Doesn't he look like the sweetest thing on four hooves? Well, he is. But he is still a baby. And for reasons I am just beginning to understand, he bucked me off Tuesday afternoon. I recognized within the first two steps after getting on that he was tight and uncomfortable and attempted to get off of him, but unfortunately it took about one second too long. I got bucked off Merle (the 16.3 hand coming 4 year old) landed pretty damn hard. My right shoulder dislocated but went back in place about 15 minutes later when I bent over to pick up my hat I dropped (I NEVER want to feel that again!). My right hip and right calf are pretty banged up too. I haven't been bucked off in over 15 years. I'm sore like I can't remember feeling before, but I'm okay. I'm out for at least 4-6 weeks to let the shoulder heal up. I'm not mad at Merle, I'm mad at myself for not listening to my inner voice and mis-reading Merle. When we examined him the next day we found that he was incredibly sore along his back and even in his right hip. He will be seeing the vet as soon as possible to diagnose the cause and get him feeling better. Beyond the physical it's the frustration and disappointment and renewed fear that are sticking around for me the most. As I laid in the sand of the round corral, I cried. I screamed "WHY" and was desperate to hear an answer I knew I wouldn't get. It took probably 10 minutes, but I finally stood up, dusted myself off as best I could and made my way to the house and the loving support of my wonderful husband.
That night I cried. A lot. *because I was scared I would lose all the progress I had made with my confidence in the saddle. *because I was scared Ella and Cassie would lose their progress along with me. *because I was frustrated that I couldn't get off safely. *because I was disappointed I didn't check his soundness and misread Merle's cues before I got on. *because I was angry and ashamed with myself that I left him feeling like that was his only choice. *because I was scared and ashamed at the thought of losing the respect and confidence of our clients. *because I was sure that I wasn't a good enough trainer. *because I was scared and ashamed to tell Merle's sweet owner what happened. But, I also cried because I was grateful. Grateful for walking away. I was told by a doctor many years ago that if I ever got thrown from a horse again I would be paralyzed due to previous injuries to my back. I have carried the weight of that statement every single ride since then. With the simple act of wiggling my feet when Dan asked if I could feel them, I was liberated from that burden. In that sleepless first night, I had a lot of time to think about what happened and what it meant for me moving forward. I questioned my ability and worth as a trainer. I even questioned my ability and worth as a horse owner. For a split second, I even entertained the idea of giving up horses all together. Then I fell asleep and, while I don't remember all the details of the dream, I do distinctly remember the final words said to me and how it made me feel when I woke up.
"You don't have to start colts and ride greenbroke horses to be a great trainer.
There is a place for everyone. Do what you love."
Wow. The peace and the relief in the truth of those words. I felt so seen and understood and valued by that simple statement of my subconscious. I am going to embrace those words with my whole heart and never look back.
If you are struggling with your confidence and fear like I have been, those words are for you too. There is a place for you. Bring what you have to the table. You are welcome here. You have my support. Do what you love.