It was very much a schooling show, wherein we worked through a myriad of issues. Oh my.
Things I learned from the show:
1. Long breaks between not-hard workouts mean I need to put more work in our warmups, and do warmups before every single mount.
2. Fetti ate just as poorly at the very local show as she has at every ride we’ve hauled to, excluding the first one in 2012. Consider ulcer meds pre-ride?
3. My seat is not secure enough in the Eurolight. Could I have stuck the spook/buck in the Thorowgood? I don’t know, but I had zero chance of sticking it in the Eurolight.
4. Small water buckets are 100% worthless to be left out for flavored pony water. However, I think they’ll do nicely in combination with a big water bucket that she can rub her oh-so-itchy face on.
5. My tall boots and I still don’t get along very well.
6. I will consider looking for a new holster for the Lifeproof phone case. I’ve been wearing this one right at the point of my hip, since moving it forwards means it tries to unclip whenever I lean forward at all, and that seems to have put it in the worst possible spot for a fall.
7. I may not have emphasized this in the other two posts. She was super herdbound to her gelding friend at the show. While deeply frustrating, this gave me the opportunity to work through ‘leaving and returning to buddy’ in a not-home environment. It’s possible that contributed to her spook/buck; he was not in sight at the time. Clearly, this needs more work.
24 hours post-fall, visible injury tally: 3 cuts on nose. Scrapes/bruising at right hip. Bruise at outside right knee. Bruise at inside left ankle. Right ankle felt funny, but chiropractic adjustment (solely to ankle) resolved that – tall boots may be to blame, since that’s come up before.
48 hours post-fall, appointment scheduled to evaluate for concussion. I self-evaluated all day on Saturday and I would not have gotten back on if I had been concerned. I knew that I hit the ground pretty hard. The ground itself was quite hard. Yes, I was wearing my helmet, and yes, it is getting replaced; I knew that even at the show. All day Saturday, I presented with my typical ‘heat headache’ symptoms with a slight dose of ‘I had a migraine this morning that is probably coming back’. All symptoms were completely expected given that it was super hot, it was full sun, I don’t do well in heat, and I had taken migraine medication early in the morning before coming over. It was very likely that I was going to end up with a migraine by the end of Saturday even without hitting the ground.
But. I know my typical migraine symptoms. I took more meds when I got home on Saturday, and once they kicked in, my head still hurt just a little bit in the wrong place. The migraine got some time to wear off, and the heat on Sunday absolutely blasted me, but by Sunday night? Same thing. My head hurt in the wrong place.
Injuries are something I push through regularly. I would absolutely have gotten back on for a ride with an aching hip and bruised ankle. Potential concussion? Not so much. Head injuries are not something to be messed with.
Per the doctor (and pending an already-scheduled neurologist appointment later in the week, where I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to learn I fell off my horse. Oops! I was only supposed to be seeing him for migraines), he’s not super-concerned, but I’m grounded until the head pain is 100% gone, then gradually increase activity. He did say he’d prefer that I be off for a full week after it’s 100% gone, but I’m not clear as to why the week (the literature I’m finding isn’t showing anything to back that, and one comments that it’s not proven to help?) so I’m not entirely sold on that part. And, of course, I need to not fall off again for at least several weeks.
This means I have a problem.
I have a fairly fit horse who does best on a solid workout and is moderately unpredictable after time off. Round pen work has not been sufficient in taking the edge off (see: this winter) and I’m not sure if arena turnouts will do the trick. The longer I wait to get back on her, the more likely I am to have problems.. but I can’t afford to fall off.
There are a few options I’m exploring, but if it comes down to me doing all the work (and it very well might), here’s my current vague plan:
1. recover! No riding until head pain is 100% gone. That is non-negotiable even if I don’t like it.2. Work pony hard. Turnout 1-2x/week, plus 20-30minute round pen sessions every time I’m at the barn, w/t/c. If she’s not sweaty, keep going. Consider adding poles or side reins.
3. Riding, stage one: walking / slow jogging rides. Walking alone, slow jogging OK if out with a friend whose horse serves as extra pony brakes and brain.
4. Riding, alternative stage one: walking / running rides. Ride across river, walk/run with pony on flat sections of trail (to get my heart rate up), ride back across river.
5. Riding, stage two: Serious Trot. Preferably in evenings to dodge the heat and the people, head out for an hour alone for a real workout.
6. Riding, stage three: Find Brain Again Trot. 2-3 hour ride solo.
If my headache does not return, and I have a sane horse, resume rides with other people.
Plans rarely survive contact with the enemy, so I fully expect that I will end up doing something completely and entirely different, and this will be completely irrelevant. It makes my anxiety feel better to Have A Plan.
Horses! It’s always something.