It's been a long while since I've posted. And that's partly because it's been a long while since I have ridden. Here's a chronogical round-up:
A trying time, but one of real progress. I had a lot of rides that weren't especially satisfying in and of themselves, but taken together I was kluging my way to a better understanding of Hunter and what it takes to ride a relatively young horse indoors in the winter. I was too frustrated most of the time to post, but the truth is I got a lot more comfortable with every aspect: the traffic, working on specific challenges and on just going for it day in and day out.
Gave Hunter the day off. In retrospect, this may have been a boo-boo.
Arrived late trying to squeeze in a lesson before school vacation week. Had a great lesson, really working on freeing up the tension in my upper body and staying forward... until the final canter lap when Hunter suddenly -- and for no apparent reason -- took off and then started bucking. I remember the distinct sensation of flying up, up into the air and then descending, hitting hard on my head above my left ear (thanks, hat!), and my left shoulder (snap, crack!).
Three thoughts ensued in rapid succession:
1. I am conscious.
2. I have busted my collarbone and it hurts.
3. I think my neck and spine are OK.
Unfortunately, getting up off the dirt led to passing out right back onto it, and my dear MHT had to ring 911 for the first time in her long career. I did not have concussion, but I was definitely pretty out of it. After a festive ambulance ride, many tests, 2 IVs, 2 PB&Js and a night in the hospital, I was returned to my family with a large sling, an ice pack, and big bottles of painkillers.
February 16th- today
My orthopedist has put riding on the forbidden list until June 1st, because the break isn't coming together. Collarbone is one of the very most common bone breaks, and 97%+ of them do heal on their own with a nice new knob of bone at the site of the fracture to serve as a souvenir. So far, though I am not without hope, I am in the 3% and may be looking at surgery with a plate and screws. A second orthopedic opinion is forthcoming later this week.
I joke that I already have a kid in college. Hunter looks fantastic and is going beautifully under the consistent care of my MHT. The Boss told me the other day that if I didn't get back up there soon, my MHT might not let me have him back. I miss riding so much it hurts to write this, and explains why it has taken me so long.
I get over to the barn 3 times a week or so to groom him or just visit, but the office has taken over COU-status temporarily. In fact, I'm writing this in a hotel room in NYC as I prepare for a conference this week.
The biggest question I have been mulling is whether I am over-mounted with Hunter. The other day I asked L what, if anything, I could have done differently that day, and what she thought happened. She said nothing, that it was my best ride ever, and that someone drove over a piece of ice and it made a really loud cracking sound. He's been perfect ever since. I remember looking up at him from the dirt just to see if he was OK, and he was standing there looking at me totally puzzled.
There have been compensations. The biggest is that I have been more of a barn mom, and had more time to cheer on GiGi from the bench at the end of the indoor hall, and appreciate her very real progress. On Saturday, the sight of her grin as she had Boomer leaping into the canter and bounding around the ring was enough to make me want to jump and down. So this Mother's Day, I'll be at the barn rooting for my little girl in her second horse show with a camera, a grooming kit, and a pocket full of treats, at least one of which will have Hunter's name on it.