back in the saddle

Sorry for the radio silence.  I took a spill off my horse last week, bopped my head pretty hard, and was told by a doctor I had a mild concussion.  Needless to say, blogging was out for a bit.  Pun intended.  I felt like I was in a dream state for several days – which was totally bizarre.

The good news is I’m back in the saddle.  Literally.  Here are Savez and I warming-up at our local show this past weekend, five days after our fall.  She was great, although I was not quite myself.

Seleta and Savez vertical2

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…

Our show was interesting.  Savez and I correctly jumped our first course, but the second and third courses were another story.  On round two, we trotted into the ring and picked up the canter.  As we approached the first jump, I started to feel woozy and could not remember which jump was actually the first.  So I  just started circling like a complete idiot.  Riders, trainers, and what felt like everyone and their brother, were watching.  I could see my trainer in the distance shaking her head like, “what the %#&! are you doing?”  I trotted away from the jumps and was excused from the ring.  My third round was a repeat of my second genius performance, with the exception that I had a few nice lines then totally blanked out again.  At this point, I knew my brain was not where it was supposed to be, which left me  feeling frustrated.

As Savez and I walked out of the arena, my trainer confirmed this failure was all me, and had nothing to do with my horse.  Duh.  Negative voices started whirling around in my head and I wanted to give up.  I had to dig deep and remember the very same advice I tell my kids: always give it your best and don’t give up, no matter what obstacles get in your way.  Ugh, for some reason my own advice suddenly sounded annoying.  Feeling negative felt much easier.  I walked back to the barn, untacked Savez, gave her a snack, and regrouped in a chair outside her stall.

savez + seleta

A bottle of cold water and a cheap taco later, I re-tacked Savez and we went out to complete our remaining flat classes.  She was obedient and we both did well.  I’m glad I didn’t toss in the towel that day.  I had to push past the feeling of failure and keep going.

WE ALL MUST FALL…

Last week was the first time I was unseated off my mare in our three years of riding.  But as any equestrian knows, a fall is  just a matter of time.  Thankfully it was a safe one.  We were cantering in the arena and she suddenly spooked along a tree line and shot out like a bolt of lightening.  It was fast but at the same time felt like slow motion.  One stirrup lost.  Then the next.  I tried to reach down to grab her mane as a last resort, but no luck.  It was at this moment she took a hard left.  I almost hung on, but physics won and I popped off her back  like a cork.  I don’t remember much, except flying over her neck, hitting my head really hard, then seeing four hooves above me.  I thought, “oh crap, she’s going to break every bone in my body.”  But she didn’t step on me.  The wind was knocked out of me and everything hurt – mainly my back and head.

We looked kind of like this.

horsefall

After I ate the dirt, Savez just stood there looking at me.  She was like  “oh, my bad.  But did you see that fire-breathing monster in the bushes!?!??”  

horsefall4

My trainer brushed the red dirt off my back then gave me a leg up to climb back on.  I felt seriously out-of-it, which is probably why I wasn’t afraid to ride her right away.  I have zero memory of riding her after the crash.

horsefall

IT’S HOW YOU GET UP…

One of the many things I love about riding (aside from the joy of loving/caring for a horse) is that it forces you to face your fears when things get too uncomfortable or simply don’t go your way.  No time for excuses or weenying out, you have to just ride through it.  Much like life.  Honestly – how many times do things go exactly “our way?”  Sometimes we fall and have to get right back up.  Riding is great practice for how best to deal with the bucks and kicks of life.  It also helps develop discipline, patience, leadership, and the ability to “carry on” despite staring eye-to-eye at a challenge that feels much bigger than you.  These habits can’t help but trickle into personal life and influence the way to handle the day to day, which is never perfect.  Whether it’s overcoming a fear, pursuing a hard-to-reach goal, raising kids, or just hanging in there during a challenge.  Riding is a great teacher for pushing through it all with grace and perseverance.  I’m grateful for my horse and thankful for last week’s challenges in my riding life.  It built some character.  I leave with one of my favorite horse quotes…

“Three choices in life:  

give up, give in, 

or give it all you’ve got.”

By Seleta | 13 Comments

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  1. 1
    kates May 2, 2014

    Good for you for not giving up! I was teaching cheer camp one summer and during a stunting sequence I fell and got a concussion. I ended up blacking out so I had to go to the hospital and it was scary the weeks following. Once I was medically cleared to cheer and stunt again I had a hard time concentrating and I can totally relate to that hazy feeling you experienced. Eventually the trust and confidence eventually returned and I pushed through it and came back better and stronger!

