Sunday, June 22, 2008

Who Else is in the "Kicked By a Horse Club"?

I never thought I'd join the "Kicked By a Horse Club", but I sure was pledged in today. It was a near repeat of what happened to onthebit a few weeks ago. I finally got a weekend morning when my husband and kids were free to help me get Bombay out onto the trails. We trailered him to that sandy trail in the foothills of the Eastern Sierra that we hiked before. Wouldn't you know it! The parking lot of the trail head was being used as a checkpoint for a bicycle race!

When I backed Bombay out of the trailer he was quite jumpy with all those bicycles racing around. Cars were coming in and out of the parking lot at a speed that I consider to be inappropriate around horses. Doesn't the law say that the speed limit in a parking lot is 10 MPH? The way people were driving one would think the parking lot was a freeway. Then the dogs arrived -- dozens of them. They barked and circled my horse, got into fights with one another behind his hind feet. At first I was shooing the dogs away because I was worried that they would get kicked, but finally decided that it was every animal for himself amongst the chaos. Ultimately, it is the dog owner's responsibility to get her dogs under control.

Bombay was anxious to get out of that parking lot. He was holding his head as high as he could get it, puffing out his chest and dancing around. I noticed that a big black flying insect was bothering him, so I walked around his flank to grab the fly spray. I didn't make it in time. The fly landed on his penis and he kicked up and out at it, squarely slamming me on the inside of my thigh.

I have to be careful because I don't feel much pain like most people. I have been known to break limbs and digits and keep walking around like nothing happened. I took some cautious steps to test out my leg, figuring that if the bone in my thigh were broken, I would probably collapse. I was a bit wobbly, but could still walk, so I put a saddle on him. I had no intention of riding him with all those people and animals to contend with.

I led him up the trail with my kids in front and my husband a ways behind. He spooked at a couple of rocks and a log, but was otherwise okay. He didn't jump on top of me like he did when he was younger and something scared him. One hiker teased me for leading him instead of riding him. I explained that this was my horse's first time off my property in a long time, and I needed to introduce him to the new environment slowly.

On the way back we stopped to chat with a lady riding a Paint horse. She invited me to ride with her. I told her I would love to, but not today. My horse was too excited for me to feel safe. She said they calm down once you get on their backs. I was a bit wary still, so I had my daughter put the lady's name and phone number into her cell phone so that we could ride together in the future. It turned out that she is starting a trail riding club because she keeps meeting people who don't ride the trails because they don't have anyone to ride with. Perfect! I know my husband and kids don't really care to give up their time to help me with this venture, so I'm thankful to meet someone who shares my interests.

Walking Bombay back down the hill to the parking lot was a bit of a struggle. He pranced most of the way and kept crossing over in front of me, so I had to either push him sideways down the trail or circle him until he was in the proper leading position. He whinnied repeatedly in my ear, which still hurts from that deafening volume. I jerked his lead rope each time he did it and gave him a stern, "NO!" but it didn't help much. He was yelling for his mares who I left at home.

I think the next step will be to ride him in an enclosed area off my property mainly to increase MY confidence, and then take a trail ride with my new friend's club. I started a new label for my website called "trail riding", so now I am committed to push past this wall and get out there with the big girls.


Mrs Mom said...

Yes M'am- welcome to the club. At least you have not updated your membership in the elite "Dirt Dart" social circle lately. (Lets KEEP it that way too!)

Sounds likethe new group there will be a fantastic help for you. Its great that this lady is willing to help get folks together!

Looking forward to the day when you post, in BIG letters, that you rode the trails and it was Divine! ;)

Anonymous said...

Good for you for at least putting the saddle on him and hand walking him! I probably would have just turned the trailer right around when I saw what was going on.

Yes, I've been kicked by horses. First, was the gelding that I had the trailer loading issues with. I was loading him on the trailer and the barn owner--one of those "I know horses better than you" types--decided to "help". I saw her come over and I said if she wanted to help she could just put the butt bar up once he was all the way on. At that point, he was loading pretty reliably, just a slight hesitation before going all the way on. Since she was there, I decided to walk on with him. Without telling me she was going to do it, she smacked him with a dressage whip!! The poor horse had NO IDEA this was coming and neither did I! He flew backwards out of the trailer, with me running as fast as I could to stay with him. He was pissed, couldn't say I blamed him, but the fight was on. He lept into the air, somehow swung his hindquarters around enough that he was able to kick me with fairly good force on my, fortunately-well-padded butt cheek. The barn owner was just standing there and said "Oh, I didn't think he'ld do that", then she walked away and left me to deal with this raging lunatic that she had created. Sigh.

