horse, especially when you're trying to build your own confidence from your last one. :( I'm sure Hemie will recover just fine. Good on you for having Laurie jump him. I'd maybe give her another ride or two while you heal up just to get the wiggles out.

    You can do this. It was just bad luck.


  6. Thanks to everyone for your comments and encouragement. I've been reading them as they've been posted (email), and its really helped me feel better. Not alone. Not crazy for being a bit shaken up. Knee is feeling much better, but still not 100%. Unfortunately no trainer rides due to rain, but hopefully we'll get things together this weekend.


  7. Aye!!! Good for you for getting back on!

    Hope your knee feels better! Were you able to get to the Dr to have it checked out?


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