I am still around, sitting with my leg up. It's getting better very, very slowly. I can't stand still or sit still with my feet on the floor. Which would be why I haven't been blogging. That and my life is VERY boring, with all this sitting around.
I can walk, as long as I don't do it too much. Occasionally I wander out and say hello to the beasties.
Jasper is still sweet and adorable.
Pedro is less than impressed with the over the saddle pack panniers I just bought.
I'm still here, just not taking the time to blog. Hurts my leg when I sit upright in a chair for too long. I guess I ought to tell my story real quick though.
While we were out camping I discovered Jasper high-lines very nicely. I saddled him up and he seemed more proud, less worried about everything around him. Ready to be a big boy with a job. We went for a long walk, John and I took turns riding Scout and leading Jasper. All was well.
When we got back to camp I thought, "What the hell, he is a riding mule, I'm just being a big chicken," and I asked John to hold his head while I mounted up. Jasper's head shot up and looked at me, all panicky. He obviously wanted to get outta dodge, so I rubbed his neck, said some reassuring words, and went to dismount. I got hung up on the horn and he started bucking, dragged me sideways like a ragdoll for a couple feet, I hit the ground, he landed on an launched off my leg with a hind foot, and broke away from both me and John, bucking. So.
I've had my leg checked twice now - x-ray and ultrasound. Not broken, no sign of blood clots. So far no need to drain the multiple hematomas, but it is starting to seem infected, so I started antibiotics yesterday. The ultrasound sucked. I'm still hurting from it, not that I wasn't already hurting like hell. And I find I really don't like pain pills.
So, I'm sure you're all wondering what I'm going to do about this. Me too. I'm leaning toward selling him as a pack mule. I know this is partially my fault, and it doesn't feel 100% right to walk away, but I can't see myself throwing a leg over him again. I could do all the desensitizing and ground work he needs, but I don't think I'd hop in that saddle again. I don't want to get hurt again, and I don't want to ruin him. He is a wonderful boy, very loving and willing, not a thing wrong with him other than he's scared to have me in the saddle, and he's just a little skittish in general. I made a mistake buying him in the first place, thinking he wouldn't be any worse than Tonka. He may not be, but we don't have the history to make it work, and now with this wreck behind us, I'm not going to be able to ride him again.
No, I don't think it's saddle fit or placement or chiropractic problems. This is the same saddle tree he was happy with at his previous home. I can find no sign of pain in his back. I think it's a mental/visual thing, a problem with switching eyes and a lack of trust. He needs a lot of desensitization and a re-start with someone a lot braver than me. Or he needs to be a wonderful pack mule. On one hand it feels like failure, and on the other hand it feels like practicality. No animal is worth breaking your neck over. And it could have easily been my neck, not my leg.
So... Don't expect to be hearing from me for a while. I can't ride, I can barely sit up in a chair, and I'm a bit heartsick over this whole thing.
That title sounds like it could be the name of a sad, sad country song. But my dog didn't leave me.
Jasper is quite interested in the view here.
I brought Blue along, after some thought. I wasn't sure how Jasper would do with a dog darting around, but Blue is pretty good about listening to commands as long as he's not running with Huck. "Get on trail," and "Get ahead," are the two I most commonly use, along with, "Leave it!" He disappeared to the side of the trail a couple times (he dreams of catching chipmunks but they're too fast), which isn't really okay, but he never spooked Jasper.
Well behaved Blue
VERY happy Blue (he'd found a jawbone)
It was around here, and without any forewarning, that Jasper bolted sideways and broke away from me (after giving me a little rope burn). Yesterday I was really worried about this happening, and pictured what I'd do if I lost him in this huge forest area. I'd thought about putting a bell on him just in case, but I worried that would spook him more. Yesterday went fine, and today he waited until I was relaxed and we were on our way back to give me a heart attack. Whatever he spooked at was near a pond we'd already visited.
Luckily he stopped about 20 feet from me. GOOD BOY! He just stood and stared at whatever he was staring at, and I walked carefully up (telling Blue to "Get back" because like any good cowdog he was ready to jump in and "help" me chase that mule far, far away), and I gently took hold of his lead rope. After reassuring him that he was okay, and telling him what a good boy he is, I got a good grip on it with both hands, wrapping the rope slightly around my off hip for leverage. Sure enough, he bolted again when we got back to the same spot, but I had a good grip on him and I told him to knock it off. We went on our way.
Jasper says, "Wow, did you see that?"
"Almost lost my cool there."
(We're gonna die! We're gonna die! I'm going to throw up, and then I'm gonna die! Mommy, tell it to stop!
... Almost lost my cool there.)
Name that movie. My very favorite scene. I'd watch the whole movie again just for that.
Then he shook it off and we moved on.
Hello again, Blue
I think sometimes he doesn't love me pointing my phone at him.
But he did love the view of the big meadow.
When I got home from running errands tonight (a rather disturbing experience - grocery shopping can make you lose your faith in humanity) a gorgeous storm was hanging around the edges of my world. It's raining with lightning and thunder right now, and I think I'll head outside and enjoy it (and check on the critters).
I think we all enjoyed our hike today. Jasper walked right into the trailer without even pausing. I was ready to give him that moment to look at what he's getting into, and he just marched right in. When we got there, Liam unloaded his bike, I unloaded my mule, and we went trucking down the trail. Jasper was really moving in the beginning, but he started to relax and slow down after a bit. Every now and then I'd ask him to stop and back up. Neither is a problem, but he hasn't yet figured out how to back up without pushing his nose into the halter. I think he's starting to make a connection, but it's not like butter yet. It will be eventually. I remember having this exact same problem with Bella and Scout. They could back, or they could give to the halter, but not both. Jasper is just barely starting to give his face after a few steps when he backs.
Oh, but wait, Pedro needs a moment in the limelight:
Look at that happy face:
Taking a break:
Back at the trailhead:
He looks photoshopped:
Hard to get far enough away for a full body shot:
Zen meditation mule:
We'll play in the meadow next time.
I'd like to go out again tomorrow, but I'm not sure we'll have time. I should probably put in some riding time in the round pen instead...
Nothing really new, except I'm totally itching to get out on the trail. Nobody seems to be able to ride. I might take Jasper for a hike tomorrow. It's glorious out in the woods.
But going back a bit - Jasper and I have been taking walks in the evening. He is always worried about the door to the grain bin (it's dark in there, and there's a cat, and who knows what other monsters) so I stood in there and found some goodies to feed him. He's so cute!
Pedro wants to eat Jasper alive. He broke my round pen.
There's a tree on our hill that reminds me of Woodstock from Peanuts.
My friend raises happy grassfed beef. If you want a beef, or part of a beef, that's raised humanely, grassfed, and butchered locally (no feedlots, big cattle haulers, or slaughterhouses), I can put you in touch with her.
Liam is the heifer whisperer. Or so he wishes.
Maybe he'd be a better steer-whisperer?
He had more luck with the sheep. I had put down my camera by that point, but he made friends with them and insisted that we should have sheep again. I miss my sweet little Roseanne. But we're just not fenced for sheep.
Then we went for a hike. A very short hike, but I was so glad to see that this area hadn't been logged. It's one of my favorite places for a nice relaxed ride. I am hoping to go out there again tomorrow.
Oh, and since one of my riding buddies is out of commission for a couple months this summer, I am definitely more motivated to ride Jasper. Then I can make John ride Scout and we can have lots of adventures together. Finally!