The Horse Came Back Alone…

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!

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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.

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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)

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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!

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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 110ยฐF. 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.

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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

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69 comments

  1. I’ve fallen off horses a few times, but nothing even close to this. Our bodies can be pretty amazing. So glad you’re okay. I hope Jet is, too and wish his previous owner had told you the history up front.

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  2. It’s not often that a tale is so riveting it LITERALLY has me in tears…right before laughing… right before tears again!! What an ordeal! And what a plan God must have for you, that you could so tenaciously climbed your way back after something like that!! Horses are something else! I once rode off on a mule that later went back to the barn alone, lol…after getting spooked when a mule deer jumped the path ahead of us, HAHA! So glad you were okay!

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    • ๐Ÿคฃ Animals! Lord love em! From the moment I called out “Oh Father!”, I had that peace. I didn’t know how that story was going to end but I knew the story was His so however it did, whether I recovered or died, walked again or not, whatever it would be…I would be just fine, more than fine.
      That peace and presence carried me through it…and I know how abundantly blessed I am.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Laura, I am so happy you were able to make it through that whole ordeal. It’s amazing actually. Talk about being a bionic woman, you my dear are a very very tough woman. It’s that toughness that help you get through it for sure. Thanks for sharing your awesome story and keep being you, you rock!!!

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    • Thank you so much, Ash!
      I don’t think anything that we have to “get over”, is ever pleasant especially while your going through it. But, I think my success came from simply learnimg to embrace my new normals as they developed. I felt entirely too blessed to be able to stand on my own two feet, too grateful that I could walk regardless of how painful or wobbly it was for a very long time.
      How have you guys been in your corner of the world?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, that’s an amazing story, it gave me goosebumps. You must have a very high tolerance for pain. Beautiful creatures but they can turn deadly in a heart beat if not careful. You knew what your instincts were saying. God certainly was by your side those two days. Cinderella needs to be here for reasons only God knows.

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    • Thank you so much, Cheri! Oh they are such amazing animals, simultaneously so powerful and yet fragile as well. It’s really something special to be loved by a horse. They are not naturally trusting, on the contrary they are frightful things, the ultimate scaredy cats! I’ve seen one of my mates lose her mind as though she was going to be eaten alive….by a plastic walmart bag blowing across the pasture! Lol They will not lay down anywhere near you or even lower their head, unless they completely trust you. You have to earn that, but once you do, they’ll show you such love, faith, loyalty and even protectiveness.
      In earnest, I think there was a fair amount of shock which was a mercy in the beginning. I knew my back was serious with the pain so great that it obscured my arms completely but by the time I was transported to another hospital, what shock I was in had worn off and for one who can indeed take a lot of pain with composure, spent the entire night screaming as wave after wave of muscle spasms torturously contorted my back.
      The 1st hospital wasn’t great fun either. Because I had drove to the ER instead of arriving by ambulance, they couldn’t help me until I got inside so I had to climb out of that big F350 and walk inside by myself. They couldn’t transport me until the worst arm had been set. It was the only time I felt bbn pain in my arm as without any anesthesia, they grabbed and yanked it. I’ve never heard such a sound as that which came out of my mouth. Haha
      Through it all, I am so grateful…so grateful. My brother in law sustained the same exact I jury years before, both shattered L1, both had a shard shoot into the spinal cord. His was sharp but my shard was rounded. He, at 24, newly married by 1 month to my sister and having just been awarded custody of his baby girl, was paralyzed from the waist down. He would never allow me to feel anything but pure thankfulness even in my darkest moments. I know my Father was with me, was with him too and brought us to the other side of what so easily could have ended us both and blessed us both in different ways.

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    • By the grace of God! The only thing I knew for certain was that I was laying in such deep overgrowth that no one could see where I lay, that I was seriously injured and couldn’t call out and that I couldn’t take the heat much longer. We were in the midst of a 3 year drought with temperatures at 110ยฐF plus heat index.
      While I managed the slow methodical plod to the truck, I didn’t have to drive it. My husband made it to the truck after securing the horses and drove me to the hospital. He didn’t realize my was broken (vertebrae was shattered) until he had to apply the brakes for the first time and I screamed.
      Sadly, once I arrived at the hospital, because an ambulance didnt bring me, they couldn’t take the liability to help me inside so I had to get myself back out of that tall truck and walk myself into the hospital before I could get help!

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      • It was a long recovery and I have permanent L1 nerve damage that effects my entire left side. I have bad days….but even on the worst of them, I am so incredibly grateful. Even the worst ones are good days because I can stand on my own two feet, walk, run, play pickleball, whatever I wish. My brother in law suffered a shattered L1 when he was 24. He’s paralyzed from the waist down. The only difference between our fates was that the shard that shot into my spinal column was blunt edged and the shard that shot into his was sharp.
        I never take that for granted nor would I ever dishonor Brett by doing so.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Listening to God’s prompts, AKA those gut feelings, could have saved you a lot. How many of us do ignore them, to our peril? He doesn’t shout at us, but if you listen, you will hear ‘His still small voice’. I’ll guarantee you are more attuned to it now.
    What a dreadful experience all round, with the hospital part (human meanness and neglect) being the worst really.

