Every Superbowl Sunday, I am reminded of my Superbowl Sunday MAJOR FUMBLE 7 years ago… I was just so comfortable with my regular routine that I didn’t notice I had the wrong end of the lead rope in my hand before I released her… She didn’t do anything wrong. I did.
ORIGINALLY POSTED 2/8/11.
How did you spend your Super Bowl Sunday?
This is how I spent mine…
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? – NO, A HORSE DIDN’T DO THIS… DIRECTLY
I was being very negligent and foolish. I made a series of ridiculous decisions based on my never having any trouble like this before. Basically, I had become complacent, lazy and over-confident when working around my horses during every day chores.
WHAT WAS I DOING?
I was moving horses from one pasture to another. Easy. Simple. I usually just either open a gate and they go by themselves, or I put a rope halter around a neck and lead them to where I want him/her to go. Easy. No pressure, no issues… I’d done it a million times.
Of course, for new horses or young horses I put the halter ON before I move them. And, if it was a a windy or stormy day, I’d probably be more cautious with all my horses and secure the halter before trying to move them. Makes sense. Seems like I’m being reasonable.
So why did something happen today? I was moving the calm and trained BG, it was a sunny day and no different than any other day. I did what I always do when I move her:
I grabbed the nearest leadrope which happened to be a training leadrope with a training halter attached to the huge, brass safety clip (mistake #1), I didn’t unattach the rope halter attached to it (mistake #2), I didn’t bother to look which end I was using (mistake #3), I just swung the rope willy-nilly over her neck (mistake #4), I didn’t think about the fact that this was a 22′ leadrope (mistake #5) and I didn’t consider that something might spook her just as I was about to release the loop around her neck (mistake #6).
WHAT DO I REMEMBER?
Well, I remember grabbing the nearest lead rope, swinging it over her neck. I remember thinking that I shouldn’t really use this heavy leadrope but she was calm and perfect so I brushed off that thought since a trip to the barn to get a proper leadrope would take another 2 minutes…, I led her along, not thinking of how I had this contraption around her neck. Then, I opened the gate for her to go into the next field. I remember her bolting when something unexpected popped out from the bushes. Instead of her going left, she went right – back into the pasture where I was. Running.
I saw her rump move away from me and she was about 15′ away when it happened.
I knew I hadn’t been hit by a hoof. But, I had no idea what hit me. I was wheeled around so fast and on the ground that I was totally confused. How did I get here? Luckily, I saw the ground coming and I put out my arms. But, when I put out my arms, I saw the blood. So much blood.
I took a second to gain my composure and I closed one eye and then the other. I could see out of both. Phew. OK, but I’m bleeding really badly so I better get help. However, no one was home here. Hubby was on a hike in the wilderness with the girls. No cell service there.
I wobbly-walked out of the arena and towards the back door of the house – I didn’t want to get blood on the carpet, of course. I passed BG and she looked at me so concerned. (This morning when I fed her she looked right into my eyes and sniffed my wounds – BEFORE she dove into her food. Unheardof.)
Once in the mud room, I grabbed a kitchen towel and put it to my head. I did notice the bloody trail I was leaving everywhere behind me and figured that if I didn’t make it, ANYONE could figure this one out.
Then, I went into the downstairs bathroom to look in the mirror. Well, I couldn’t see a thing for all the blood. I swear it was just pouring out and running into my ears, eyes and down my neck. It even ran into my mouth. Ugh. I felt like a vampire. So, I decided to keep the towel in place and forget about looking.
I went upstairs to get my phone book. But, I couldn’t read any numbers of neighbors because of the blood.
ANOTHER THING TO REMEMBER: (duh) Put emergency phone numbers in big black marker somewhere near the phone – or have the speed dial number spelled out somewhere.
Anyway, after misdialing a few times, I found a neighbor who was not at home but in his car several miles away. He hears the fear in my voice and now I’ve scared the beejeezus out of him – but I have to hang up and call another neighbor. So I do. He is home and he rushes over.
In the meantime, I call Hubby and leave a message that I’m going to the ER but I’m fine. Great. If I was fine, why was I going to the ER? I wasn’t thinking too clearly.
Neighbor comes, loads me into his car and cannot hide his horror. By this time, I have bled through the entire towel and the blood is all over my riding clothes and running down my arm. He tried to make small talk as he drove faster than a speeding bullet towards the nearest hospital 30 minutes away. But I could tell that he was scared for me.
As an aside, neighbor asked me to call Hubby and tell him which hospital we were heading towards. I obliged and as I leaned forward to get my purse in the footwell, I became Old Faithful. OMG. I was spurting like an oil well. I decided to sit back with my gusher and not move again.
AT THE HOSPITAL
I was brought in right away – for obvious reasons… That kinda gore isn’t good for waiting rooms.
I was thrilled to be wisked inside. I wasn’t too happy to hear terms like “bleeder, gusher, fountain, artery, can’t stop it…” but I was happy to be inside. They didn’t even triage me. Straight in.
No one could stop the bleeding because I had cut an artery. The 7 nurses did their best to assuage the flow while waiting for a surgeon to arrive. Ugh. The place looked like a Slasher movie. After I passed out due to low blood pressure, they wheeled me into the OR and put me under. Hubby was there by then and took a few nice photos. During all of that mayhem, I had a CAT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and an EKG to make sure I was OK.
15 stitches later and some massive bruising, I’m A-OK! I thank my lucky stars that I was wearing sunglasses when it happened or I would have severely damaged my eye.
HERE IS WHAT I THINK HAPPENED
I think that when she bolted, I held onto the wrong half of the rope. I held onto the rope part and the halter/big brass bolt part was hanging around her neck. As she ran away, the bolt was gaining velocity on the opposite side of her neck and running along her flank. As she shot past the bolt and halter part, it whipped back and smashed me on the right side of my face.
The force of the blow threw my head to the right and my body followed – that is how I ended up on the ground.
The bolt must have hit me vertically instead of horizontally because I am bruised from my eyebrow to my lips. The inside of my lip is totally purple. I cannot chew on that side. And, Hubby thinks he can see the impression of the curved part of the snap in the cut by my nose.
The good part, which one of my dear friends pointed out, with all the swelling it looks like I’ve had a nice filler… I chuckled. I wish!
Don’t be as foolish as I was!
I’m not saying that using a rope instead of a halter over the neck of a quiet horse is a bad thing. I’m sure I will still do it.
But, think about what you are doing… It was so stupid of me to put that heavy bolt and halter over her neck and for me to grab the halter end and the rope together instead of switching the rope around so I had the bolt end in my stationary hand or on the ground. It was stoopid to not realize what end of the rope I had and didn’t have. Truthfully, I should never have used that kind of a lead rope to throw over her neck in the first place. It was too heavy, too long and still had a halter attached.
I should have ‘let go’ when she bolted although I’m not sure that would have done anything to help the trajectory of the heavy brass hook. I think it was coming my way no matter.
SO HERE I SIT…
So here I sit feeling very, very lucky with yet another medical bill (yes, I am insured, thank God!), a hugely swollen face and a lesson learned…
And, a big Thank You to whatever little voice told me to wear sunglasses instead of a visor on this fateful day. I’m glad that I listened…
ALL PROCEEDS SUPPORT THE BUCKET FUND!