Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Still Alive

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. 


The Dancing Donkey said...

I'm sorry for all your troubles. It's awfully hard to find a trustworthy mount, especially after a wreck. I'm sure you'll do everything possible to find the right place for Jasper and I hope the right horse for you comes along when you are ready. For now, I hope you heal up and feel better soon.

Keechy said...

Gosh that's so awful, Andrea. As we get older it gets harder to find the trust with a new horse. It doesn't help if the new equine has too many issues of their own.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, get a 'been there done that' oldie, maybe on loan, and get your confidence back. You need to be able to park, saddle up, mount up, and go for a ride with your hubbie or son. No worries, no leading, no injuries.

I think you've done your time trying to get horses with too much baggage back on the trail.

Big hugs!

Kara said...

That's really too bad, Andrea, but I know exactly how you feel. I was in the same place with Griffin. It's too bad you live so far away. I'd sell you Stormy! I love her, but I really have too many horses to ride as it is. She would love to have a person all to herself. And there is no way I can sell any of the others. They are all my babies...including Stormy, but her and I have less history.

Last I checked, Griffin was doing really well, but they still hadn't ridden him yet. He was supposed to go to a trainer in April. I should check in with them.

Kara said...

Oh, and Chico bucked me off twice in the same ride last time I ride him- lazy and also feeling too fresh. I had a really nice bruise similar to yours, but it's all healed up now.

Cindy D. said...

Man, that leg looks really bad, and I am sorry that you are going through this again.

I wish that I could load up Killian and bring him to you. He would take you anywhere you wanted to go, and keep you safe the whole time.

froglander said...

I hope your leg feels better soon, that looks quite painful!

The right horse is out there for you and I'm sure you will find it soon. You deserve a horse you can relax and enjoy!

Linda Rez said...

I'm so sorry, Andrea. I've been following you on Facebook and your leg is not like anything I've ever seen. I know you're an excellent horsewoman, so if he did this to you...I wouldn't get back on him either. I love my horses, but I will not get killed on them...willingly. There are so many great, fun, trustworthy horses out there. I hope you find one of those.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh man!!! I'm so sorry, Andrea.
I know what it's like to have your trust and confidence shattered over and over by equines. It's next to impossible to let your guard down and trust again.
If my mare didn't have arthritis, I wouldn't have even considered buying another equine, much less a mule.
I had panic attacks for almost 2 weeks after I brought him home, even though he hasn't done anything wrong while I rode him.
But he spooked big on the ground, something my mare never does, so it freaked me out and I imagined riding out that biig spook and bucking fit, and got scared.
But I took him for a 4 hour ride in the mountains last weekend and he was perfect for me, and for my friend who rode him for the first hour to give me her opinion. So, I'm feeling better about him now.

Would you consider having a traiiner work with him, someone skilled with mules, which are very different than horses? At least get an assessment from a trainer to evaluate what holes Jasper might have in his training and what issues he needs work with?

The biggest thing I'm learning about mules, is they need to trust you and feel safe, and the demand a good leader. They also become very attached and devoted to that person they learn to trust. Most mules seem to choose the person they want to build that relationshiip with, and if they didn't, it takes longer for them to trust and let you in to their world.

Could you contact that lady with the racing mules for some advice?

I hope you heal quickly and without too much pain. You are very lucky the leg wasn't broken. A local lady was riding her mule when she opened the horn bag and the velcro scared her young mule, who bolted. Her spur got stuck in his back cinch and he went to bucking. When she fell off, he stepped on her leg, breaking it.
It's been 5 months now and 5 surgeries due to serious infections which required skin grafts.

You take care,