Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Trauma Pages Cont....

Now for part two of why Melanie is a cautious rider...lol!!! (This is actually the part that Chelsi suggested that I share with you) Oh, and I wanted to say that I appreciate all of your comments about my mom and sister. This is the first time that I have sat down and written about that incident, and it was really helpful for me. In retrospect, I think that what damaged me so bad about that accident, was having to live/deal with the aftermath of it.

Have any of you seen someone who has had 1/2 of their face ripped off, or seen someone who has undergone facial surgery??? Trust me...it is really nasty. The swelling that accompanies trauma to a face is unbelievable, and my mother looked like the Elephant Man for about two weeks. Not only that, but I was a typical "I hate my mother" teenager, and when she almost died....well lets just say it made me feel really guilty. Like it was somehow my fault that she got hurt. So there you have it! I think that I am now cured...lol!!!

(Shadest and Sienna circa 1995)

Now on to part two....This part is really simple. Most of you have read all about Shadest (my childhood horse of 16 years), and about how wonderful he was. And he truly was...don't get me wrong, but he had one tragic flaw, and that was that he had the habit of turning into a complete, full-out, rodeo bronc when you cantered or galloped him. And I am not talking about a little crow hop here and a bigger buck there...he literally would explode like one of those horses on the old Western movies. (I think that most of you have seen those and know what I am talking about) (Shadest and Beki in a Showmanship class)

Now I would like to think that he bucked like that because he was ridden by a bunch of young punks, and so he got away with it, but I remember the first time he did it to me, I jumped off of him when he was done, and literally beat the S%*@# out of him. Once I knew to watch for it, I would ride it out as best I could ,and then beat the snikies out him. I had chiropractors, saddle fitters, massage therapists, and acupuncturists check him out (multiple times), and no one could find any cause for his behavior either. And the bad part was that he was the best horse other than that. He would go anywhere and do anything, but you literally placed your life in grave danger when you cantered or galloped him.

Trainers??? Well they wanted me to "leave" Shadest with them for a month or two, and they promised to get the buck out of him, but being a silly, romantic teenage girl, I wasn't about to let that happen. In retrospect, I should have sent him to someone (with a good reputation), or my parents should have forced me to...I don't know.....

(Me and Shadest circa 1992)

As he got older, and his training kept progressing, I began to ride more and more English style, and had a Dressage instructor suggest that I ride him in a jointed Pelham with either double reins or a connector, so I would at least have some leverage to stop him from bucking. Thankfully it helped out a lot, but he was still dangerous, because you never knew when he was going to explode...it wasn't every time I rode him.

Thankfully I was never hurt on him, but as I got older, my sisters started showing and riding him, and Amber sustained a concussion or two, and a broken arm. By that point, we had had him for so long that selling him wasn't an option, and I began to look around for a trainer to take him to, as I was now a mother and did not want to risk my life anymore. As you all know he ended up colicking and being put down, so I never had the chance to try that last step, but I can tell you that if he were still alive today, I would not let my kidlets ride him any faster than a trot/jog. Even if he had gone to a trainer and they had fixed the problem. Would I still ride him??? Probably, but that is only because I knew how to keep an iron grip on his reins when we cantered.
(Shadest and Jen)

So now you can probably see why I will only ride well-broke and trustworthy horses today. I have been there and done that, and I don't want to do it again...lol!!!
Old Bo Bo has been such a blessing in my life, because I knew him from when Amber had him before, and even though he does occasionally have his out of body experiences (what Arab doesn't??) he doesn't buck or rear or try to kill me...lol!!!

Well I hope that I haven't bored you all to tears, and I do have one more tidbit that I want to share with you (later), and then I will get back to blogging as usual...I promise!


Natarojo said...

Yikes that definately sounds like it would have been interesting to have to deal with! And very smart of you to not want to pass his problems on to someone else. I am sorry to hear of his passing. What a beautiful boy!

Pony Girl said...

Wow, interesting issue w/Shadest. Maybe you'll never know why he was such a bucker. Interesting that it was only at the canter or gallop, though! I'm glad that nobody was hurt and he was able to enjoy a productive life with you even though he had this bad habit. He was sure handsome!
I don't think I could deal with such an issue at my current age. When I was young, I had a young horse that reared. It was pretty bad. I dealt with it the best I knew how at 13 yrs. of age. But if I had a horse that bucked or reared now, I'd have to enlist the help of a trainer.

Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

Wow, it is amazing that you had the courage to keep riding that horse! I dont know that I would have, even if he only did it at a canter and gallop. But I can also appreciate that good behavior and the love you have for a horse do not always go hand in hand. Thanks for sharing and *tip of the hat* to you for sticking with him!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Shadest was beautiful and obviously had many more wonderful qualities than his penchant for bucking. We live and we learn...and still we love those horses!!

Melanie said...

To all...I know what you mean about being brave enough to keep riding him, although now I would call it "stupid" enough. It is so hard to go back and try to come up with possible explanations for his bucking.

He was so much more to me than just a "horse." He was my lifeblood. He kept me sane. And he helped me get through a really rough time in my life.

If my parents had forced me to get rid of him, I would have hated them, and if I had gotten rid of him, I don't know if I would be sitting here as the person I am today.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Interesting post about Shadest and his 'issues', Mellie.

You know, Baby Doll crowhops if I get her into a canter sometimes. She's fine at the trot and walk, though. Which of course, as a beginner, I prefer anyway. lol!

Mostly Baby Doll is just a lazy slowpoke, but even she surprised me with her out-of-body experience on Christmas Eve. We had moved past the spook and I had relaxed and she felt relaxed, too....ad then BAM! Her sideways jiggy teleportation...totally took me off guard and off balance.

I suppose all horses have that in them. But it almost makes me want to get a deadhead older horse, just to make me feel even a tad bit safer out on the trails.


Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

Wonder what his issue really was? They are so tricky sometimes. Lester has never been much of a bucker, though he's bucked me off 4-5 times :-p, pretty much everytime he's decided to buck I've come off, but I don't think I even try to stay on...
Shadest was def' a handsome horse!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Horses can only buck if they get their heads. Western riding promotes that head down on a long, loose rein. Is there a chance the reins were just too long and he took advantage of the situation?
When I feel my horses getting "bucky", I just pull in the reins and tighten up their heads.