The other time was when I was feeding a yearling filly I was boarding. I knew she was skittish about things behind her--her instant reaction to being suprised from behind was to kick. But, I was in her stall and she knew I was in there, so I wasn't paying attention. She was distracted by my dogs that were right outside her stall and apparently forgot about me. She kicked my in the thigh so hard I was slammed against the stall wall and I almost passed out. It was all I could do to stay upright and get out of the stall. Even though she was barefoot, that tiny little yearling hoof hit me so hard it split the skin, I had a huge hematoma and my entire thigh turned the most interesting shades of black, purple, red, green and yellow. As time went on, the bruising sort of flowed down into my calf. Most interesting.

Take lots of Advil and I hope you're not hurting too badly!

Glad you found a trail riding buddy!


On The Bit said...

Oh No! I wish you hadn't joined me in my pain! Glad that the trail was at least a realtive sucess. And that is awsome that you met someone to go trail riding with! I think having a calm horse around is the best thing for someone new to trail riding.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Mom - Sounds like you've got a good "Dirt Dart" story.

Ann - I guess I just went ahead with the walk because I know how hard it is to get my family's time and help, plus I could keep going back each weekend and there would probably be something just as obnoxious going on. At least bicycles are quiet. Thank God it wasn't a quad or motorcycle race.

Your stories of getting kicked are awful. When Bombay kicked me, I was just standing there thinking, "Did he just kick me? Yes, he did just kick me. I can't believe it." I suspect I was at the end of his range, so I didn't get the full on blast-me-into-the-side-of-the-trailer effect. I've got a hoof-sized welt /bruise though.

onthebit - Yes, it was very fortunate to run into the one person in town who is organizing a trail riding club. I think someone is smiling down on me.

Flying Lily said...

What a lucky find - the trail club!! This could change your life and in a grand way. You did just the right things it sounds like, and your horse is mentally stronger for all the new things he got to see & experience. I'm sorry about the kick but at least you 100% know he wasn't aiming at you - not always the case. I belong to the Dirt Dart Club mentioned by Mrs. Mom - senior member, dues all paid up for the moment. The dogs - don't you have to wonder about some owners??

Katee said...

I was riding my horse in an arena last Fourth of July around 9am when I noticed my shoelace was untied. For some idiotic reason I decided that my shoe needed to be tied right away. I stopped my horse, lifted my foot up out of the stirrup and started tying.

I live in Minnesota where fireworks are illegal. Also, it was 9am. Despite these two facts, someone chose my shoe tying moment to set off a firecracker. My horse jumped forward and I flipped right off the back of him.

As I fell, his rear hoof kicked my ankle hard. Nothing broken, but a year later the bruise is still noticeable on my ankle. Note to self (and others): shoes don't need to be tied while riding OR dismount before tying shoe laces OR don't ride on the Fourth of July. :)

Rising Rainbow said...

Wow! Sorry to hear you got kicked. I don't know how you can handle horses and not get kicked at some point. They are horses after all but I still hate when that happens.

photogchic said...

Oh man...ouch! That is a nasty one. At least you made some good connections and a couple more outings, hopefully he will get a grip. A lot to take in with all that activity in the parking lot.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

lily - I am feeling good about getting as far as we did on that trail despite people teasing me for not riding.

katee - I get nervous about riding on the 4th of July. Fireworks are illegal here too, but that doesn't stop anyone. I recall reading a story about a woman who was test riding a horse at the end of a parade. She went down a quiet alley and some kid jumped out and threw a firecracker right underneath her horse. The horse ended up not being disturbed in the slightest the by firecracker, so the woman bought the horse on the spot.

rising - I agree. I think being around horses off and on for 40 years and not getting kicked until now is a pretty good record, though. All of my horses are usually aware of where I am while they kick at flies, but Bombay was distracted by all the chaos. I think in part he was emotionally swatting away all the over-stimulation.

photogchic - Yeah, I think he did pretty well. I half expected him to bolt, but he stuck by me.

sue said...

could some one kindly explain to me why these "non-riding" folks feel they have the "right" to comment when we are not riding??? a few times I have made that choice with Tonka, knowing that riding would NOT help the situation and I have heard those same remarks!!!! obviously we would be riding if we felt that it was safe and productive!!!! Ithink you handled that whole situation amazingly well and extremely smart... I am sorry about the kick... that is NO fun for sure!!!! take care of it and go easy, you don't have to be brave!!!!

