Ouch! The Story of the Impromptu Rodeo

On Saturday while Martina was having a riding lesson on her wonderful horse, Johnny, I decided to spend some time with my new horse, Broomstick. So far the new fella has seemed very kind, docile, almost Saintly. He has put up with having his feet trimmed for the first time in at least a year, shots, having his teeth floated, not to mention the move to a new barn. He’s learned to accept being fly-sprayed, a little at a time, until I can get almost all the way around him. He has quickly caught on as to which foot I plan on picking up next and has it ready. He is not brilliant, but kind. Yes, I would still say that.

I’ve ridden him a few times since he’s been here and he has been a really good boy each time. A few times I’ve hand-walked him out of the stable yard and into the field where our riding arena is. In fact, I tied him up while we erected the arena and he watched the whole process without batting an eye. Then I let him graze on the lead for a while.

So Saturday I didn’t expect any drama when I brushed him, sacked him out with the saddle pad–something I do with all young horses I’m getting to know, just to be sure that they are confident about the pad–saddled him, lunged him in both directions for 5 0r 10 minutes and hand-walked him around the paddock and out to the arena where we stood and watched Martina ride for a few minutes before heading to the mounting block.

When we went to look at him, he wasn’t the greatest about standing at the block, so I wasn’t surprise when it took a minute to get him to stand at the right spot for me to get on. And I did get on. Settled into the saddle and walked him off. He seemed fine for a few minutes when, suddenly, he put his head down and went-to like a rodeo bronc.

This was no crow-hop, no ‘ooh, I’m gonna pop my butt up and see what happens,’ no,’if I rear, maybe she’ll get scared and get off,’ kind of event. Oh no. This was a full-on, head between his front legs, round-backed, all four feet in the air bronco ride…and all I could think was, ” Goddammit! Who took my boots and hid them ALL so that I had to ride in tennis shoes? I have to get my feet out of the stirrups before they go through, I get hung up, dragged under this horse, and die!” I have no idea how long I stayed on but Martina’s riding teacher says I made more than 8 and gave me a score of 85. Haha. The important thing is I got my feet out of the stirrups and let go, hit the ground on my right side, hip first and yes, I had my helmet on.

Then I don’t remember anything. Rumor has it that Martina’s horse was perfect and didn’t do much but put his head up and watch. Apparently I got up, walked home with Mark, took a bath with Epsom Salts and Arnica oil, took Arnica, got dressed and went to the ER with Mark. I vaguely remember my 10 year old daughter sitting in the bathroom with me while I soaked.

The ER visit is basically a blank with a few blips of memory in it: peeing in a bedpan (leave it to me to remember the humiliating parts!); obsessing over what year it is and who the President is (apparently they asked these things as part of the concussion test. I got Obama right!); the nurse’s refusal to remove the neck brace and laying in bed with my chin inside the damned thing because the plastic was cutting into my neck; something about a giant donut that probably was the MRI or CAT scan, whichever they did. I don’t remember.

The past two days have passed in a haze of somnolence, both concussion and drug-induced.

Now, it’s Tuesday and I am sore. Mostly my ribs. 3 of them are broken around the back so breathing isn’t too difficult. My back is broken somewhere, L3 I think. The wing is snapped clean off of it but no worries about nerve damage or spinal cord damage since the break isn’t near to those sensitive place. A severe concussion which means I’m not supposed to be online. But I am.

For what it’s worth, there was no alcohol involved in this rodeo. I’m not mad at the horse and I’m not sure what in the hell happened, but he just cost me a lot more money than whatever I paid up front. I tried calling the man I bought him from but didn’t get an answer. Don’t know where to take it from here but any recommendations for gaited horse trainers who will ride the buck out of a Treadway Rodeo Company bronc are appreciated. What year is it again?


About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
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4 Responses to Ouch! The Story of the Impromptu Rodeo

  1. Betty Mills says:

    So, so sorry to hear this. I broke my back, also in a rodeo, when I was about 30 years old, and it’s absolutely fine now. I’ve never had so much as a twinge from it, so hopefully your break won’t be serious either. Call me if you want to brainstorm this issue with your horse.

  2. Cerwydwyn says:

    Betty, I may take you up on that once I can talk again using word that link together in some sensible fashion. For now bubble cat french fry walk. Thanks!

  3. Regina Estes says:

    So sorry Tina! Sounds like he has had some bucking experience in his past. And I don’t know how you feel about this, but at my age I don’t know if I could relax while riding him anymore. Let me know if you are going to look for a different horse.

    • Cerwydwyn says:

      Regina–I’m thinking about all of it. It’s going to be a month or more before my brain function is anywhere near normal but one of the things I’ve been considering is exactly what you said. I do not want to ride that again. I’m too old. Too heavy. Land too hard. I can handle a spook here and there but that was a heckuva ride! Yuck.

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