Family Magazine

Two Down, Five to Go

By Sherwoods
There is a saying that a horseback rider isn't a true rider until they've fallen off seven times.  Up until this week, I had only fallen off one time and so I guess I can't come close to considering myself a true horsewoman.  I don't like falling off, so as a general rule, I really try to avoid it.
The last time I fell off, I was bucked off while pregnant with Elizabeth.  Both Kathleen and Sophia had also fallen off Labello, a bad-tempered 16.5 hand white Hanoverian, so I didn't feel very bad about taking my turn falling off him.  I remember watching the ground rush towards me and thinking, "Ah, this is why we wear helmets!"
I don't remember the fall that happened this week. For some time after the fall, I didn't remember a lot of things.  One of the first vague and cloudy things that I remember was Kathleen, almost in tears, telling me that she'd already explained my accident five times.  I told her that I'd remember this time, but evidently she told me two more times before I stopped asking.  
I also remember asking, in Russian, how long it had been, how my horse was, and if I could have a bowl nearby just in case the nausea finally overtook me.  Those memories are dark and cloudy, like a half-remembered dream, and have chunks of space between them where the film skips ahead to the next part.
One of the parts featured Brandon, who inextricably was able to come get me in the middle of the day, not dressed in a suit.  "Why are you here?" I asked him, "Why aren't you at work?" When he explained that we was working home because of COVID, I didn't know what this COVID was that he was talking about.  When he asked me what I had done the day before, I couldn't remember welcoming friends back from their evacuation or Joseph's birthday.
The trip to a local clinic passed in disjointed seconds, and the CT scan and x-ray took much less time than they normally do.  Passing through the ring of the CT scanner reminded me of another scan several years ago, but I couldn't grasp the memory firmly enough to recall what the scan was for.
When we made it to the embassy and I got to see the x-ray of my broken radius, it was only a confirmation of what I'd known as soon as I tried to use my left arm.  I wasn't together enough to be grateful for the clear CT scan, but I am grateful for it now.  And I was more grateful as I discovered each new bruise and sore muscle, along with a black eye and chipped tooth.  I wasn't very far from spending the next few nights or weeks in the hospital instead of my own bed.
As the evening wore on, most of the afternoon fit itself back into my memories.  I had been jumping during my lesson that day.  I was riding my usual horse, a sweet horse that gets very nervous while jumping.  I've been working with her for quite awhile, but she just isn't good for a rider of my level, as even the smallest jumps become large and often end in an impromptu gallop.  After a previous lesson, I had commented to Brandon that she was frankly dangerous to jump.  My teacher had promised another, calmer horse, but that had not happened.
The jumping that day had started out well, and I was able to keep from any wild gallops by halting after each jump and calming her down.  My teacher raised the rail to around 2' 6", a height that I had jumped during previous lessons on my horse.  But according to Kathleen, this time my horse rushed the takeoff, snagged the rail with her front hoof, and we both went down.  
I'm mostly grateful that I don't remember the fall.  I'm not sure how confident I would be the next time I ride with that playing over and over again in my mind.  But part of me wants to know exactly how it happened, just to understand everything better.  Not that it matters, as that hole will remain in my memory until all is restored at resurrection day.
But despite all that went wrong, I am grateful that I am only dealing with the irritation of doing everything one-handed for the next six weeks.  I am grateful that I was, as always, wearing my helmet.  I am grateful that Kathleen was riding with me and was able to call Brandon and the PA at the embassy to come and pick up the pieces.  I don't know what I would have done on my own.  I'm grateful that Kathleen and I speak enough Russian to keep me from getting hauled to the closest local hospital.  I'm grateful that I was flung clear of my horse and didn't get rolled or trampled.  I'm grateful that I broke my left hand instead of my right.  I'm grateful that my chipped tooth is hardly noticeable.  
There are so many things to be grateful for.  So I haven't spent any time lamenting my accident or trying to figure out how it could have been prevented.  I don't regret going to my lesson that day, or wonder why God didn't stop me from going or keep the horse from clipping the rail.  Sometimes things just happen because we are here and living life.  For all the bad things that happen, there are probably a hundred worse things that could have happened.  So I am content with my broken wrist, chipped tooth, and holey memory.  It could have been much worse.

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