A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses

I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Heather decides to test the ground

The only picture I have, is the same one that Leah posted on her blog.  This is my helmet.  My 2 month old helmet.  It's an IRH Elite, super comfy, and the type of helmet that makes me WANT to put it on.

I had begged for this from my birthday.  I was so tired of the less then comfortable helmets, I tended to not want to put them on, and that habit lead to me forgetting my helmet more often then I used it.

Well, when I got this one, my barn buddies helped me get in the habit of wearing it.  THANK YOU ALL!  And it very likely made a very big difference in how I'm doing right now.  Those red circles are the cracks and splits in it after my little rodeo.

So, today was a pony party Sunday.  My friends show up, and we all have a nice and relaxing morning with the horses.  One of my fillies, a 4 year old quarter horse named Amber, has been doing great in her lessons.  I decided that it would he good for her to learn how to ride with other horses around.  Since the other horses would be packers, and her best friend, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

The ride started out great.  Amber was dead on perfect, and being a little lady.  Ishka was the problem!  Keeley was good, or at least as far as I could tell, and Jaz was being Jaz.  About half way through, mom asked me if I could take a spin on Ishka, because she was being a pain at the trot.  I told mom I'd swap with her, and let her ride Amber.  Now, Amber is only doing the walk still and nothing more, but she's been perfect.  Well, let me tell you, the swap wasn't such a good idea.

Mom got down the long side of the arena, and Amber stalled out.  She kicked, and tapped, but got nothing, so gave her a tap on the rump with her hand.  Oops!  Amber decided that was terrifying!  She tucked her bumm and scooted, then scared herself, and went bonkers.  Mom ended up on the ground, and for a second there, I thought mom would get hung up.  I hopped off Ishka, and grabbed Amber.  With out a second thought, I handed Ish back to mom, and climbed on the greenie.

Here's where it got "fun".  Amber was still nervous, because she wasn't sure why a rider had tried to eat her, or something.  But I kept it calm, and cool, and no big deal.  We went down to the far end of the arena, and were headed back to the front side, when Leah came trotting up behind us.  Nothing big, and Amber had been seeing this for a while.  The problem was, I gave her a solid tap in the ribs at the exact wrong moment.  Amber had a panic attack. 

My little Champagne filly went panic blind.  She bolted to the gate.  I almost had her under control, when she totally shut off her mind.  I could feel her fighting the bit and digging in, and worst of all she was bolting directly towards the pipe fence.  The fence isn't tall, only about 4.5 feet, but Amber isn't a jumper.  I knew that there were only 2 possible outcomes from this:  She would hit the fence HARD, or she would jump it, and drop herself on me.  I didn't like those options, so I made my own.

At a blind run, I tried the turn to stop.  Some call this a one rein stop, but since Amber isn't trained for a one rein stop yet, it wasn't a true ORS.  I simply was trying to control the bolt.  But no, it wasn't happening.  That left one good idea in my mind.  Time to leave!

I normally bail off to the right.  Not sure why, but that's my best side to fall on.  Sadly, Amber acted as if she was going to turn right, and that would have left me under her feet.  A place I really don't want to be.  I chose to bail left.

I'm one of those lucky few that doesn't fall in slow motion.  When I decide it's time to leave, I get very calm, and just go.  I don't remember it, I don't tense up, and I don't have many of the concerns others do about hitting the ground.  I simply bail, roll, make a mess, and then it's all done.  Because of the speed Amber had attained, today was a bit different.

I bailed left, went limp around 45 degrees, and that is all I remember of the fall.  The next thing I knew, I was confused, and couldn't breath.  There was sand in my nose, dirt in my mouth, and I felt like I had been buried alive.  I sat up, only to hear some woman (still not sure whom) telling me that I shouldn't sit up.  Screw that noise, I had to breathe.

I couldn't recall where I was, but that's not anything weird.  I always need time to figure it out after a good hard fall, and this was nothing different.  I did the self check, I knew I was in the arena, but mentally I felt like I had just woken up with too little sleep.  My mind wasn't working well.  Whom ever I was talking to asked questions, and I answered that I didn't know a thing, and I didn't remember how I got there.

Evidently, it was the paramedic I ended up talking to.  I never heard the ambulance arrive.  I have no memory of being loaded onto a stretcher, and my memories of the drive to the hospital are a bit blurry and much shorter then the ride should have been.  Of course, over time, I began to remember more, which is normal for me, and I realized I had on a neck brace.  Welp, that means I trashed myself good, so I should be a good patient, and not move my neck.

Once in the hospital, I kept dosing off.  I remember the cat scan, kinda.  I remember the morphine well (nausea, ick!) and then, I was doing much better.  Mom was with me, and was worried silly, but I'm just SO glad I didn't let her back on that horse.  I take a fall well.... mom.... she's um.... more then 50, and hates to fall (tenses up badly). 

In the end, I was diagnosed with a concussion, but ONLY because I blacked out in the arena.  Doc said that I basically have bumps and bruises and not a thing to worry about.  They seemed very confused as to why I had so few injuries, until I mentioned my helmet, and that it was trashed.  They asked me a couple of questions, and I told them that yes, I have a quality helmet, proper for riding, and it's fitted right, not loose.  The doctor said that might be what saved my neck and definitely what saved my brain.

I admit, they took cat scans, x rays, and did a battery of tests on me, because they were just positive that I had to have broken my neck by the reports from mom and whom ever else the paramedics talked to.  I have a minor pulled muscle in my neck... the side that did NOT hit the ground.

My worst injury..... scrapes and bruises on my hip.  Nothing serious at all.  Oddly, I have no fear of riding that horse again, no worries about taking another fall, and wish I could be out riding right now.  I know better, and by doctor's orders, I will be off horses for the week. 

My biggest concern..... how long will it take me to replace my helmet.  Man, that thing was so comfortable!  I haven't seen it in person yet (Jae won't let me out of the computer chair or bed) but I will tomorrow.  Just the right color, just the right fit.... and it likely saved my neck today.  Literally.

15 comments:

  1. Wow. You are so very lucky!! You got that helmet just in time. whew!

    ~Lisa

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  2. Yeah.... Tell me about it. And I'm SO thankful I was on her for the bad fall, and not my mother. Sheesh, I hate to think about that. I'll take a fall any day and not thing about it, but mom....She doesn't need to fall any more.

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  3. That was quick. Masochist. Your helmet is in the barn on the 2-person iron seat.

    When you were sitting on the ground, after Amber finally stopped, Jaz and I came over, and I said something like, "Cleaned your clock, didn't she?" You looked at me like I was from Mars. You had no idea what I was talking about.

    And Mike, who asked that we call him Fiaca [Fee-AH-kuh] (don't ask me, cuz I don't know) finally showed up, very contrite about being late. Sarah and I showed him around, he filled out his paperwork, and he'll be back. What a nice guy. He fits right in.

    And you just cool your jets, missy. Take it easy. Let your body heal.

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  4. Masochist, no way! But, with enough morphine, it's a now or never type of thing. No pain ... NOW. Tomorrow I will hurt like the dickens! My head's fine. It's the hip that hurts, and honestly, Dream dumped me harder. I just stayed awake for that one.

    In SCA people tend to use pseudonyms of a medieval base. Many times people become so used to them that it's second nature to answer to them. So, Fiacha it is! Makes it easy for me.

    I really do appreciate y'all taking care of my horses, and showing him around. I feel like a right dunce getting a trip to the ER out of that. But, when I came to, it was like living in a dream. I didn't know where I was, and I was SO disoriented.

    Hell, I couldn't even remember what horse I was riding, or what happened. Of course, that's pretty normal for me after a good fall. I go totally limp, including mentally. I admit, this time was the worst I have done (never lost consciousness before).

    Interestingly, I had no fear about riding, getting back on, or retraining my lil golden girl. In fact, I'm rather excited to take her back a few steps, and fix this problem, and make a nice riding pony out of her.

    Oh, and I'm on Doc's orders to do... nothing. So, computer time it is for me. =)

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  5. Helmets are good, period, end of sentence. Just glad you're OK. Young horses can get suddenly scared - that's what helmets are for. Take care and make sure you get your rest.

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  6. So glad you weren't seriously hurt, nor your mom! Take it easy for a few days. Like you said, no telling what will hurt once the morphine wears off. And maybe start back on a more predictable horse, just to make sure all your gyros are working correctly.

    I don't know about IHR, but Troxel replaces any helmet damaged in a fall, I believe absolutely free. You should check into your company's policy.

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  7. Thanks Evensong, I'm already on the "checking" part. Soon as I could type a coherent sentence, I sent off the email (not open on Sundays it seems).

    I'm already bored though. Can't grain the horses tonight, I've been ordered to "rest" by the better half. No riding for a week. Gah! So, tomorrow, Amber and I will have a cookie day, and I'll make it all up to her. Poor baby was so scared.

    I do have plans for a nice bubble bath though. My hip is killing me!

    You know what sucks the most? I had planned to back Scorch and Katy tomorrow. I put off Scorch because he needed a reset on his shoes, and ... I think I'm cursed! I want to ride my baby boy SO badly. Jae says no though. There was some threat about having to feed myself if I was going to be stupid, or something like that.

    And I can't cook!

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  8. Thank goodness you're all right! I took a couple of pictures of your helmet too; I'll send them over in the morning when I have a chance to plug in the camera.

    If I remember correctly, that was your mom telling you not to sit up - shortly after she took what may have been a flying leap off Ishka and went running across the arena to you! The way you landed was kind of concerning - your shoulders were pretty much flat on the ground, but your legs were twisted off to one side, and I think your mom thought you landed on your head, so I can kind of see why they were worried about your neck.

    Poor Amber stood with me for a while, with her nose in Keeley's flank. She was a little nervous about me taking the reins over her head, and a little nervous about the crownpiece of the halter moving over her head, but she seemed to be OK otherwise - she was a perfect little lady about getting her saddle and bridle removed and heading out to the pasture.

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  9. Yeah, your head and shoulder were facing one way and your torso and legs were twisted the other. I knew you didn't hit head first; your whole side kind of hit at once. It's wasn't pretty.

    If anyone gets by a health food store: Arnica Montana is good for the aches. It's a holistic medicine you dissolve under your tongue. Hot baths are good. And when you can stand it, massage it. It may be awhile until you are totally pain free. Although mine doesn't hurt, it now stiffens up after I sit awhile.

    Although it's short, Fiaca still seems like a mouthful, especially for such an unassuming guy.

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  10. Hi Heather !!!! Great that you are not hurt seriously!!

    Um your helmet... MOST helmet manufacturers will replace them for free or little cost after a fall and cracking. Especially if they are fairly new. Something to look into at least.

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  11. Oddly, this morning I don't hurt as bad as expected. I feel like I did some strange work out, but nothing that makes me want to lay in bed and not move anything, if that makes sense.

    My hip, where I did land, is scraped up and bruised, but not too bad all things considering, and my neck on the side I did NOT land on is pulled a bit, but I'm more then ready for a message, and I believe in many hot baths! Of course, having a couple yesterday every time I tried to stiffen up may be the reason it's not too bad today?

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  12. Sounds like even with the helmet you "scrambled your egg" a little .glad you are feeling OK today.I got a chuvvkle out of wanting to get right back at it .I was dumped quite badly a few years ago and the horse came back and jumped on me leaving a huge hematoma on my inner thigh.the doc was soo sure my femur was broken till I said ,no I roide the horse before I came to hospital.Her eyes opened wide and she said"why in the hell would you do that" my respnse? "i am gonna be waay to sore tomorrow!" They xrayed anyway and it was just a massive bruies that took a full year for the nerve to come back.

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  13. HA! Yep, I'm glad to know I'm not the only crazy one out there. I'm already itching to be back in the saddle, and can not believe how SLOW today has passed. I feel like it should be midnight, and it's 3:30pm.

    If I don't find a past time for the next few days, I think my friends and family are going to kill me to put me out of THEIR misery.

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  14. Oddly, this morning I don't hurt as bad as expected. I feel like I did some strange work out, but nothing that makes me want to lay in bed and not move anything, if that makes sense.

    My hip, where I did land, is scraped up and bruised, but not too bad all things considering, and my neck on the side I did NOT land on is pulled a bit, but I'm more then ready for a message, and I believe in many hot baths! Of course, having a couple yesterday every time I tried to stiffen up may be the reason it's not too bad today?

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  15. Yeah, your head and shoulder were facing one way and your torso and legs were twisted the other. I knew you didn't hit head first; your whole side kind of hit at once. It's wasn't pretty.

    If anyone gets by a health food store: Arnica Montana is good for the aches. It's a holistic medicine you dissolve under your tongue. Hot baths are good. And when you can stand it, massage it. It may be awhile until you are totally pain free. Although mine doesn't hurt, it now stiffens up after I sit awhile.

    Although it's short, Fiaca still seems like a mouthful, especially for such an unassuming guy.

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