I have been trail riding on horses for the past 10 years and have loved every moment of it. There are times I have to get off my horse and walk because of a steep mountainside that makes me nervous, or maybe a muddy trail that I feel could cause my horse to slip and hurt itself. It's always in the back of my mind that my horse or myself could get hurt in these crazy places, but never did I imagine an accident in a somewhat safe area.
October 19, 2023 changed my whole perspective on horseback riding. For the weeks following I have had to deal with the fear of riding again. Will I be able to ride again, will I be to afraid and cause my horse to feel the fear. Will an accident happen again? Can I handle another surgery, being restricted to only using one foot, and wearing a boot for 9 weeks with physical therapy, or could it be a much worse injury or even death. My mind constantly ponders the what if's, however, I have to remember it does no good to worry for "who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life (Matthew 6:27)?"
I believe, on that beautiful autumn day on October 19, that God's spirit was with me and that the accident very well could have been much worse for both my horse (Lamai) and myself. My horse lots her footing on some loose rocks and she started to fall to her knees. She tried to stop herself from falling but lost her footing even more causing her to fall to her left side. Being already so close to the ground from the stumble and slight decline on the trail, my foot was stuck under my horse as we both fell sideways to the ground. I just remember a severe crushing feeling but I couldn't get my foot out. Lamai tried to get up ever so slightly but fell back onto my foot. I screamed in excruciating pain and it scared Lamai that she refused to move and just kept moaning while lying there. My foot was pinned in a verticle position (toes down heel up) and the pressure was intense (1000 pounds bearing down on it). My riding student who was with me (thankfully she's an adult and could handle the scene) couldn't even get Lamai to move and my service dog Sadie was by my side licking my face. I had no choice but to try to get my foot out from under to I twisted my foot as hard as I could (felt as if my foot was being ripped off my leg) until finally I wiggled it out of the boot and was free!!! I moved away quickly thinking Lamai would try to stand but she refused. Oh no, I thought she must have broken a leg or knee. I couldn't do anything because I could only stand on one foot. My student tried coaxing her up and nothing worked. My service dog came to the rescue and put her paws on Lamai's back and that was enough encouragement to make Lamai jump up. She stood there relaxed and on all fours. Nothing broken, and only one deep cut on her ankle and some scratches on her soft muzzle. I had to get back in the saddle and ride to the truck and trailer that was another mile and half away.
And why do I feel the Holy Spirit was there with me? First because of my faith in God (although prior to the accident I wasn't focused on my God like I should have been), second because so much more could have happened. I could have hit my head on a rock, or Lamai could have crushed my entire side. I believe my little accident was a wake up call to spend more time with God. I have been home reading the bible and praying everyday since (something I didn't do very often prior to the accident).
Now to return to "do I ride again or not?" That will be determined in a few more months after my foot recovers from most of the ligaments being torn. I can't imagine not riding. I love the peacefulness I feel when on a horse and out in the back country. I love teaching people to ride horses, and I especially love watching a person build a bond with a horse. I can't imagine life without my horses and I do believe helping others with my horses is a great service and a calling from God. I believe my accident brought me closer to understanding God and really spending quality time with Him.
Lamai and my service dog Sadie...moments before the tumble