Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pull on your finger

The beginning of this month, I decided to bring my horses, Scout and Nadia, back from the big field where they had been pastured for the last few weeks. I just didn't think there was enough grazing for six horses: my two, my neighbor's three, and my other neighbor's one horse. They weren't losing weight, in fact, because they were wandering around in search of food, they were in great condition, especially Nadia, my 26 year old mare. The neighbors nearest to the field have been doing major yard work, building a wall, putting in a pond and river, graveling, and landscaping their backyard, so my horses have alternated between being super curious and staying back from the activity. I thought it was good exposure for them to see all the tractors, trucks, backhoes, etc. nearby, but I didn't feel like renewing the lease with the food supply running so low. One day at the beginning of September, I called them to me. Even though I couldn't see them because the field was so big, if I called them, they always came running or trotting over to me. I usually tried to have treats in my pockets to reinforce this. I often bridled Scout and haltered Nadia and rode bareback around in the big field, ponying Nadia beside or behind Scout. We would ride up through the trees to the other side and back. Often the other horses would trail along behind us for a while and then stop to graze. Then they would come running after us again. It was almost like a game of tag or hide and seek.

On this day, I bridled Scout and haltered Nadia and brought them out of the field. Using the fence, I climbed on Scout and we rode around the neighborhood for a while and then I decided to turn them out with my other two horses, Annie and her foal, Yalla! I have a gate at either end of my arena so we rode up to the outside gate. Annie and Yalla! stood right near the gate anxiously awaiting the new arrivals. As I opened the gate to bring them in, I stood beside Scout in his bridle and Nadia in her halter, both to the right of me. Nadia saw Annie standing right there and panicked. Annie is alpha mare and Nadia trembles at Annie's look. Nadia pulled back and I thought she wrenched my arm out of it's socket at the shoulder. I thought, "Oh no, this can't be happening! My old mare is hurting me!" I gathered myself together, realized that my arm was okay in spite of the fact that I think she lifted me off the ground, and decided to again try to put them in the arena.

I shooed Annie back and we went towards the open gate. This time, Nadia pulled back again, but differently. Instead of being yanked up, I felt my hand get squashed or twisted, or something. I couldn't tell you what happened except that my middle finger really hurt. Somehow, I think it got jammed between Scout reins and Nadia's lead rope. Anyway, with my throbbing finger, I did get them in on the third try.

Then I went to the house and got some ice on my finger. I couldn't bend it and it was swollen at the middle joint. The next day I bought a finger support for it. I bought the medium size but had to return it because it was too tight. The pharmacist suggested a metal splint but I didn't want to wear anything like that so I bought a large size finger support. With the finger support, I am able to use my finger somewhat. (You can see my nifty little finger support in my blog header photo.)The swelling has gone done some now, so my large finger support is almost too big. Oh well!

Here is a picture of it from just a few days ago, three weeks after it happened. Please excuse my ugly hands! lol. I think all my fingers are slightly bent from riding horses and holding the reins.You can see that it's still swollen and slightly bent up at the joint. There is redness on the inside right of the joint, and a lumpy area. I took this picture today. Does this look like a fracture? I can bend it enough to use it but it's still very stiff. Either I jammed it or I fractured it, it doesn't really matter. I just don't know if it's ever going to be as good as it was.

This is a perfect example of how horses ARE dangerous and unpredictable. Nadia is my little angel who would never intentionally hurt me ever!

Another day, when I had all my horses turned out together in the arena, I walked down and sat on the log to watch them run around. The four of them ran around for a little while and then Annie walked up to me and stood, wanting to be loved on.

When she is in her pen, we have a game. I sit on the rails and she walks up next to them. I'll slide over onto her back and we'll go walking around the pen in circles and figure eights, whatever she wants to do. Then she comes back to the rail and I get off. We'll do this over and over.

On this day, she stood next to the log so I decided to climb aboard. I have never ridden her like this in the arena. In fact, when I ride her fully tacked up in saddle and bridle, she tends to shy and try to bolt from the outside corners of the arena. She thinks there are always spooks in the grass and the neighborhood is terrifying whenever I am riding her. Really, I think she just likes to play 'shying' games with me. Whatever, I never had the nerve to try riding her with no control before. On this day, I figured the worst thing that could happen is I would make a flying dismount.

So, with Annie contentedly standing next to the log, I scrambled on. I had to jockey for position because she still stood too high for me to just throw a leg over. I worried that my activity would upset her and cause her to run. I shouldn't have been afraid because as soon as I was on her back, she just moseyed around: grazing, licking and chewing the mineral block, nursing Yalla!, and wandering around. Over and over, Yalla! ran up to us and passed us. But Annie kept her head low and stayed relaxed. After fifteen or twenty minutes, she still hadn't wandered back to the log or near enough to any fences for me to dismount so I when she stopped for a minute, I slid off her back.

I was so happy and proud of her! This mare has had so many changes over the past year. She has been a great mom to Yalla! and I trust her so much more than I ever thought possible. She is still high strung, always will be, but she trusts me now too.

Pull on your finger - song: Rock 'n Roll Suicide, artist: DAvid Bowie, album: TRAFOZSATSFM


Gail said...

You trust them so they trust you.

Glad your finger is better.

Cara said...

Pretty amazing!
It's always interesting to look at a horse you've known a long time. You see them in the whole time, not just how they are now. Does that make any sense?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The red mark makes me think there could be a fracture. My horses have broken several of my fingers, and the finger usually swells, turns red, then black and blue. I just wear a store-bought splint until it heals, because a doctor can't do much unless it's dislocated. One time I had a doctor cut off my wedding ring after I broke my ring finger and the ring embedded itself into my skin. I hope you get more use of your finger soon. My finger that was fractured at the joint never went back to its previous size, and I get arthritis in it. It's not too bad, though. My husband jokes about his fingers and calls them sausages, because they are so big and fat from being broken over the years.

The Wades said...

Whatever it is, it sure looks painful. Ouch.

I liked hearing the game you two play. They have such personalities.

Tammy said...

OUCH! Hope it is doing better. Glad your herd is back together.

Been terribly busy & am behind on visiting my favorite blogs. This fall weather is awesome!