Saturday, January 31, 2009


Okay, at the insistence of Chelsi (insert big smile!!) I am going to share a little info with you all about me and horses. Many of us have either been blogging/posting about fear and horses, or responding and commenting about it. For those of you who have not read any of the posts that are floating around out there, let me clarify that this is not about horses and their fears, it is about humans and the various fears that we may have about horses. And there are a lot of us who have them!

Some of you may be shocked to hear me say that I have a healthy fear/respect for horses that are under saddle. On the ground, I am an uber-confident Boss Mare...just ask anyone who knows!!! And though I have seen horrendous accidents involving horses and people on the ground, they did not leave a mark on my psyche like one particular accident under saddle did.
Silly thing about this accident was that I did not witness the actual accident, but I did witness the aftermath, and that did some damage. Back when I was an invincible 17 year old, who rode horses with wild abandon, my mother and youngest sister were injured in a senseless accident that really didn't even have anything to do with the horse that they were on, and I think that is why it freaked me out so made me realize that even though the horse did nothing to hurt them, they got hurt anyway.

One minute your fine and the next minute your in critical care or dead. Could that happen to you while your walking down the street?? It could, but not likely.
Back to the accident....My mom went out on a lone trail ride, as she often did back then, and had my little sister (who was two at the time) placed in front of her in the saddle. She was riding her spooky but trusty mare, Jewel, when they went around a corner that they had been on millions of times, and found that some nasty blackberry vines had fallen down into the trail-right at their height.

They had ridden right into them, and they were scratching big gouges in my sisters cheek, and tangling into Jewel's mane. Jen (my little sister) started to panic and cry, and Jewel started to become agitated and wanted to move around (my mom had stopped her to try and get the thorns out of my sister). My mom made one of those quick, split second decisions, and decided that rather than stay on Jewel's back with Jen, she would grab Jen and slide off to the ground; thus saving them all from an imminent disaster. Or so she thought.....
What my mom hadn't banked on, was that the weight of my sister (she pulled her on top of her), would throw her landing off, and she landed on some medium sized rocks, without her hands to break her fall. Long story short, she landed on her side and her face, and she ended up with several broken ribs, a punctured lung, a huge laceration that ran from her temple to the middle of her cheek, and multiple facial bone fractures. She was in the hospital for days and had to undergo many surgeries to repair her face.
She did her motherly duty though...Jen escaped with only scratches on her cheek from those darn blackberries. And during the whole thing, Jewel just stood there!
Immediately after the accident, My mom (well all of us!!) took a lot of flak for keeping Jewel. When people heard about what happened, they all thought that Jewel did it, and said that there was no way that my mom could have gotten hurt that bad from choosing to fall off...but she did. And that is what freaked me out on some subconscious level.There is one more event (well not really an event, but a horse!)that made me realize how fragile we are, but that will have to wait until next time. It is also important to know that I did not truly become aware of my mortality until I had kidlets. Before them, I took a lot more chances with various horses that I will not do now.
(Warning: For those of you who have read my comments on other blogs, the rest of this will be sort of be repetitious) I have always preferred steadfast, trustworthy, and loyal horses for my own personal mounts, and even back then, I refused to ride an unstable horse. I had/have seen to many people get hurt and there was/is no way that I was/is going to become one of them.
This being said, I like a horse that is all of the above things, and yet still maintains its own mind. I don't mind a little naughtiness, just as long as it doesn't become a chronic problem. I also like well trained horses that are responsive and know what I am asking of them. In my opinion, old or current show horses make some of the best trail horses, because they understand how to move off of your leg, and a horse that moves off of pressure is priceless on the me, I!!!

So enough about horses for now....I wanted to thank you all for your kind words about my blog slump!!! As I said in my comment to all of you, I was kind of hoping you would yell at me and tell me to "shut up, toughen up, and blog!!!" LOL!!!

I have also seen that some of you have passed on some awards to me, and I promise to get those up soon. I do not have any classes until next Thursday, so I should have plenty of time to relax...and to blog. Well, hope you have a great Superbowl Sunday! Me??? I am hitting the trails with Amber. See you soon!!


Natarojo said...

It's scarey how its often not the horse your on, but the entire situation at hand that can go wrong. In my books Jewel is an ace for not doing anything while your mom fell. I imagine she wasn't quiet in doing so! That sounds so painful!

Enjoy your break from school! I'm going on my 17th day in a row working... with another 15 or so to go before I have a day off from one job or another? Oi. I wish I had a hot tub or a Jaccuzzi right about now.... Anda laptop so I can keep up on my blogging/reading/commenting while out and about!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Mel- I LOVE all your pictures! Those braids on that hunter are just perfect!!

What an awful, awful time your Mom had. Jeez! Okay, so now I see how blackberry bushes can be BAD!