  2. 2
    Seleta May 2, 2014

    Oh that sounded serious, Kates. Head injuries are no fun, and can be scary. Thanks for stopping in to share : )

    Seleta

  3. 3
    CArolyn May 2, 2014

    So glad you are back blogging AND that you are recovered from your spill. That must have scared you and your family. You were missed.
    You are so correct in your correlation of life and getting back in the saddle. One simply cannot let fears guide decision making!

  4. 4
    Dawn May 2, 2014

    Oh, goodness! So glad you’re okay. And good for you for getting back in the saddle – and keeping your sense of humor – my dog also sees those fire breathing dragons from time to time, but luckily we do not ride her. :)

  5. 5
    Denise May 2, 2014

    So glad that you are back in the saddle. I hope that you will consider replacing your helmet.
    Horses spook at the oddest things. My 31 y.o. retired eventer is the spook master. Apparently he had never seen a wheelbarrow the other day!!

  6. 6
    Eileen May 3, 2014

    As George Morris says, “Either go to the hospital or get back on”. Although, I don’t agree with that statement wholeheartedly. To me it always seemed a bit callous and unfeeling. I am glad you are feeling better, but I do not like your trainer’s comments after you blanked out at your show. My first instinct is to tell you to find a better trainer. Did she not know that you had a concussion? Of course it wasn’t the horses fault-the horses don’t memorize the course-but, to be negative and not compassionate gives me pause.
    Good luck with your riding, but please take it slow, especially after a concussion. Your brain is something precious that needs to be taken care of. And, get a new helmet! After a fall like that it will need replaced.
    Hope your community is recovering after the terrible storms, thinking of you all down there.

  7. 7
    Wendy A May 5, 2014

    Not to tell you your business, but you need a new trainer. Even wearing a helmet, after taking a hit like that she had no business helping you back into the saddle regardless of that old chestnut of getting right back on the horse. Please take it easy on yourself – concussions do not magically heal after a week. It’ll be better than a month -if you take care of yourself – before you begin to feel like your self again. I was 10 when a cat ran across the trail and spooked my horse. I managed to land on the right side of my head, shoulder, elbow and knee. I gimped around for the rest of the summer, unable to read my Nancy Drew books because of the headaches I would get, and to this day my right side can predict the weather!

  8. 8
    Andrea C May 5, 2014

    So sorry to hear about your injury…hope you are feeling better everyday! Concussions do take time to heal..

  9. 9
    Crissy May 5, 2014

    Oh my! So glad you are ok… what a scare! Two of my girls ride horses and a fall is a fear of mine each time they get in the saddle. Admire your passion and tenacity. You can choose to live life on the sidelines or you can get in the game….

    In addition to you, I hope your area is recovering from the terrible storms. What a doozie of a week you had. Blessings…

  10. 10
    pam May 5, 2014

    oh gosh, seleta, glad you are feeling better. hmmm, i’m all for “getting back in the saddle” but that sounds like quite a serious fall for you to be put right back on the horse. give yourself time to heal… even mild concussions take awhile til you’re back to normal. (speaking from experience). pam

  11. 11
    beth May 6, 2014

    Please take care of yourself. I’m stubborn, have fought through injuries as a runner and a rider, but concussions are no joke at all. Really, they need to be taken seriously. There was just a recent study showing girls and women need on average at least 28 days or so to recover from a concussion.
    I understand the desire to tough it out, having BTDT. In high school I persisted in running on an injured leg, and turned a stress fracture into a full blown fracture of my fibula.
    I don’t want to overstep, but seriously, I hope you are aware of things like second impact syndrome. Any injury to your brain by getting back onto your horse could be potentially devastating. Posting this not to tell you what to do, but that there is such a thing as too much toughing it out. I think your trainer was completely inappropriate, and I’d be sure to talk to your healthcare providers about the lingering effects and what a second impact could mean.

  12. 12
    Seleta May 6, 2014

    Thanks for the input everyone, I am doing well and under the care of my physician. All is well : )

    Seleta

  13. 13
    Sarah May 19, 2014

    Oh my goodness! How scary and glad to hear you are doing well with your recovery. I too have been offline for a bit and am just catching up on your blog. My aunt was recently thrown from her horse and went head first in to a post at the end of her barrel race. Lots of staples to the skull. I cannot even begin to imagine!!

    Prayers for your continued improvement. I’ve always found your blog so inspirational and grounded, this post is no different. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  • Simply Me

    SeletaI‘m Seleta, a city girl living the beach life with my husband, fabulous four offspring, happy horses and frisky fur babies. A former TV personality turned Designer, I love to share the sparkly side of life. Read more here.
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