When I hit the ground, I thought “No, this is not happening.”
In my years of riding, I have fallen off more horses than I can count.
I’ve been rolled on, stepped on, thrown into fences, trees – you name it.
Almost every situation you can imagine to go wrong in horse riding, I have been through it.
But this time was different.
It was a hot afternoon and I was riding a young horse named Lance.
He is a very large fellow – as you can see by our photos below. Taken 3 weeks before this incident.
After a jump, he immediately started broncking.
For those not familiar with equestrian terms, broncking is another term for when a horse ‘bucks’ or starts to kick back their hooves into the air. With all my experience, this shouldn’t be a problem.
We were about to reach the end of the arena and I remember thinking, ‘fuck, I hope he is not going to try to jump out.’
The fence around the arena was not tall, and Lance being so large – could very easily jump out. .
On the other side of the arena was an area where they store miscellaneous barn items. The area is not maintained and there were holes. I knew if we ended up on the other side of the fence, there was a good chance Lance might break his leg.
I turned him with all my might. As his body moved right, mine moved left. I started to do a slow motion fall.
On my journey to the ground, my foot didn’t get the same memo we were vacating.
My foot was still in the stirrup.
And, Lance was still broncking – as he went up, I was coming down – foot still in stirrup and snap.
My thoughts were racing as I hit the ground.
This can not be happening.
I had big plans just a few weeks away. I was taking a trip to Spain and had a couples retreat that I was meant to lead.
For the first time ever after falling off of a horse, I knew right away I needed to get to a hospital.
I will also never forget how my screams filled the room and floor of the ER. They mentioned that most people would just pass out – why my body didn’t just pass out I will forever remiss.
(I want to think that it was because I am tough:))
The break was bad. So bad they called the X-ray machine to me. The ER doctor said ‘No one is to move me.’
When the Orthopedic surgeon came down to set my leg, the ER doctor held my hand and told me I was going to be ok. You know it is bad when the ER doctor is holding your hand.
It didn’t help that he was also giving one of those “you’re going to be okay, but I really don’t know.”
I needed surgery.
Often times when you break your bone as badly as I did, they like to wait a few days so if it can, the skin will be able to slightly heal from the inside. Otherwise, immediate surgery may damage your body further.
I was still in good spirits, cracking jokes in the ER. I must have been quite funny because months later my surgeon asked me to tell him the one from the ER again.
As I layed in bed waiting for the surgery day, I was thinking of how grateful I was for modern day medicine. If this was in a previous time, I would be strapped to a board, given a wooden leg splint, and sent on my way.
Warning: next 2 are a little tough…..
My recovery has been long.
Over 2 years later and 2 surgeries later, 1 year of rehab weekly. Just this last month I am starting to run again.
Most days, I am still in a bit of discomfort. My ankle has quite a bit of scar tissue.
A gentle reminder of how vulnerable our bodies are.
And yet, how they can heal themselves.
I am grateful to be able to walk (hopefully run soon).
I remember like yesterday miserably climbing the 3 flights of stairs on my ass (no elevator in my building). Or the dreaded – have to pee – in the middle of the night crutches in the dark.
I am grateful to more fully understand what it means to lose mobility. To be injured and ‘out for the count.’ I am grateful that I can now more deeply relate to those whose bodies have changed this way.
More than anything, I am grateful for being one step closer to riging again.
Want to read what I learned about sex from my injury?