A. Like a freight train just hit you.
I introduced Misty to a new object this afternoon...a Jolly Mega Ball.
I had her haltered and on a long lead line. I was very careful to go calm and slowly and keep us both in safe positions. It was a little windy out (first mistake), so I secured the ball so it wouldn't roll around and then I walked Misty up to it. We retreated and approached a few times from different directions until she was curiously-afraid enough to reach out and touch it. Soon she was licking it.
Then we both followed the ball as I rolled it slowly around her paddock. We'd stop and she would touch the ball with her lips, push it slightly and lick it some more.
Then I bounced the ball gently; then bounced it a little harder until I was bouncing it like a basketball. Misty was fine.
We pushed the ball around some more. Misty was relaxed and licking her lips. I patted her and told her she was a good girl.
All was going well and I thought it was time to let the ball move freely and see if Misty would like to push it on her own.
The ball was loose and out of my reach (second mistake). I still had Misty on a long lead. But I let my guard down and momentarily put myself in a bad spot. I was between Misty and the paddock fence (third mistake), while Misty was between me and the ball (fourth mistake). At that moment a gust of wind came up and blew the devil ball toward Misty.
I am very lucky that she stepped on my left calf and not on my head. I'm also lucky that I have chubby calves that protected my bones.
My left ankle is stiff and sore. My left calf is really painful and bruised. My left hip is sore. My left shoe flew off and landed about 20 feet away. I scraped my left foot, my right ankle, my right elbow, and 1/4 inch below the stitches that are above my right knee cap (from having a "goober" excised from under the skin above my knee cap last week; "goober", that's the medical term my doctor used. Glad I didn't scrape the stitches open.)
If the pain in my left calf and ankle are worse in the morning, I'll probably go to the doctor. But I think I'm just badly bruised.
After this happened, I stood up, clung to the paddock fence while I caught my breath and shook off the first wave of pain. I hobbled across the paddock to get my shoe. Misty was standing quietly so I picked up her lead rope and we did one lap around the paddock while I slowly pushed the ball. Misty licked the ball and we called it quits.
If I can walk tomorrow, I hope to do some more work with the ball, but here's what I'll do differently.
1. I'll wear full length denim jeans instead of capris that leave my lower legs unprotected.
2. I'll wear secure footwear, like boots instead of my slip-on barn clogs I had on.
3. I'll bring the ball out only if there is no wind, and no chance of gusts.
4. I'll be more aware of my position and not get trapped again.
5. I'll wear a helmet. Again, I'm lucky she didn't plant one of her drafty hooves on my head.
I always wear a helmet when I ride. But I should wear one when introducing a horse to new and scary things on the ground. I'll do that from now on.