Ranch Mistakes Are Not Unusual, Just More Painful

Perhaps it’s the time of year or my advancing age, but I find myself lately reminiscing more. As they say, “Some of the best memories were not always the best experiences.” Such was my first major injury on Medicine Spirit Ranch.

It went something like this. The day was warm and welcoming. Trudy and daughter Katie were enjoying the lovely weather but chose to do so sitting.  I, anxious to practice horseback riding, saddled Doc, our gelding, andwished to enjoy the beauty of the day from his broad, well muscled back.

I rode Doc in a  pasture nearby the barn, enjoying the day and the ride, while Trudy and Katie sat chatting amiably on a nearby hill. Feeling I could manage a bit more adventure, I urged the horse into a trot and then on into a gallop and began to race across the pasture.

What I had not planned for was that Doc took issue with me bouncing up and down on his back. Mid-stride and without warning he bucked me out of the saddle and over the saddle-horn.  To my considerable surprise, I found myself riding along with my arms frantically searching  his head and neck for something to hold onto.

Realizing I would not long remain balanced in this precarious position and with Doc still loping through the pasture, I struggled to inch my backside down his neck and back over the saddle-horn. Trying to clear the saddle-horn felt akin to backing myself over the Himalayas. It just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t know how jockeys maintain their racing, butt-up, position but at least they have stirrups, something I  was sorely lacking at this point.

I recall slowly slipping sideways from his neck and having a flickering thought to look for a soft spot on the ground. After that I have no further recall.

I regained consciousness on the ground experiencing terrific pain in my neck, head, and right arm. My view from the ground was something like the picture below with me looking up into the flaring nostrils of my horse.

"I told you my back hurt."

“I told you my back hurt.”

It was only later when the vet found the calcium stones in Doc’s urethra which he referred to as beans that I understood the role his painful kidneys had played in my unplanned departure from his back. The pressure on his kidneys from back pressure must have hurt him and my bouncing up and down on his back had increased his discomfort still more. Doc had, under the circumstances, chosen to remove the source of his increased pain (me) although by doing so directly adding to my own.

I imagine Doc looking down at me on the ground thinking something like, “So didn’t I tell you my back was hurting when you foolishly decided to saddle me?”

As for me, my broken arm was later set, placed in a cast, and it ultimately healed. My jammed neck recovered as well. As for Doc following this event, he received twice yearly bean removals from his urethral sheath and urethra. Since that time he’s never bucked again, making both him and me happier.

In addition to the broken arm and jammed neck, I’ve encountered while working on the ranch a ruptured disc in my low back. This resulted from trying to man-haul trees from the creek (not my finest day or decision). This landed me in bed for six weeks. I’ve also been run over and rolled by an irate mama cow. Oh yes, and there was also the time a cow tossed me out of the cow pen. For comparison sake, I never in my long neurological career received a single injury while swinging my reflex hammer!

As mentioned earlier, this is now a great memory but was a bad experience!

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