Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Down on my knees

This weekend really went down hill for me. Let me start at the beginning...

I belong to a "Girl's Club" of ex-employees of a certain company that I once worked for, actually, my first 'real' job. These employees were a close group so when several of them quit, they started a club for ex-employees. I used to tease them, asking if I could join them and they always said, "when you quit". Long story short, I eventually did quit and am now a member although I always seem to have plans whenever they get together so I'm not a regular and don't often get the opportunity to visit with the girls. Every month there is a luncheon hosted by one of the members. May was my month to host the luncheon. I chose a Chinese/American buffet. My mom had planned to come to town for the lunch but she got hurt and couldn't drive down. It seems that she fell when she went to pick up a heavy watering can and hurt her arm. She assures me she is okay, however. (?I hope?)

I audited a trail clinic at an arena in Albuquerque. I would have attended with my horse but I already had the luncheon set up so I only managed to see the last hour or so. There were trail obstacles set up and each horse and rider were given the opportunity to negotiate them. I would have loved to join them. But I was able to get ideas to use at home too.
Here's a bridge crossing and a not so anxious bridge crosser.
This gelding looked amazingly like Annie.Here's a different way to lay ground poles.
I missed seeing them taking the little jump but I can't see any issues here; it's so small.
I want to make one of these. I can just imagine how the horses think it's a monster. Again, I missed seeing them work with it so I wonder how they all did. It was very windy when I arrived so one standard had already blown down.
I appreciated seeing what I did of the clinic and I received a handout of possible obstacles on the ACTRA trail rides. Most of all, I was glad to find this community arena in Albuquerque so that when we have snow and mud at home I can go ride there.

The next day, the plan was to meet at a trailhead in the Sandia Mountains and go for a short trail ride, using the newly acquired skills of negotiating the obstacles. I was excited to go because my older son completed his Eagle project there, a foot/horse bridge, and we would be crossing it with the horses.

I had been tossing around who to bring. I considered Annie because I wanted to see what she would be like out on the trails. I thought of bringing both Nadia and Scout because I like to ride Scout and pony Nadia. But then I thought it might be too much to have an extra horse along in the group so I settled on just bringing Scout.

Sunday morning, I fed the horses and then loaded all kinds of stuff into my truck: water, buckets, hay, whip, long lead, brushes, saddle, blanket, bridle, helmet, and anything else I could think of. Jeez, it's like the first trip out with the new baby!

I waited until Scout had finished eating his breakfast and then caught him. I went over to the trailer and proceeded to lead him inside with grain as an enticement. He loves food and will go anywhere for a bite. I buckled him to the trailer tie in the front left corner of my new (old) stock trailer and turned to walk out and close the middle door behind him. He suddenly pulled back and the bungee trailer tie I was using stretched and stretched and then broke! I was in shock! I had assumed that the bungee would give a little and pull them back but it just wasn't made for that kind of torque, I guess. Bad, bad idea!!
Scout began running backwards out the full length of the stock trailer and fell out at the end. He lay on his side in a heap and then he got up and stood there shaking. Needless to say, I stood there shaking too. I looked him over for wounds. He had scrapped his elbow pretty good leaving some hair on the door. He had a small swelling on his forehead too. Thankfully, there seemed to be nothing serious.

I decided to reload him. Reluctantly he came up into the trailer but he immediately backed out again. I did get him to load a third time but again he ran backwards out. I feel so completely inexperienced about trailering. Now I've got my so-so trailer loading gelding terrified of the trailer. I was at a loss as to what to do next. I decided to put him away for the day. I'd spent several hours working with him already and had missed the ride anyway. I led him up to the trailer step and jumped onto his back to ride him back to the barn in his halter, bareback. Boy was that a big mistake...

but not for the reason you might think.

He is great in a halter and with the grass all around he was happy to stand around and eat. What happened was, when I threw my leg over his back, my bad knee cracked and I had intense pain, blacking out pain, and waves of nausea. I was able to scramble up the rest of the way and then I sat there, fighting the sensations of wanting to throw up and seeing stars. I wondered how I was ever going to get down. I let him graze while I pulled myself together. Then we rode to the barn and I was able to open the gate and ride through to the barn where I went up to a fence and stepped off. By this time, my leg was feeling a little better. I put him away and went to my house thinking that it probably was a good thing I hadn't gone on the trails and had this happen.

I considered going to Urgent Care, I hurt that bad, but decided to wait and make an appointment during the week.

Down on my knees - song: Buddha of Suburbia, artist: David Bowie, album: Buddha of Suburbia


Tammy said...

Is this your ski accident knee? Yeah, it's probably time, Val, to get it checked. I know I would hate to right before riding season, but best to find out now.

Continue to work with Scout. Hang a hay bag in the trailer and just let him stand in there and eat without pressure.

I know there are 101 thoughts about tying in a trailer. I don't know if I would be inclined to tie if I was just hauling 1 in a stock trailer. If he weren't tied, he could find where he wanted to stand. I don't tie in our 4 horse but do in our 2 horse.

Shirley said...

Hope you don't have anything seriously wrong with your knee. I can see loading lessons for Scout coming up! Hope he gets over his issues, so that you can get in some trail riding.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

What a bummer. You kept missing things you wanted to do, went backwards in the trailer training and your knee recovery.

