Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baby's fall

It was the worst day ever.

Okay, I take that back. When we found out our eldest daughter (who was two days old) had a birth defect that would require open heart surgery when she was seven months old - THAT was the worst day ever.

But this was damn close.

Mireya fell off Canyon. And it was all my fault.

First of all, she's fine. I mean, she got a few bruises and scrapes, but she's fine.

But the fact she fell, that was all my fault. I didn't have Canyon's rope (he had been latched on and I was letting her "steer") and he took off in the little arena. As she got scared, so did he, and he cantered. She stayed on for two beats then hit the ground.

The only things I did right was she had her helmet, boots and jeans on and we were in a sandy arena.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

She's come around, we've all told her she's joined the club since we've all fallen off a horse a time or two. Her new nick name is Rodeo Princess. Injured Rodeo Princess. She loves that.


But I never, ever wanted her to fall.

I also never want:

  • Her heart to be broken.
  • Someone to yell at her.
  • Her to get a fever.
  • Twist her ankle.
  • To be scared.
  • to be sad.

Okay, I know, I'm going too far with the last one. But that's what mothering is in my world. The world biggest physical and emotional bubblewrap.

And what happened was completely preventable. The moment I looked at Canyon and felt that shift, that sense that he wasn't listening, I knew. But I thought, one more.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

God cut me some slack, and she came away very nearly unscathed. She came back to the stables, but doesn't want to ride. I'm not pushing it, although I did tell her the reason Canyon took off was because he is a big old chicken and he didn't know that she'd fall off and that he wasn't trying to buck her off.

Which is the only good part of the whole damn thing. Canyon was freaked out (since we all started yelling at him to stop and our group fear normally would have triggered a buck in the old days).

Afterwards my husband took Mireya home and I worked Canyon. I ran him around the round pen, both of us terribly upset. He bucked and ran like he was being chased, I cried and snapped my carrot stick. When I put him up he was listening to everything I said, watching me carefully, warily.

I sat there with Sierra, finally crying, and my big girl said it wasn't my fault. She was wrong, of course, but it was nice anyway. And she said she'd share her horse with Mireya, which made me proud.

Adam came back (having dropped Mireya off with grammy) and I broke down the rest of the way. Hell, I'm breaking down now, just writing about it.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.


I went back the next day and Canyon and I did some despooking, trail riding, and relationship repair.

It'll take a few more sessions, but he came around a bit. Today we did some work and I could see we'll need more time to heal up and move on.

I'm still upset. So is he. But neither one of us meant any harm.

I have to remember that. And cut us both some slack.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

First of all, remove that inaccurate 'stupid mommy' label from your post.
You are not stupid. Accidents do happen...even when we are being as careful as we can. A horse isn't a block of wood and we can't control or or manage everything they might do.

And you cannot...and should not ever try to protect your children from all of these:

broken hearts
Twisted ankles

As terrible as they may be, they are a part of life and make us who we are. They build character, make us tougher, make us better people, more understanding of others, and teach us about ourselves.

I'm glad you're baby girl wasn't seriously injured. But you've been your heart. Now it's time to let that go.

You are not a stupid mommy. You are a good, loving, caring mommy.

And don't you forget it!


Flying Lily said...

If I had to list all the things I did or failed to do as a mother, that ended up causing hurt to my two dear boys, it would be a long a painful list for me...and yet they are fine young men with resilience.
Laughing Orca is right - setbacks build character, and you want your daughter to be strong. Don't kick yourself. You are giving her horse time, which is something many a little girl longs for & can't get. Kudos to you for the helmet too!

d2cmom said...

I think as horse moms we all have to deal with the "my kid fell and it was my fault" (or "I should have seen it coming"). Here's my account of that event in our life It resulted in my kid not riding unless she's with her best friend. My kid has always been cautious and this didn't help the horse business. I know it hurts, but you did the best you could to protect your girl and she's young. She will heal a lot faster than your pain unless you realize that she will have bumps and pains and your job is to be there to pick her up put band-aids on her boo boos.

restoration42 said...

One of the hardest parts of parenting is letting our children experience the world cuz the world can provide a few bumps and bruises while also giving a deep sense of confidence and comptency. I work with children professionally and just wish that all young girls had the chance to feel their strength and resiliency that comes from being with horses. Stupid mom! Heck no. Brave mom teaching courage to her daughter!

Julie said...

Hey, it happens.

One time, my step-daughter who had been riding for all of a few months, and not seriously got the bejesus scared out of her and it WAS all my fault.

She was riding around on a little old horse in the arena. I was riding with her. I finished before her. I untacked and decided it would be OK to let my horse roll really quick -- LOOSE in the arena with her.

I told her just to stop and stand at the rail and she did. I untacked my horse and he was rolling while I put my saddle in the tack room and grabbed his halter.

On my way back to the arena I heard screaming. Well, my big horse thought it would be fun to charge at the little horse. The little horse was scared and took off each time. Well, my horse thought this was great fun to watch the little horse run off and hear the girl scream and did it three more times before she came off, hysterical with fear.

The little horse ran up to the gate where I grabbed him and my big horse walked up and stood there like, "What?" I felt HORRIBLE.

But, after I put up the big horse I made her get back on (she was 10 - a bit older than your daughter) and she did. Both girls are required to get back on regardless of the situation (unless they are really hurt or the horse is dangerous and they'd never ride it again anyway).

I've put them both on a horse in tears. Besides this time, the only reasons they fell of were due to a spook or they were being stupid. But, the rule is that not only do they get back on, but we go to ice cream afterward. So, that does lessen the blow.

So, don't feel bad. If you're gonna ride, it's gonna happen and plus, it adds character!

Melanie said...

