Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Some Horses Are Like Playing With Fire

...and this time, I got burned.

I have had enough people requesting information on what happened to me (regarding my recent slightly vague facebook updates about a mystery injury), I figured I'd better write a blog about it.

I have been teaching lessons and visiting a friend in Green Bay, WI since Friday night. Yesterday I was giving a lesson (my last one of the day) with a difficult, and very dominant filly. She was just full of piss and vinegar, first scared, then dominant and very difficult to shut down. The hardest part was finding relaxation and obedience, and she wasn't wanting to give in, so finding a good note to stop on was tough. Anyway, toward the end of the session, things took an ugly turn. I had found a fairly decent stopping point. She was willingly doing some figure 8 pattern, and would lead behind me without trying to run me over. Anyway, We had a rough lead back to her paddock. There was a VERY strong draw back to the pasture, and she wanted no part in leading respectfully, or allowing me to walk ahead OR WITH HER for that matter. Anyway, we had finally gotten back to the pasture (another 10 minutes of extreme yoyo games, etc), and I was just beginning to take her halter off. She took advantage of my arm being near her head, and she reached over and bit me--and not lightly, mind you, probably just another dominance game. So I stopped what I was doing, and asked her to back up...rather vigorously, and of course, hind-sight being 20/20, probably a little too roughly. She took a few steps back, and I was just about to stop (she was being polite, or so I thought) and she reared up. What happened next is kind of a blur, but the fact that I can recall it demonstrates how damn lucky I was: She reared up, and very deliberately struck me in the head multiple times. She was (and accepting this is scary) trying to kill me. Of course I crumpled (maintained consciousness, fortunately) but knew it was bad, because as I scrambled out of there, I started bleeding heavily from somewhere on top of my head--down my face, into my eyes, etc. My friends told me I was not allowed to go into the bathroom to see myself--I must have looked awful!

Anyway, I was fairly certain I was dying for 10 minutes, simply because I was in lots of pain, didn't know what I looked like, where I had been hit, or where all the blood was coming from. They got me cleaned up and to the ER, and fortunately, it was not nearly as bad as I had expected. They told me before I was even admitted for examination that I was far too cognizant and "with it" to merit serious inspection for concussion, but that they'd see what the doctor said. Upon further examination, the source of the blood was found--a laceration about an inch or inch an a half long right on top of my head, cut fairly clean and down to my skull. I had to have 3 staples put in it (Just call me Frankenstein), and was told that though they didn't think I was "concussed", and that I could go home, that I should probably be woken up during the night.

Coming home from the hospital was another whole ordeal--the stress from the entire ordeal made me ill. I had to get two injections, one of novicane to numb for my staples and an update on my tetanus shot, which would have been fine if I weren't deathly afraid of needles. Then of course there was the shock of the accident, and the realization of what was happening...not to mention the fact that I wasn't allowed to get my head wet, and so was facing the prospect of having to sleep with bloody hair. Yeah...I was not happy. But I did end up taking a nice hot bath and rinsing my hair at least (I WOULD NOT have slept had I not), and I was back to feeling pretty normal mentally by 9:00pm

Anyway, I'm just REALLY SORE for now. Turning my head to the left is painful, I have scrapes and bruises down my arms, and of course my head is tender. My jaw must have gotten good and yanked around, too, because it's really sore and I bit my tongue up pretty good too, so that makes eating tough. But overall, I'm fine, healing, and now am focusing on staying mentally healthy--so far so good, too ;)

So, thank you all for your concern and well wishes. I'm just thankful to be alive at this point, and am focusing on not letting this hinder me--though a word to the wise, don't pat my head or feed me anything crunchy for the next few days ;)

Oh, and for some sick reason, my friend took pictures of my head. Anyone wanna see? LOL.

Savvy on!


Tina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virginia said...

yikes franny be careful!!! wear a helmet next time working with a rank mustang! Now I am realizing that there actually was a reason they told us to wear helmet and gloves when lunging in pony club! ha I always though it was stupid. I can't believe they were right on something! *hugs* Take it easy for a little bit.

Lucy said...

*hugs* I can't even imagine how much pain you're in. Look after yourself and feel better soon!

Lea and Eddie said...

I hope you feel better Fran! I'll be praying for you. Take it easy and watch some savvy club dvd's! =-)


Christy said...

I hope you feel better soon! Just reading your post made me queasy. I can't imagine having that happen to me.


Katie Hufton said...


On another note I love you and I'm glad you're okie dokie. (:

Jeanne said...

I can't tell you how badly this freaked me out, because I'm helping out at the barn with a couple of very RBE 2-year-old Arabians who are already bigger than my 12-year-old Paint gelding.

I'll take my cautious confidence and add more caution to it.

Thankfully, your brains are intact and you'll recover. Geez.

(One thing came to mind, though--I had bad luck with Extreme Yo-Yo with one of the Arabs. After pulling out the SC DVD from I think September 06 or 04, I tried what Linda did, and mirrored the RBE horse. It was tense at first but it worked. Something to keep in mind should you have to deal with this Firey thing again.)

Erin said...

Hi Fran, I was made aware of your blog and wanted to pop in and say hope your recovery is speedy. I also wanted to share with you something I know would help with this type of horse (even any rank or wild horse) to prevent future issues like this. Check out Carolyn Resnick's book (Naked Libery: Memoirs of my Childhood), and her videos The Waterhole Rituals and Panadero's Journey. I have found her methods to expound upon the bond and respect process started in the Parelli program and the whole purpose of her exercises are to produce willingness in the horse. I also have a website where I lay out all the 'how-to.' Carolyn is writing a how to book now but it's not published yet. I got my info from listening to her course lectures. The notes can be seen at the link following. Good luck and take care!

video said...

Hey, meeeeetoooooo! I have a very dominate arab colt who was being a bit rude at the feed bucket when I was filling it up. I yo yo'd him back, but he went up instead and got me right on top of the head. I could just copy and paste the rest of your story...same thing, blood, lots of it, don't look, e.r., blah blah blah. Probably too much pressure on my part when I backed him up, and he was being really dominate.
Glad to hear you are ok! Funny thing was, I have back issues and when he hit me, it adjusted my back. I was pain free for three days! Ok, except for the pain from my wound, lol.
Needless to say, we have been doing a lot of work on relationship, connection, dominance and respect. He's a changed colt, and my best friend, now.
This stuff happens so fast, like any wreck, and it's the price we pay for what we do. You will get the same thing skiing steeps, running big rapids, scuba diving with sharks, or climbing big mountains. We accept the risk, and educate ourselves as much as we can with the best information we can find. I'm sure you have gone through this over and over on what you might have done differently. I did. Stuff happens.