I can help you a little with the trailer training. Never attach the trailer tie until the horse is closed into his partition or until the back doors are closed. This is very difficult when you have no one to help. I usually thread the lead rope through the window and get someone else to stand at the horse's head an hold it while I close the partition and doors, and then I walk around the outside of the trailer and hook the tie up to the horse's halter through the window when he's got nowhere to go.

However, when I'm alone, I can't use that technique. A lady taught me to stand behind the partition while encouraging the horse into the trailer and once the horse gets all the way in, close the partition and drop the lead rope. I don't know what your trailer is like, though. You may have to teach him to self load, which requires many hours on him jumping in and out, in and out, but only let him rest when he is in. If he can rest when he is in the trailer, he won't be in as big of a hurry to get out.

I hope both you and Scout recover quickly from your injuries.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Wow, Val, you lead an interesting life. Take care of yourself. Scout will need a lot of slow training in the trailer. Good luck with that if you tackle it.


Cara said...

Oh Crap!
Yesterday was a disaster for me to, but totally different. Maybe we share karma.

There was a big stink on the CD-L Carriage Driving List earler this year against bungee ties. I guess when they break, depending on where, they can whip around and hit an eye or other face part(horse or human) and cause a lot of damage, especially if there is a snap or part of a snap attached.

You were actually pretty lucky.

It's no secret that trailering gives me the willies.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh man! Your poor knee! I hope it's nothing 'surgery-wise serious'. But it doesn't sound good. It was probably already weakened from your ski injury. I agree with your previous opinion that once you injure your knee, especially when you're older and your ligaments and tendons aren't as tight, that the knee isn't ever the same.
Mine is still weak and I don't feel confident to go without my knee brace anywhere, except for inside the house. The knee feels unstable and I don't trust it to hold me up if I trip or torque it in a sideways or too forward or backward motion. I can't imagine not wearing my Professional's Choice knee brace anymore.

We're you wearing your knee brace when you reinjured your knee?

Sorry about the trailering incident. I'm glad that Scout wasn't seriously injured, though. I've heard similar nightmare stories about the bungee ties, too, so I don't use them. I have the thick nylon, lead-rope style ties, with the emergency release buckles, in my trailer instead.

I can relate to the trailering troubles. I went through a week's worth of trailering 're-training' with Apache, right after she came here and it can be so frustrating. First I had trouble getting her in the trailer and then I had trouble getting her to stay in. But I made sure not to clip the trailer tie on until I had the doors closed and went around to the front and reached through the little door to clip her halter to the tie.

Thankfully, Apache is a thinker and usually takes her time stepping back out of the trailer. She even waits for me to tell her it's ok now before she steps out. Horses that bolt backwards out of the trailer scare me. The first horse I looked at before I bought Apache was like that. She came close to breaking my arm when I tried to close the door behind her. gah!

The trail clinic looked like fun. I got a lot of ideas from the trail clinic I audited last month in Corrales, too. Along with the ACTHA ride and website, I decided to create a mini-obstacle course up in my paddock. First thing I put up was the Vine Simulator. She rode through one at the last ACTHA ride, so I knew Apache wouldn't be phased by it, but it's still fun to practice.

That's too bad you missed the trail ride, though. Maybe you'll be able to participate in the two ACTHA rides on June 12 and 13? You should really consider it. They are lots of fun!

I sure hope your knee is ok.


jane augenstein said...

Oh, Val, what a bad day you had! Gilly and I have had trailering issues too, he has never run backward to get out, my neighbors horse does that one. Gilly just would put his front feet in and that was as far as he would go. I had a horse trainer from a clinic I went to come over to load him. He did fine then but that was a month ago. I haven't had to take him anywhere since but...knowing Gilly he will try to be a bugger again if I want to take him somewhere. Wish I had a trailer to practice with all the time.
Hope you knee is better now!
Do take care!!!

fernvalley01 said...

OUCH! Hope you get that knee sorted out. As far as the trailer goes ,without being there to see I can't suggest much, other than keep loading him .Give him a treat (love or goodies in the trailer then back him out slowly without having tied him . Or haul him loose. MAybe it is the idea of the short tie?

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Thanks, everybody. Yes, I admit I am ignorant about trailering. I thought about leaving him loose. My main concern was getting him to STAY in the trailer. Now I am going to have to retrain him but I plan on getting help. I will see if the horse trainer that helped me teach Annie can give me some Trailering 101. So much for my Memorial Day plans of taking the 4 horses to my Mom's to see how she's doing.

Breathe said...

I did a whole series on trailer loading. Cibolo wouldn't go in, Lily would blow out.

With Lily we load her in the back, that way she can't build up a load of steam. I could see the panic on her face when she'd get going, I bet she had something similar happen.

Cibolo isn't perfect loader yet and sometimes has a fit. In consistent. But I only tie when they are in place. I have the same bungee ties, I may replace.

We did the usual, feeding in a trailer, standing while putting the butt bar, etc, etc.

For both our horses it took the usual: time, patience, firmness and a few horse cookies.

Trailer woes (pun intended) started in August on my blog if you want to read.

So what is up with your knee? Have you found out yet?