This photo was taken one year ago today.
On that fateful day, I was riding Scout with a different bridle (curb bit) than usual (snaffle bit with side-pull noseband) and a bareback pad without stirrups. We were doing fine until we came upon a couple of neighbors out walking their several large dogs. The dogs surrounded us and Scout panicked. He reared up and, because we were standing on the edge of the road, he lost his footing and we went over backwards down the embankment. Fortunately, I was wearing a helmet so, when I hit my head, that didn't get hurt. I did bend my glasses and cut my face. I bent a finger and the joint hurt for months. I landed on my tailbone and that hurt for weeks. I broke my ankle on the inside and had to have surgery to put in a plate and screws.
See here for more details.
I spent several weeks in a wheelchair and had a few sessions of physical therapy. Even now, I have constant discomfort in my ankle and I cannot flex it fully. The best PT I had was walking in the snow this winter going to the barn to feed the horses. Without those long, difficult walks in the deep, uneven, crusty snow, I probably would have less flexibility in my ankle than I do have.
Today, I was hoping to ride Scout to the place where we had our accident, but, alas, I got home too late and it got dark too quickly. I did however, ride Scout around the arena, in the dark, with my daughter on Nadia. We had fun, even if we did just walk and jog a few times. But the night air was chilly and we made it a short, uneventful ride.
It was a very different story this morning. . .
I woke up at my usual time, around 6:30, and took all the dogs out for a walk. Usually, Yalla! will be at the end of the arena by the gate waiting for me to come over and pet her or give her animal crackers, which I always have in my pocket. Annie sometimes comes down for a visit too, and when Nadia and Scout are in the arena they come too. I always enjoy visiting with my equine herd even though they are like little kids, vying for my attention. But this morning, Yalla! didn't come down to see me. Annie came part way and then went back to the barn. I figured that maybe I had caught her off guard, she was still asleep, or it was just too cold and she didn't want to leave her stall. It was 29 degrees and Annie was wearing a blanket. I thought nothing more about it and took the dogs inside.
Soon, I went out back to feed the horses and alpacas and for some crazy reason, I brought along the camera. Yalla! was still nowhere to be seen. Nadia and Scout were in their stalls and Annie came up to the fence as I approached. Then I could see Yalla! standing in her stall in the distance. 'Strange,' I thought to myself. 'That's just not like her. Why isn't she coming over? I wonder what's wrong?'
I hurried into her stall and immediately saw the problem. Her right leg was stretched forward and her hoof was up on the pipe rail, or rather, through the pipe rail and caught against the portable panel that we had added to the alpacas' pen.
She couldn't free it. I wondered how long she had been standing like that, hours probably, all night possibly. Otherwise, she looked to be all right. I ran (I'm still kind of stiff-legged from my broken ankle so it must have been quite a sight!) back towards the house to wake my son and then, midway, I decided that I could do this by myself. After all, what would I do if I lived alone? I hurried back to the alpaca pen and pulled the latch pins out of the panels nearest her hoof. I worried that the panel would fall against the pipe rails and pin her foot further but, fortunately, they stayed upright. I pulled at the portable panels to move them away from Yalla! hoping that she would pull her foot out. She didn't move. I let go of the panels and they stayed upright so I ran back around to Yalla! I lifted her hoof and put it on the ground. She suddenly realized that she was free and took off away from me at a run, defiantly kicking out at me as she ran away with her neck stretched and her head snaked out. What a little beastie; she looked like she was saying, 'what took you so long to rescue me?' Sigh! I AM glad that she wasn't hurt though.
Here's where she caught her hoof, just above the lower rail.
What a day!