An Eventer’s Guide to Being Grounded

We announced the finalists in the 7th Annual EN Blogger Contest, and now we are bringing you their first round submissions. Leave your feedback in the comments, and please offer your encouragement and support to the finalists! We hope you enjoy their creativity, insight and love of the sport.

Jolynn and her “wild pony princess” at Whidbey Island Horse Trials. Photo by Emily Pestl-Dimmitt for Action Taken Photography.

I’ve been trying to keep my riding alive this spring. But, I broke my leg in May. Just sheared off the bottom of my fibula as I stepped down on wet decking and slipped at just the wrong angle. So, while I got super motivated watching The Event Formerly Known as Rolex, Badminton and the like, here I am hobbling around for a few months.

This slip up left my ponies without exercise and training. I made grand plans to catch up on tack room organizing, tack cleaning, blanket repair, mane pulling and clipping. But the reality is, the first two weeks are spent icing and elevating, and then all the rest is catch up at wobbly snail’s pace. Perhaps not surprisingly, my to-do list did not get done.

What did get done? My laundry is very clean. I’ve caught up on Netflix shows, social media and eventing blogs. I’ve had a lot of X-rays. I’ve had a lot of wine. And almost seven weeks into this, I’ve now had the time to come up with a list of interesting tidbits for riders with broken limbs.

1. Your horse’s ice wraps with Velcro straps work really well for human limb icing. You’re going to need that ice wrap for the first week or two.

2. Do not explain to your orthopedist what eventing is. Just tell them you have a horse (if you must) and leave it at that. It will be painful enough calling show secretaries to scratch entries.

3. If you can bend at the knee, get the knee scooter! It’s a life-saver for the first few weeks in the house. Ditto on borrowing or renting a power scooter for getting in the barn and fields. More importantly, both prosthetics are also great for desensitization work with your pony.

4. Ground work, groundwork, groundwork. A pony that does not spook, push, step on feet, and follows voice commands is worth her weight in gold. Not even kidding.

5. Stirrup-less work. Do it now before that’s all you’ve got. And go ahead and build or buy that taller mounting block. Ponies can be a little spooked by ladders.

6. A nice bareback pad is good to have. Casts and boots don’t fit in stirrups. Just saying …

7. Chocolate makes it feel better. So does wine. Even my ER doctor agrees with this.

8. Make friends with a physical therapist! You’ll need the reality check and the kick in the butt.

9. Jump judge, scribe, and keep up with eventing on EN.

10. Just pony up and do it. You really do have to get right back in the saddle! Go eventing!

About the author: My name is Jolynn Wagner. I am a 50-something former upper-level, now lower-level eventer. My paying job is in the mental health field, but I gentle and train mustangs for eventing as well as the occasional OTTB. I grew up eventing in Area II and now bounce between Pennsylvania and Seattle, hopeful to settle in one place sooner rather than later. I’m generally still horse obsessed but also love my cats and dogs.