In my blogs I have written about how passionate I am about horses and my journey to finding my four legged soul mate. My last blog was about Harvey's eye injury just days after getting him and how quickly this amazing gelding and I bonded. Our life together has not always been a sappy, love, and kisses story... or as I have said before "pretty flowers and fluffy clouds". We have definitely had a lot of ups and downs.
After Harvey's eye healed and he put on weight I began working with and eventually riding him. I had been on a few horses before but I really didn't know how to ride a horse. I knew how to be a passenger, not a rider. I spent a lot of time watching others ride, reading more books, and watching videos of people riding to learn. I developed a good seat and a natural "heels down" position fairly easily. I learned to "steer" my horse but missed the lesson on making the horse do what I asked. If he said no, I said fine we will go where you want to go. I quickly ended up with a very spoiled horse; it has taken years to undo all of MY riding mistakes.
About a year after I got Harvey I was out at the barn feeding him and had planned to go home and relax instead hanging out at the barn for hours. I was talking to friends and we joked about the fact that I had Harvey for a year and had not been bucked off yet (looking back I should have seen this as a warning sign). Some other friends showed up and convinced me to stay and ride horses with them (it didn't take much convincing).
We tacked up our horses and rode around the property not really doing much of anything. We noticed that the lights were on at the arena and some guys were practicing calf-roping. I'm not sure why but we decided to ride our horses to the other end of the property to the arena and watch. I knew Harvey had issues with cows. He was completely convinced that cows eat horses. I decided to push him a little bit and we rode past the holding pens, he handled it fairly well. He was definitely nervous but no explosions. We rode back and forth and he calmed down more and more.
After riding past the cows several times, we rode up to the bleachers and I stopped him so I could talk to another friend sitting on the bleachers. LESSON #1: If you are on or near a horse always pay attention!!! I wasn't paying attention, I was busy talking. A calf came out of the chute and turned. It was headed towards us, we were outside of the arena and the calf was inside but apparently that didn't matter. Harvey freaked!!! I circled him a couple of times and thought he was fine, so I stopped him and went back to talking. He stood for about two seconds then turned and bolted. I panicked!!! My hands immediately went to the horn of my saddle. I really thought I was pulling back on the reins but there's no way since I had both hands on the horn. He was running as fast as he could. It was dark out and there was nothing but blackness in front of us.
I decided I was going to jump off. I kicked my feet out of the stirrups... then I had second thoughts. I managed to get my feet back in the stirrups but my hands would not let go of the horn to pull back on the reins. I suddenly realized that we were headed for a tree row that had a slick wire fence running through it. I knew that if we went through that fence we would both be severely injured or worse. I decided I had to get off of him and hopefully coming off would get him to turn and miss the fence. I kicked my feet out of the stirrups. It seemed like I was suspended in air for a long time, then I hit the ground. I knew I needed to roll to keep from ending up under him. When I hit the ground I broke my right elbow. As I rolled I broke my left hand.
Next thing I remember people were holding me down so I didn't move. My only concern was to get up and go find my horse. Someone went to find my horse for me. They found him in the barn in his stall with his head buried in the corner. The barn was huge and had over 100 stalls, but he found his stall. They said it was obvious that he was scared, he was shaking. They brought him to me so I would relax and be still.
I eventually got up and several hours later decided I needed to go the hospital. I had both arms in casts for several weeks, had bruises all over my back side, and a few bumps on my head. I had surgery on my hand twice to repair it and once on my elbow to reposition it.
I didn't let any of this stop me from being with Harvey though. I still found ways to brush him, feed him, and spend time with him. The day they took my casts off I got right back on him. I just had to have a little help getting on and off.
I love this boy with all my heart and always will. No matter what he does he will always have a home with me. I couldn't get rid of him because of this incident, it wasn't his fault. It was my fault for not learning how to ride and more importantly for not paying attention to what was going on around me.
Oh... did I mention that this happened only 3 months after he stepped on my foot and broke it....
I love that boy... the "horse of my dreams".