See that island in the bottom right? That’s not supposed to be there. See that island in the bottom right? That’s not supposed to be there.

Roger and I have had the discussion: What happens when I have a serious accident? Something that takes me out of commission? Compromises our income? And, compromises our lifestyle? When you work with horses, it is only a matter of time until you break. I broke Sunday night.

I was turning Deszi out in the upper paddock for the night. Just as I stepped closer to her to remove her halter, something rustled in the timothy. Like a playful puppy, she leaped into the air and landed base-wide, angling down on my right ankle. As she reared to get away, I held on. As I tried to quiet her, I realized I couldn’t put weight on my leg. As she ran around her field, I fell to the ground and breathed deep and low like a woman on the verge of an earth shattering contraction. I swore. I swore a lot.

I hobbled after Deszi, removed her halter, hoisted myself on the fenceline, then hobbled to the house. Still breathing deep, and still swearing. This was a very bad sprain.

I was a "FALL RISK!"

I was a “FALL RISK!”

The next morning, a friend and sports medicine physician told me to have it x-rayed. Turns out it wasn’t a sprain, but a sizable tibial fracture. I had a successful surgery Thursday, and now Roger and I are adjusting to a significant change in roles. In this situation, you can either laugh at your misfortune, or allow it to drive you beneath a mountain of sadness. I choose to laugh. Here are a few humorous anecdotes:

  • Caution tape: I was considered a “FALL RISK”. Suddenly, I felt old.
  • The dogs have been very attentive – particularly when I’m in the bathroom
  • I never knew my armpits could be strong (I hate crutches)
  • I am getting a glimpse into our latter years of marriage: “Hunny, have you taken your MiraLax today?”
  • I have discovered 7 ways to climb and descend a set of stairs
  • Sponge bathing is no fun, for just one
  • Do not take more MiraLax than is suggested!
  • Without insurance, this surgery would have cost us $29,000. That’s a nice horse!

And the best realization: I am more nervous before entering the stadium ring, then I am going under the knife.

Cooper: Post-op assistant.

Cooper: Post-op assistant.

Even when you’re surrounded by people, it is easy to sometimes feel alone. I have been humbled and softened by the many offers of help and support we have received – some from folks that we have never met face-to-face, but know us through the horse world. Students are throwing hay, checking water, and picking stalls around their lessons, neighbors are checking-in, and I have received so many uplifting texts and emails. We are so lucky to be a part of this community.

Taking advantage of motorized assistance.

Taking advantage of motorized assistance.

This accident could have been a lot worse. And I am thankful that it was just a fracture (a clean one, at that). I am also thankful we have health insurance. So for now, I hobble out to say hello to Garth and Deszi. They are very confused, but seem to be enjoying their downtime. I continue to teach lessons, and have so much fun watching these ladies work their horses. It is another reason to heal well so I too may soon be in the tack having the same fun.


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