March 17, 2015

Pi Day

Last Saturday evening was beautiful, calm, and unusually warm at our farm in southwest Iowa. So, what do I think to do? Go horseback riding, of course!

March 14th of this year, "Pi Day" (3.1415...) was, as it turned out for me, appropriately sandwiched between Friday the Thirteenth and the Ides of March.

Near the end of our ride, the horses were getting uppity and wanted to be done with us. Jake, my horse, is usually just stubborn. This day, he was downright feral. Out of the blue, he kicked and bucked and spun around and dumped me on the ground -- the ground being our gravel road instead of a nice, soft patch of grass. I must have hit something on the way down, like the saddle horn, or Jake's hoof (as he tried to finish me off as he fled), or both, as I have bumps in three distinct places on my head.

I blacked out and lay on the ground.

Andre scooped me up, put me in a truck, and wanted to take me to the hospital. Once I came to, as he went to unsaddle and put away the naughty nags, I begged him not to take me in, recalling that we will be paying for a recent hospitalization for the next year and a half as it is.

Fortunately, we were in the country, where people are naturally, maybe necessarily, tougher. Our lovely neighbor rushed home from town and checked me over. She gave me a salve to put on my sore back muscles. She felt my back shoulder bones and ribs and said that nothing was broken and that, if there were cracked ribs, there's nothing that they would do for me in the hospital. They'll just heal eventually, on their own. She said that it's good that there are bumps on my head that we can feel. If we couldn't feel them, that might mean internal bleeding under my skull, which is, of course, quite a bit more serious. The swelling under one eye had already diminished and would keep getting better. Nothing to be done about that, either. She came back later that evening to check on me. She sent her daughter to look in on me in the morning. All the while, Andre was tending to me and feeding me and watching over me. I felt much better taken care of than if I had gone to a hospital.

The casualties include:

- a couple of ribs, some scrapes, bumps, and bruises
- the camera that was in my pocket
- my pride

On the plus side, we have:

- the love and care of a wonderful husband (and daughters, now that I am home)
- the attention and friendship of a loving neighbor
- the beginning of acceptance of getting older
- a use for the vicodin that went unused after a recent root canal

My love of horses has been a quiet, constant thread throughout the fabric of my life. One of my earliest memories is of horseback riding with my sister and Charmaine Decimas at her family's farm near Fresno, California, where our Grandma took us and let us roam while she visited with the adults. I thought that trail rides for my birthday in Seattle were the best a birthday could get. As a young adult, I bought a colt, "Alex", from the Mustang rescue and round-up program for $50 and cared for him at my uncle's farm in California. Throughout my adult life, I have sought out places to ride in Mexico, Spain, France, rural Maryland, and, most recently, rural Iowa. I have prided myself on my mastery of the noble beast and on having taught others how to achieve the same.

But time stops for no woman and this woman's body is just not able to handle the slings and arrows of being thrown off a mount. I will miss the feel of the wind in my hair and the rumble beneath me as I ride over hill and dale. But I will look forward to the next generation taking up the riding crop in my stead. It's a wonderful feeling. 


  1. Oh Babe... I don't think age had much to do with this. These were some pretty wild horses; and getting thrown off and then kicked in the eye is hard on anyone regardless of age... Love you!

  2. I didn't know you were a horsewoman. I was thrown from a horse when I was 8 months pregnant with my son, Jake, and dislocated and broke my right wrist in several places. I spent the last 3 months of my pregnancy in a cast. Glad to know you are on the mend!