What’s the Point?

June 29, 2012 at 9:13 am | Posted in Horses | 2 Comments
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Recently, I was lucky enough to have a hot stone massage. The therapist came into the room and kindly asked me if I had any “trouble areas” that I would like her to work on. Enter “deer in the headlights” look from me. Any “trouble areas”? Lady, I have horses! My entire body is a trouble area! I’ve had my bell rung more times than most football players! In fact, I fell off my 26-year-old gelding just a few weeks ago :0. One minute we were standing there regarding a new trail, the next minute I was launched to the left, twisted in mid-air, and dumped on my back as he threw one of those down-low-and-to-the-right mega-spooks. Usually I can stay with him when he does that – just not that time.

Recently, I was reading about a new syndrome they’ve discovered that occurs from having your brain slap against your skull a few too many times. It usually starts in your 50’s with symptoms like mild loss of balance and vertigo, then progresses to complete and total dementia. When I saw this article, I copied it and handed it to my husband. The conversation went something like this:

“Here. You might want to read this in case I start to exhibit any of these symptoms in the next 10 years.”


“Well, I’ve fallen off the horses a lot over the years. Plus I’ve been knocked out a few other times playing as a kid. Isn’t it awful when you get knocked out?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you ‘don’t know’”?

“I’ve never been knocked out.”

What???!!!” (What kind of a namby-pamby wimp did I marry??) “You’ve never been knocked out?? Didn’t you play football?? Ride your bike?? Swing on a rope swing?”

“Yeah. But I’ve never been knocked out!”

“Ok, Nancy-pants, well, if I start to get inexplicably dizzy in my early 50’s, take me to the doctor before I forget your name, all right?”

“Um, ok, I guess.”

At this point, I’m thinking he’s probably just going to point and laugh if I start stumbling around on the stone walkway. Heck, he probably threw that article away and is just waiting for the day I come downstairs in the morning, stare at the microwave, and ask when we put a TV in the kitchen. I probably deserve it anyway.

So here I am in the massage therapist’s room, thinking about my ailments. I told her to work on my shoulder or something, but as I was lying on the table I began to make a mental list of all the injuries and insults to my body over the years. It went something like this:

Head:  Whacked, thumped and given a concussion numerous times, due to horse falls, mountain biking flips and a childhood rope swing mishap (perhaps we shouldn’t have hung that rope swing over a 15-foot drop in the woods?).

Neck: Whiplash #1 occurred in a car accident in my 20’s. I actually wore one of those neck braces for over a month – you know, the one the guy wore on the Brady Bunch when he was trying to say Carol crunched his car in the parking lot? Just like that. My poor neck has also suffered a number of bonks along with my head in my many horse falls.

Collarbone: This lovely area of my anatomy was partially separated on one side when my horse Locky decided to separate himself from me during a mount-up. I never got my weight centered or my right foot in the stirrup, and Locky took off like a shot. Don’t remember the fall, and my collarbone has apparently forgotten how to re-locate to my sternum.

Lower Back: Any horse person knows that pretty much every time you hit your head falling off, your back takes a blow as well. Add ‘em up. My most recent favorite fall was last winter, when I rode Locky around the frozen driveway in my heavy gear and high-backed trail saddle. When I began to dismount, I caught my thick winter boot on the back of the saddle. Apparently the force of my launching myself off made me flip my entire body over in the air and land, POW, on my back on the rock-hard ground. Great job, hotshot. You’ve only dismounted, what, 800,492 times in your life??

Right Hip: This is an old one from my 20’s as well. I had just bought hot little Diablo and of course, being 23, was feeling invincible. I decided it would be a good idea to canter home along the side of the road (mistake #1) and to practice riding with no stirrups as well. Duh. Of course a giant, horse-eating bird flew out of a bush right in front of us, resulting in a huge spook to the left. And, having no stirrups and nothing to brace against, my body went hard-right. I can still remember clinging to his side as he galloped down the road thinking, “There is no way I can get myself back into the saddle or my feet under me. Guess I’ve got to let go now.” WHAM! went right hip onto hard pavement. CHICA-BOOM, CHICA-BOOM, CHICA-BOOM went horse’s feet as he galloped home. Some nice people in a minivan peeled me off the road and drove me to the barn. Mom drove me to the hospital, all the while complaining that she “thought these days were over now that I was grown up”. Sorry, Mom, in my 40’s and still getting driven to the hospital because of the horses. Sometimes in an ambulance. Ouch.

Pelvis: Here is an injury actually not caused my horses or sports. The delivery of my first son, Brady, resulted in a separated pelvis, which meant I was unable to walk or support my weight without a walker or crutches for about 3 months. 38-year-old woman with a walker – beautiful sight! Thank God I found my amazing D.O. after 6 months to get the pain in check. And thank God for C-sections for baby #2!

Tailbone: This interesting piece of anatomy also suffered in the “bolting fall” off of Locky. I must have landed flat on my head/shoulders/back as all three suffered. Still don’t remember, but my bruised tailbone remembered for about 6 weeks after that one!

Feet: Been stepped on numerous times by those big lugs who don’t know where their giant feet are landing at any given time. Or maybe they do….

So, what should I have told that poor massage therapist? She would have passed out if I’d started spewing this litany of complaints! So I picked the thing that was plaguing me most at the moment and sounded legit: my right shoulder and a little bit of sciatica. The massage was nice, the therapist was excellent, and I’m going riding today. Let’s hope I stay in the saddle. That is, after all, the point.




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  1. Yikes! Perhaps you should consider taking up reading as a hobby instead! ( or line dancing!) xo

  2. I’ve heard line dancing is very dangerous…!

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