From Endurance to Dressage
I wanted to thank you all for yesterday's kind thoughts and good wishes. Izzy and I are both fine. I was a little sore yesterday, but I still made it out to the barn to play with both of my boys. While Izzy has a bald knee, there was absolutely zero filling or sensitivity. I hand walked him for a few minutes and then turned him loose. He bucked and galloped and had a grand old time. He clearly has tough legs.
While sitting on the mounting block on Monday afternoon contemplating whether I needed to call my husband for yet another emergency room visit, I was reminded of all my previous ER runs. Do you know the lyrics to Todd Snider's song, Beer Run? Well my ER visits feel a lot like that: B - double E - Double R - U - N ... Beer Run ... I just need to add a B and an E. Here's Todd Snider singing the song on the Bob and Tom show ...
My first unscheduled dismount that required an ER visit happened when I was about 14. I was galloping "Sunny" bareback through the field you see in the picture below when she made a quick left to head home. I caught her, but she darted left a second time tossing me neatly over her shoulder at a dead gallop.
She knocked me out cold. I was with a friend who helped me walk to her older brother's house, but I didn't actually come to until I was seated on his couch with him trying to get me to remember my dad's phone number. Somehow my dad was called and I was rushed to the ER for -x-rays. Of course no one wore helmets back then and TBIs weren't even really a thing, so the doctor just proclaimed me moderately concussed with no broken bones.
I had amnesia for several hours though. I knew the faces and names around me, but I had no sense of time. I didn't know how old I was or even what time of year it was. I also had no recollection of the past several months. Within a few hours, most of my memory came back, but I never was able to remember the events of that morning or the evening before. TBI number 1.
Sprained Pelvic Bone
Yes, that is a real thing. This particular incident required immediate assistance by the chiropractor, but I am counting it as an ER visit as someone had to drive me home and my husband had to get me to the Chiropractor right away.
I got Mickey as an unbroke 6 year old who had just been gelded a month or so prior. He was terrified of everything and everyone. He turned out to be an awesome trail horse, but it took some times to get there. I did all of his unsaddle work myself, most of it in my pasture.
During an early attempt at "riding," he bolted and galloped straight for the pipe fence. He slammed on the brakes and tossed me so violently that I slid under the fence and out of my shoes! Seriously. He knocked my shoes clean off.
I was driven home, and my husband was called for the first of what was to become one too many equine related injuries! My pelvic bone was sprained, but the end result was that my legs ended up being the same length after that.
That was the only time Mickey ever tossed me. After that, he always kept me dead center on his back. He was a lot of fun to ride.
An EKG and Eye Trauma
Montoya was the grand dame of all horses. She was brilliant at everything she did. She never tried to dump me, and in truth, I only came off of her once or twice that I can even remember, and one of those times involved a coiled rattle snake. She was instantly forgiven.
The only time she ever hurt me involved a trailer, not a saddle. I had loaded her up with KG's gelding Taz - a horse she knew very well. During the trailer ride, she managed to trade places with him in my slant load trailer so that she ended up in the rear position (we traveled with no dividers).
When I opened the door, she let fly with both hooves and blasted me in the face, chest, and arms multiple times. I managed to crawl out of the way and laid there with my ears ringing, totally disoriented.
When KG saw me, she grabbed a cell phone and hiked to the highest point she could find to try and get some cell phone reception. My husband came and hauled me to the ER (again) while her husband brought a second trailer to haul the horses back home separately.
I ended up having a scrape to my cornea which required some pretty intensive antibiotic treatment since I was kicked with a manure covered hoof. And since Montoya had kicked me in my chest, the doctor ordered an EKG to make sure my heart was still beating on the correct rhythm. My arm also looked broke (and it felt like it too), but like Izzy, I must have strong appendages.
I walked out of the ER with a normally beating hart, good bones, and a small scrape to my eye.
A Dislocated Knee
This injury did not happen while riding, but it is horse related. My husband and I had gone shopping at Kohl's. I bent down to pull out some jeans from the bottom shelf, but when I tried to straighten my leg, it wouldn't unbend. I tried a few times and then realized that something was seriously wrong with my knee.
I sat down in one of those chairs that sit outside of the dressing room and had my husband go find security and a wheel chair. Being wheeled out of a Kohl's has to be the most embarrassing moment of my life. My poor husband had to find yet another emergency room to which he could haul me.
Numerous x-rays confirmed that my knee was dislocated. The ER doctor straightened it as far as it would go, stuck me in a leg brace with crutches, and sent me home - with my knee still dislocated. The next day I drove myself to my awesome chiropractor who prescribed lots of hot baths and gentle massage.
It took several days, but I was able to relax the muscles myself and push my knee cap back in place. Oh my God. I can't even begin to tell you the relief I felt. Not only did it feel so much better, but I had already sent in my entry for a 50-mile endurance ride the next weekend, and I wanted to go!
Much to my husband's horror, I got rid of the crutches and leg brace and rode those 50 miles. I had a great time!
The Cracked Helmet Incident
This is a relatively recent story, well if 2010 is considered recent. I shared this story with Riders4Helmets and won one of their contests. Basically, baby Speedy bolted (garbage truck and dumpster were making a lot of noise) and tossed me into a cable fence and pipe pole.
I wasn't certain that I needed to go to the emergency room until I saw that the back of my helmet was cracked. So yet again, my husband was called and we made our way to the ER.
My husband must literally radiate EMERGENCY from his every pore because I have never had to sit in a plastic chair waiting to see a doctor. Every single time he has driven me to an ER, I am wheeled directly into some diagnostic room or at least to a bed, immediately.
This trip was no exception. When he said "head injury," I was in a bed with nurses hovering and a doctor in attendance. In fact, within just one or two hours I was drugged for pain, x-rayed, and MRI-ed. And yet again, what looked like a broken arm, was diagnosed as a separated shoulder accompanied by another TBI.
I've had a few instances to visit the emergency room for head, torso, and arm injuries. I like to think that I've gotten rather good at recognizing which types of injuries need immediate medical attention. So while I sat on the mounting block next to the gate with Izzy standing watch, my internal doctor ruled out a head injury, broken arm, or cracked ribs. Sure, everything was hurting, but I knew an ice pack, some kind of pain reliever, and bed rest were all that I needed.
Here's hoping my next 44 years (plus) go a little more smoothly. I am not sure how many more times I can bounce!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: