Monday, July 16, 2012

Like a Freight Train

Q. What does it feel like when you've been knocked down and run over by a Percheron?

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 heard Misty's fear snort, then she freaked out and went right into flight mode...and there I was, standing directly in her escape route.  She knocked me down, ran over me, and stepped on me.

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.

Lesson learned.


  1. Oh, my goodness! So glad you are ok. Hope the soreness ends quickly. Poor you, poor Misty. What did SaraJane say about all this commotion? I agree, helmets are good when we are on the ground too. There are many times in the winter when I wear one to lead Pie (my near Percheron sized TB) because he can become a handful!

    Feel better soon! You are amazing to have walked her around after the smashing. Good horse mommy!

  2. Ouch! I hope your injuries heal quickly. Good thing she didn't step on your head. I think your new plan is sensible and safe for the next time. We just never know what they'll do. Feel better.

  3. Oh, my! Yes, I'm glad you are okay. I was leading Scout one time and SHE decided to go visit her friends in the next corral. She blasted right past me and knocked me in the shoulder! Needless to say, that was NOT acceptable! I walked her around and around until she settled down. I was pretty shaken up. One time my PMU gelding, Sunni, ran over my foot. He's got big feet, but thankfully I had on my working boots and my toes were sore for a few days, but none were broken. I think we all have to expect and anticipate accidents with our horses.

  4. Oh my! Talk about painful!
    I hope you heal up quick and show Misty that the ball will not eat her big self!

  5. Thanks juliette, Grey Horse, Cheryl Ann, Allison,

    I didn't sleep much last night. The pain is quite bad, but no worse than late last night. I can't walk normally, so I'm taking a sick day from work to stay off my feet and rest. I hope it heals quickly too. I've got trail riding plans and a camp out coming up soon.

    SaraJane watched from inside her stall, banging on her stall door with her front hooves. She was more upset about being locked in her stall and excluded from the play than the rolling devil ball.

  6. If its not feeling better, make sure you go to the dr. I was sure my toes would heal on their own and didn't go to the dr until almost three weeks after I got kicked -- which delayed my recovery a TON.

  7. I've always wanted to get a large ball like that for my horses. Do you have to inflate it after you purchase it? I'd probably have to take it to a gas station... I awoke one morning with my right knee in terrible pain...I literally could NOT walk on that leg. 3 days later I went to my doctor. She ordered x-rays and it turns out I have a LOT of arthritis in it. I wore a knee brace to school for about 10 days. I started taking glucosamine and after about 4 weeks, I don't even feel anything any more and I walk normally! She put me on Celebrex, which made me sick, so I only took it twice. I prefer natural methods of healing to drugs. BUT, you SHOULD go to your doctor and see if anything is broken or and your doctor know what's best for you. :-) Please keep us updated!

  8. Thanks Annette. If not better tomorrow, I will do that. I need to recover quickly so I can enjoy my summer with my mare. I have lots of riding plans.

  9. I think I would still go get an xray - bones break in so many different ways even if you can still walk normally it would be safer to know it's just severe bruising.

    Being "Body" stepped on by Rosie is one of my fears - I'm always very careful of where I am in relation to escape paths.

    Heal fast!

  10. Cheryl Ann, the Jolly Ball by Horseman's pride comes with a foot pump. It takes a long time to inflate, but it is doable. They say you can use an air compressor but be very careful not to over-inflate. I probably should have started with a smaller ball and worked my way up, although this one is not huge. Misty has been exposed to a very large 6 foot tall ball before, but we didn't even get close enough to it for her to touch it, she was so frightened and snorting like a mad bull.

    Glad your arthritis is under control and you are out of pain. I will definitely go to the doc if I'm not better by tomorrow. Or, actually, I have an appointment already for Thursday to get the stitches out of my knee. My doc is going to question the new scrape underneath the stitches. She told me to take it easy on it. I'm busted, but I really wasn't planning to fall on it.

  11. So sorry to hear about this!! Oh, my, what a train wreck - and you were just trying to do some good groundwork with a ball! I'm so sorry - I hope you feel better soon, and see the dr about it as well. Sometimes, I look at the scars on my legs and arms from horse-related things and just shake my head. But they are such wonderful creatures, even though they are big and don't think good when they are surprised.

    I agree with your new rules as well. Even though I am hot, I always wear regular jeans and regular horse boots in the summer, jsut for the protection they give. And yes, the helmet when introducing new ground work is a good idea for me as well. Take care!!

  12. Good for you for walking/limping Misty around the paddock with the ball after the incident! Your drawing was excellent in depicting what happened. :-) I am sending positive thoughts your way for a speedy recovery.

  13. oh my gosh glad to hear that you are okay! well done on walking her round again after the incident that must have been hard, hope you have a quick recovery xxx

  14. Oh no! So glad ou are basically okay, but sorry you are in pain. I hope you heal quickly.

  15. PS - perhaps Ms. Misty would like to watch this video before the next session -

  16. Sorry to hear, and glad you didn't get injured worse. Brave you for finishing on a good note. Feel better!

  17. Poor you Once Upon. I hope you are doing better. Sounds like you might also add an on-looker just to keep an eye on the situation.