You know, if people really stopped to think about what COULD happen when we ride horses I think almost no one should ride. I certainly don't think about what could happen and I always try to forget what HAS happened in the past. That's the only way I can really enjoy myself- to live in the moment!

You are very lucky when you can find good trustworthy horses to ride.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I know that uneasy feeling. The only time a horse has ever put me in the hospital was simply because the person handling that horse did not do what they should have done and I was the one who got kicked. Double barreled to be exact...six broken and even a broken off rib and a massive hematoma(sp?) on my leg. I still don't know how my femur wasn't broken in half.

It didn't affect how I thought about riding broke horses. But made me very jumpy around horses on the ground for a couple of years-even my own horses. If I was doing something else or did not have my eyes focused and heard or felt movement behind me, I jumped. I kept riding and breaking a few colts and green horses and that didn't bother me either. But when I moved home and have tried working with some of these older horses, I found myself listening to my mom about how they could hurt me and by last fall it was really bothering me to think about stepping on a couple of those horses I was working for the first time. So I didn't.
Not moving ahead like I knew I should have has really irritated me over the last few months. I questioned whether it was still in me to break horses to ride. But a comment my mom made about a perfectly gentle gelding needing 3 to 4 months of groundwork made me mad enough to really realize how much I let my mom's fears affect my decisions.
I have my head and my gut together again. They have not let me down in the past and I need to trust them again. These ponies better be ready this year, because I am back in the game.

lytha said...

I find it interesting that when we're injured badly enough, our brains build in an extra protection mode, where when we're in the same situation, we experience fear when there never was fear, and it's autonomic. We have no control over this flight instinct, our brain is reminding our body of the injury, and telling it to get out.

I was afraid of ducking under an electric fence wire for a long time, because my dear horse Baasha kicked me in the head one night as I ducked under the fence behind him. I couldn't see him in the dark, and apparently he was fast asleep, and woke to me crawling under the fence behind him. I remember galloping hooves and blood coming down my head. (I got stitches from a doctor who was also camping in ridecamp that night!)

Baasha didn't mean to kick me in the head, I'm sure. He's not an aggressive horse, so I don't hold it against him. But for some reason, my body resisted when I tried to duck under fences for a while. Weirdy.

~lytha, no friend to blackberries

Grey Horse Matters said...

I love all your pictures they are beautiful. It's too bad that your mom was hurt so badly, but it's good your sister was okay. Jewel sounds like a great horse. I can see why you are like me and prefer a well trained mount. I think everyone should ride a dependable horse.

Anonymous said...

Good post - it's always better to have a healthy respect for what can happen on a pony.

Melanie said...

Thanks you guys!!! It was kind of therapeutic to write about this. :)

Best, Punchy! said...

Hello beautiful girl! BEAUTIFUL pictures too and a very informtive and TRUE post indeed!

RESPECT, respect, respect....for those darn beautiful BIG horses and all they could do to us in a split second!
God help us all!

subliminal message:

cdncowgirl said...

I have a HUGE fear of rearing. Its never happened to me and I've never actually witnessed an accident with it but it still scares me, because of a story I heard.
I used to volunteer at a riding centre for mentally & physically challenged children and adults. One of the barn managers told me about her friend that was helping at the barn to try to deal with her grief.
Her son's pony had reared and flipped over on him. He had been riding in a western saddle and the horn basically disemboweled him.
Now whenever I see a horse rear that flashes into my mind.

dp said...

Lisa (aka Rapunzel) sent me over here after I blogged about blackberries today. On Friday a stray vine pulled another blogging buddy off her bike resulting in a serious head injury requiring emergency surgery. I spent most of Sunday hacking away at ones encroaching on our property for the neighbour's place so that our horses don't get tangled up in them. They are trouble-makers!

Andrea said...

I was doubling with a 10 year old girl one time, and my horse reared and then started going crazy, so I told her we were getting off. I grabbed her and pulled her off. I landed on my back with her back on my chest. I looked up and my horse was rearing again, and about to land on us. So I rolled us to the left and my horse landed on my upper thigh. The girl was alright, and I had the wind knocked out of me and a huge bruse on my thigh. It was horrible. But for some reason, that didn't scare me. I didn't get scared of riding horses until I had my third child. I am not sure what it was, but that third kid came and now I am a wuss and won't ride anything.

Your mom was brave! And what a scary story!! I could only imagine. I would have been scared too!!

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

I just hate freak accidents like that! They are so scary and just happen in an instant. I'm a total boss mare on the ground too, I take no crap. But in the saddle I've become more of a wuss, I won't just get on any horse anymore, I've never been good and sticking bucks or rears, I've always just bailed.
Your poor mom! Sounds like Jewl really knew they were in trouble. Good horse.