Momma / Cowgirl said...

O U C H !!!!
I have not been kicked, only thoroughly thrown.
I am fortunate that I have basically bomb proof horses. But I still don't take any chances.

Hope your next time out riding will be tons better than this time.

happy horsin' around!

Twinville said...

I'm thoroughly impressed that you didn't just turn around and leave when you pulled into the parking lot with those crowds. I know I would have.
I'm even more amazed that you tried to hike the trails with Bombay anyway.
And why is it so strange to people to see you walk your horse while it's ok to walk a dog? Can't a horse also be a pet, too?
Smart alec nice.

And those loose, out of control dogs. It's too bad that Bombay didn't kick one of them and injure it....instead of kicking you.
Those owners and dogs deserved it.
Now they will never learn or understand how to act around a horse.

Sorry about the injury. Like you I don't feel pain the same way. Heck I had natural child birth, drug free to my 11 pound 12 oz daughter and was never in pain at all.

I do feel aches and pains though and can' stand when they persist.
And I bet that leg of yours is aching now. Yipes.

That is so awesome that you found someone to ride with, too. I haven't taken Baby Doll out by myself yet, but my neighbor friend has ridden her while I rode her calm 20+ yr rock of a horse. It was a good thing for my horse to go out with such a calm horse, too.

I look forward to reading about your future trail riding posts.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

sue - I just explained the situation when people questioned me or commented. Non-horse people just don't understand how dangerous horses can be. They think they were born ready to ride. I think my horse enjoyed all the attention.

momma/cowgirl - Yes, bombproof horses are a good thing. Sometimes I think I should limit myself to riding those, but I can't resist the challenge of training young horses and inexperienced horses. I'm willing to take whatever lumps I get in the process.

twinville - 11 pounds, 12 ounces??? No pain??? Wow, now I'm impressed. I feel the daily aches and pains too, but for some reason I don't feel the serious injuries. The bruise still doesn't hurt unless my dog jumps in my lap.

IamRockinHorse said...

I've been kicked and jumped on, bucked off and fallen on by horses. I sympathize with you.
Once, my horse fell into the fence with me under him. I had swelling and bruises from the knee down. Nothing was broken, but I couldn't use my knee for over three months. The next year he bolted and I pulled him up short, causing him to lose his balance. He fell on my other leg. Same thing- three months of no knee! I cringe whenever I see stunt men fall with their horses because it hurt me so badly.

SolitaireMare said...

Hi! I was referred over to your blog by mrs mom, I'm dealing with equine melanoma in my gray horse and she told me you might have some information on this condition. You can find me at my blog - and I'd appreciate any input you would be willing to share!

In the meantime - Ouch - I'm a card-carrying member of the club! Several years ago my friend was leading her mare past me leadng my gelding. Seemed like there was enough distance between the two horses but obviously there was not, just as she went by, the witch-mare let loose a kick and nailed ME in my left arm. She kicked my arm into my body and knocked the wind out of me. When I got up, my left arm wouldn't work right and my wrist had a huge purple "egg" on it. I remember calmly telling my horrified and apologetic friend that I thought I needed to go to a hospital.

Turned out she'd punched my wristwatch into the end of the long bone that ends at my wrist and snapped the tip of the bone in half. (and broke my good watch, too) I also had a big bruise near my elbow from the impact of the other hoof. The x-ray tech told me if it wasn't for the watch, I probably would have walked away just with two nasty bruises. He told me I was pretty tough stuff to only have a break in one place from the kick!

Longer story short - several weeks in a cast, physical therapy and my NEED to ride got me back up and out there but every now and then, that wrist gets grumpy and needs some work. I'm still thankful everyday it wasn't my RIGHT wrist, as an artist, that one is the breadwinner!