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    • You know, I knew it….I felt it and I knew it but I was afraid that if I said it out load that I wouldn’t be believed, would’ve been scoffed at or thought of as crazy…..turned out being right but silent wasn’t worth it. Lol I speak up now though. Lol

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      • LOL, what was the other blog I read of yours, about Supernatural activity?!
        We really need to be more in tune with this stuff. I fear we are missing out on many blessings due to our ‘earthly ignorance’.
        I have learned to listen (mostly) when God prompts me to ring/speak to someone. That is how He is working behind the scenes through the prayers of others. I also don’t believe in ‘coincidence’ either. His plans are so much bigger than what we see…. thankfully. Part of the hope we have.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I do have permanent L1 nerve damage that effects my entire left side so I do have pain however, I can do anything I wish to do. My mobility is good, great even. I simply had to accept the pain, some days worse or better than others, as my new normal and just carry on with life.

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    • Prior to buying him, we witnessed very young children on him. However,once his foot went way down that gofer hole(?) He was spooked. There’s no predicting that. We had him for many years after and he was very affectionate and protective of me. I’m very fortunate to be walking and not in a wheelchair. My brother in law, at age 24, suffered the same exact injury to the same exact location. The only difference is that the bone shard that shot into his spinal cord was sharp causing damage, mine was rounded. He’s paralyzed from the waist down, I can walk. So even on my worst days, I am blessed and grateful.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I thought the picture of you said it all … until I read the part about you getting yourself up (!!!!) and walking yourself to the truck (!!!!). Every thing I can think to say is an expletive.

    You are obviously one really tough woman and you have my deepest respect.

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    • Awww…thank you, Joanne! That was definately a day….experience, that’s forever vivid. So much left unsaid….it wasn’t until I tried to get up that I even realized my right arm was broken and flopping about so I couldn’t support myself to get up. Rolling left, I saw my left was in the shape of a Z. I never felt the pain in them though as my back obscured every other feeling.
      At the 1st hospital, they had to set the Z arm before they could transport me so they grabbed it and yanked….I felt that! I’d never have believed that sound could’ve come from my mouth! Lol
      At the 2nd hospital, I spent the longest night of my life….the muscles began to spasm through my back and nothing they gave me helped the pain. A night filled with screams. A shard of my shattered vertebrae had shot into the spinal cord. Thank God, it was rounded instead of sharp. My brother in law had the exact same L1 injury but his shard was sharp, damaging the cord and paralyzed from the waist down at age 24. To try to save me that fate, the surgeon went in through my side, cut out a rib, collapsed my lung to remove bone shards, install a rod, cage and brackets and fill cage with my crushed rib.
      The night nurses in ICU would move the table with call button away from….patients. I listened to screams and calls for help all night and watched the nurses just sit at the station without response. ( I notified hospital administrator upon my release) the meds made me so thirsty but the nurses wouldn’t come or help. A janitor who mopped the floors at night and who didn’t even speak English, would motion to me to communicate what I wanted. He’d come to my room and give me drinks each night. He was an angel to me.

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      • Their response was vague at best. However, a couple years later, I was talking to a private practice nurse who said that during her internship years before, she had to shadow the ICU nurses and witnessed the exact same thing!!!! Aparently the night shift are the worst!

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  8. OH my gosh! Yes, always trust your gut feeling!
    I am so glad you came through this ordeal! Thankful for God and your family and friends who were by your side through what had to be painful and scary.
    So impressed with your humor with the picture. Humor is my coping mechanism I tell people. Sounds like it is yours too!:) Very glad to have found your blog. Keep enjoying life and next time trust your gut! You really took that โ€œPride goes before a fallโ€ verse literally, didnโ€™t you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ๐Ÿ˜Š boy did I! Lol Advice worth taking indeed! Not a day goes by that I dont feel incredibly blessed to be living a basically normal life. My brother in law suffered the exact same break at L1 and paralyzed. I dont take a moment for granted.
      Like you, God & humor has seen me through much in life.
      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment and kindness!๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’—

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      • So sorry about your brother in law! Yes, I would say you are a walking miracle!.
        Oh yes wouldn’t make it through this crazy life without my faith in God and so thankful for the gift of humor he gave me. ๐Ÿ™‚
        You are very welcome. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  9. Wow; youโ€™re bravery and passion is breathtaking. Glad youโ€™re okay, too. So proud you didnโ€™t give in to fear after this experience or give up on everything you love about horses. Lol; I canโ€™t even ride a bike right. Ya canโ€™t put anything under me thatโ€™s alive. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Remain blessed, brave passionate one.

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  10. I ‘liked’ this post – not because i liked the post in the least. I liked the fact that you are alive and able to write about it with humour and thankfulness and you don’t need one of those speech converters like Stephen Hawking needed to write with.

    I also like the fact that you seem not to bear Jett any grudge – although i suspect he might have got called a name or two at the time?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Dang, if you haven’t lead an interesting life! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thank you so much! Jet was in danger from Clay. When they came into the room at the ER and informed us of the severity of the injuries and had to transport to another hospital, Clay said he was going to go shoot the horse! I cried out NO! He was just scared and I love him!
      It was true. I could see his terror, his eyes so big you could see the whites all the way around!
      Then later, we realized that through his own terror, he did exactly as I (unknowingly) asked of him…GO! Lol
      He was a very affectionate and protective friend to me, all our years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure Jett did not intend to hurt you – but us males get kinda vengeful when the one we love gets badly hurt. makes us go a little crazy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

        So, now you pay more attention to those gut feelings i’m guessing?? ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

        You certainly proved the (innacurate) human saying: Pride comes before a fall. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        The real quote should be: Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

        I don’t believe you had a haughty spirit in this instance?

        At least not from the way you told it ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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