Awww...your a good mommy, and I know exactly what you mean about wanting to protect your kidlets from bad things.

Just remember that accidents happen, and that horses are big, dangerous, and unpredictable creatures. If you could have known that was going to happen, you would have prevented it, right?

Hang in there, and give yourself a big pat on the back...give one to the new Rodeo Princess too. :)

Unknown said...

Ya'll are wonderful. My spirit lifted with every note.

Really I don't mean that I don't want Mireya to experience all the lumps in life, just that there is that part of me that wants to always grab her right before it hits.

Surely there's a way to build character with good stuff happening all the time. LOL

Lisa: Thanks, I'll take the tag off. :)

Lily: I'm so glad she had that helmet. we recently adopted an "always" helmet rule. whew.

Red Horse: I'll work on feeling brave and you're right, she loves horse time.

Julie: Wow that sounds like a real rodeo. I wish I could have gotten her back on, but everyone was a bit in a panic. I did ride canyon to remind him that he still gets ridden no matter what.

Of course today he bucked on me. Sigh.

Melanie: The rodeo princess will be proud of her pat from her horsey friends...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hmmm....I still see that 'stupid mommy' tag, girlfriend! lol!

I sure hope you're ok after Canyon's bucking incident. Darn horses. gah!


Unknown said...

Actually, I'm afraid I might be done with Canyon. I'm at a loss with his horse. The bucking - after all this time and training. I'm just ready to move on.

I can ride through the spooks and bucks. But its fast becoming no fun.

I'll fix the tag, though... :)

Trailrider said...

You have put in your time with Canyon. It's been well over a year. No one can say you haven't tried or ridden him through just about every problem. You ARE able to ride other horses without difficulty; it's not you. You are the BEST rider that horse has ever had. I KNOW I couldn't ride him as patiently as you have. I'd have resorted to VERY tough riding with this horse and probably hurt myself in the process.

I bought a problem horse when I was 17, and he almost killed me. Soured me on horses for 20 years. I worked with that horse for months: time, money, training. He would rear vertically to get out of work, and side-pass me into fences. In retrospect, I just had the wrong horse, and I waited too long to get rid of him. I wasted 20 years I could have been riding because of that horse.

I've owned 4 horses since him, and I sold one of them, "Scout", because I knew he needed more time and training than I was willing to give him. Felt bad for about a week, and then felt GREAT after I had Spirit and Woody to serve as more reliable mounts. You get another "Lily" in place of Canyon, and Canyon will be a distant memory in a week! He's not a boyfriend; he's a HORSE that'd just as soon kill you or anyone else, and eat grass by your dead body OR the crumpled form of your daughter in the dirt!

Yes, maybe I'm just adding a blunt, man's perspective, but I say enough is enough with that crazy horse! And I'm saying this because I've seen this horse, I know this horse, and I've ridden this horse.

My favorite saying is "A man's got to know his limitations". Harder words to live by than you think...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

TrailRider's got some serious wisdom...and I'm taking it to heart...and am not going to let strangers give me guilt trips about me 'failing to take care of my horse, because I'm afraid of her and want to sell her'. Jeez!

And that comment came from someone who just got her first horse a couple years ago, and only started riding this year! Grrrr!
How can anyone truly understand what you're going through if they are walking in your own shoes?

Be prepared for negative comments or inuendo when you tell other horse folks that you're considering finding a new home for your horse.

Some people treat their horses as pets and believe that only they are able to provide the best home for their horse. Those same thoughts are what hoarders to keep so many animals and not find homes for them.

I've waited over 30 years to own my first horse and to fulfill my dreams. I don't see why a mistake I made due to an unethical horse dealer's dishonesty should destroy my dreams, even though that mistake has already cost me much pain, frustration and agony...and disappointment.

And it's not just about me, it's about my family and kids. I want then to enjoy horses, too. But I can't even trust my horse around my family. Like others have told me, there are willing, gentle, baby-sitter type horses out there. Horses that are patient, calm, non-spooky teachers.

Whatever you decide to do, you do what feels right to you, and for your family. I will support you no matter what.
You and your family's safety and happiness is the most important.


ps. Sorry for the late reply. You are actually one of my PIF winners. Send me your address so I can get your Pay It Forward goodie sent to you.
Twinville2 at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

I only recently started reading your blog so haven't followed your entire 'Canyon' story. We all make mistakes and hopefully, like in your situation, everything turns out okay. What we can do is forgive ourselves and learn from them so that particular thing never happens again.

I understand about your horse. For most of my life as a horsewoman, I would take on any problem horse and had a great reputation for fixing those problems. I knew something had really changed for me the day I was offered a really good package deal on three thoroughbreds and when I got on one of them and felt like I was sitting on a keg of dynamite, I got back off, handed the reins over and said 'No thanks.'

Sometimes our mortality wins out and these days I figure life is too short when there are so many wonderful horses out there to ride. Carmon

Unknown said...

Carmon, Lisa, and Trailrider:
I think you're right, and moving on is the right thing for every reason you've brought up:

Some horses are better suited to younger, more insane people.

Some horses never get over their habits, you have to decide if you can deal.

There are a whole lot of horses out there, and many quiet ones are equally deserving of a home as the ones that ... are crazy.

I can't quite get to the place where Canyon is livestock - but he's not going to make any more progress with me. I'm out of ideas for this guy.

jill said...

Thanx for visiting my blog. I just read your last post about your daughter. I had something similar happen with my son a few years ago. It happens to all of us horse moms at some point.
Hopefully she'll get back on one day. My son still talks about "why did the pony take off with me that time?"
Ah, if only I knew the reason....
it was my fault too. I know how you feel. The pony has a new home more suited to him. My kids ride my trusted older horse now.