He was one tall drink of water and I could not keep my eyes off him as he sauntered into the stable. My husband and I both were like a couple of cartoon characters. You could practically see heart bubbles popping over our heads and within a couple weeks, he was ours!
A tall black & white paint with a striped coon tail. First to Fly, was his name but we called him Jet…well, my husband called him Jet, I called him Big Sexy. As I’ve stated in my ” Mud Boots” posts, I know nothing about horses and have never been on one but I am as my family calls me, Cinderella. I both love and attract all kinds of animals and I loved this guy. We really didn’t know anything about him except his new owner needed rent and sold him to us cheap.
A few days later, Clay saddled him in the paddock and set me on his back. We’d both seen small children on him so Clay was confident that I’d be fine. Weirdly, I had the worst feeling about it. It was the sickening feeling of foreboding. I couldn’t explain it and felt silly so I kept my mouth shut and choked back my anxiety. (More than anything, I didn’t want Clay to think I was a sissy!)
Sure enough, Jett started toward the loafing shed. I gently pulled back on the reins but, nothing! He just kept going! He was so tall that the tin roof caught me across the ribs, scraping me right off his backside and I hit the ground flat on my back! Sweet mercy, that hurt but I darn sure wasn’t going to show it so I just laughed it off. (Found out much later that I fractured the S1)
Clay took this just shortly before…
The next day, Clay put me on him again, first in a round pen then this little arena area. All went well except that nagging feeling just wouldn’t go away. The only way I can describe it was a fight or flight sensation and everything in me screaming to…STOP! DON’T! RUN! But, there was no way on earth I’d tell Clay what I was feeling. I didn’t want to sound foolish…I should have trusted him to understand. They say pride goeth before the fall but I had no idea how literal that would become.
With me assuring him that we were fine, and we were, Clay left to let our mares out in another 80 acre pasture to graze. Jet and I wandered around the stable, strolling down the lane between the pipe and cable paddocks. The next thing Clay knew … the horse came back alone!
Literally the very next picture on his phone! I made him take it. Even like this, I could see the humor in it! Lol
One moment we were walking along then suddenly, Jets hoof dropped into a deep hole in the ground! He started scampering backward, head back and eye’s wide! He was spooked! I tried to pull back hard on the reins to stop his flight but he jolted forward flying into a sprint. I pulled so hard his head was back almost to my chest, his eye’s wide with terror and barreling down the lane towards the end. He’d have to cut left or right at the crossroad so I braced myself. Like an out of body experience, I hear the words called out from my lips, “OH FATHER!”
I regained consciousness on my final bounce…in an overgrown, empty paddock at the end of the lane. I knew immediately my back was hurt badly. The pain was exquisite, so exquisite that I didn’t feel that both of my arms were broken too.
We had been in a long draught, the sun beating down and 110°F. I knew I needed help but Clay had no idea where I was, couldn’t see my form beneath the tall grass, my location or even that I was in trouble so I made a decision.
I decided to try to stand. I rolled slightly to one side, attempting to push up into a sitting position but couldn’t seem to push up. Glancing down, I realized my arm was broken though I didn’t feel it at all. I rolled to the other but caught sight of that arm and how it formed a Z.
Plan C…I clawed my way up with my elbows and began walking toward our truck at the front of the stables. It’s the funniest thing how right before you pass out, everything begins to sparkle. I didn’t want to fall so I squatted to the ground and laid back. Afterwards, I took on plan C again, clawing the ground with elbows and continued the slow methodical walk toward the parking lot.
Mid way, Clay finally saw me. While walking back for tending the mares, He’d seen the horse running loose and caught him. From across the stable, he yells “What happened?” I could barely breathe much less yell so I just shook my head and kept walking. He’s a horseman, can ride anything into the dirt and like all horsemen, “ya fall off a horse, ya get back on!” I still die laughing at the thought that he was literally bringing me back the horse!
As he neared, he asked “Are you ok?” I whispered “Hospital.” He looked shocked! “You kidding me?” he said. I held up my arms that now formed the letter Z. “What do ya think?” I breathed. Just then you would’ve thought I’d said my water broke! He screamed for me to (get this) “Get to the truck!” So I muttled along. He went to put the horses up.
Once I arrived at the truck, I also became aware that my hands didn’t work so I had no way to open the darn door and was not looking forward to climbing up into it either. I plodded to the back and leaned against the tailgate like a plank.
Just then a lady pulled up right in front of me, hoped out of her SUV with a big smile and chipper greeting. “Can you help me open my door? I had an accident.” The emotions scrolled across her face in rapid dawning, first confusion then her eyes honed in onto my arms, then horror. She burst into tears and helped me into the truck just as Clay arrived.
Bless his heart and damn my pride. He put on the emergency blinkers and he wanted to speed to the ER but the way to the hospital from where we were was non-stop 4way stops at every block! I sat silently, too afraid to put what I knew into words, as if saying them out loud would make it real.
It wasn’t until he had to apply the brakes and I screamed that I was forced to tell him about my back. The look on his face was a mixture of heartbreak and terror.
The shortest end to this tale is this…Jet threw me, back first into a steel pole at between 35-40 mph. They had to go through my side, saw out a rib, collapse my lung and place a rod, cage filled with my crushed up rib and brackets, into my back. 21 days in ICU. I had a shattered L1 vertebrae, fractured S1, both arms at the wrists, (1 had to be sawn off and reattached later with a T metal bracket and 11 screws) tons of metal to put me back together, 3 year full recovery. My husband, my mom, and God held me up through it all. It’s a miracle that I can walk and live a perfectly normal life. I have some bad days of course but on those days I remember how very blessed I am.
Note: It was also through This that we discovered who and what Jet was. He was an own son of Texas Hero and the next years top racing prospect! Race horses don’t “whoa” when you pull the reins. They’re trained to fight against the bit. In effect, my attempt to stop him was actually telling him to GO! And he did! This is how I began “My life In Mud Boots”, became a Racehorse owner, breeder and rancher! Lol