Yes, the photo is of Ben being ridden. He really is gorgeous when under saddle.
But its not Ben that’s broken.
Long story: A friend of ours has a fearless, young, fit, lightweight son with supple bones. He volunteered to get on Ben for the first time. So we did what every self respecting unbroken horse owner would do: we jumped at the chance.
So on Sunday the family came over, we pulled poor Ben out of the paddock where he had done nothing more strenuous than let us rug him and give him carrots for months, slapped a saddle on his back, did a token lunge and Christian jumped on.
Really, Ben did extremely well. He basically stood still and snorted. He refused to move. When he did he did a series of small pigroots and dumped Christian on his butt. Christian, being young, fearless, fit and supple boned, got right back on and stayed on. Ben really did take it very well. He did try to get away a couple of times, but by the end of an hour’s work he was walking more or less in a controlled manner.
Great huh? So how did Wayne end up broken?
Well… this morning I was relaxing, having my coffee while Wayne went out to feed horses and chickens. Or so I thought. When I went out I found Wayne on Ben while Ben stood stock still in the middle of the paddock. He was back to his ‘I don’t know if I can move with someone on my back’ routine.
I offered to help by leading him around a bit and went into the paddock. As I reached down to pick up a carrot, under Wayne’s instructions, I heard Wayne urge Ben to move forward… which he did. Adding a few stiff legged pigroots and a few quick spins in for good measure. It was the spins that did Wayne in.
He went flying off, landing in a heap in the mud. Apparently his second dump for the morning. To give him credit, he cowboyed up and got back in the saddle even though he was in great pain.
He’s alive. I took him to the doctor under protest and he’s having xrays done but I’m pretty sure he’s pulled muscles and bruised his ego badly. He was most upset that the doctor wrote ‘fell off a horse’ on his xray request.
“Fell off! How humiliating! Not thrown or tossed off, but fell off!” he grumbled.
Poor Wayne. I’ve tucked him into his recliner, dosed him up on painkillers and cups of hot tea with instructions not to do anything at all. But he’s a man. He insisted he come out and rug his own horse. I had to chase him away with a stick. I swear. Men!
I suspect he may actually have a broken rib or three. I’ve been there before and I know how painful that is. Many years ago when I used to ride regularly I came off a horse at full gallop. The horse I was on skipped to the side suddenly over a fallen branch and I lost my balance. I’d have been ok if I hadn’t been so cocky and just let go at that point.
“I couldn’t possibly fall off. I hadn’t fallen off a horse in ages! I was a good rider. I could get back into the saddle, no problem!”
I was hanging there, in full stunt rider mode, slung underneath the horse’s stomach thinking “I can get back up from here” when the horse’s back legs came up and clocked me in the ribs.
At that point I did let go.
I lay there gasping for breath for a while. When I tried to move I could hear clicking and crunching inside my chest which hadn’t been there before. I was pretty sure it wasn’t a good sign.
But, as you know, you have to get back in the saddle after a fall. People hovered over me and I was saying “I’m ok, I’ll get back on and ride back if I can just catch my breath!”
I never did. They had to send someone back to get the 4×4 (we’d been riding in pretty rough country) while someone stayed with me, sitting back to back so I could sit up and breath.
About 8 hours later, at the closest hospital, I found out I had five broken ribs and a punctured lung.
I don’t do things by halves.
Unlike Wayne. He likes to do things in small doses. A kick here, a stomp there, a push and fall there… If you’re gonna do it, I say, do it good. Eight days in hospital and 2 months off work. That’ll learn ya!
Strangely, I am still eager to get on Ben. I was willing to get on him today but Wayne wouldn’t let me. Probably for the best, though. Knowing my propensity for doing it ‘good’. We can’t afford both of us off sick at once.