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.