Saturday, July 16, 2011

Darkest day of my life:(

Seeing as how my muffin man still is lacking 2 shoes, I'm going to step away from him for a second. As y'all may or may not know, I am the assistant trainer for a local big name trainer. I run her lesson program, coach the IEA team, and do summer camps every summer.

The light of my life, my 9 year old son Kody, is my entire world. He is the reason I get up in the mornings. He is bright, funny, outgoing, and talented. He is more of an artistic/performer type kid as opposed to an athletic kid. He hasn't shown a HUGE interest in horses ... he's enjoyed the few times he's ridden, but the walking down to get the horse, lead them up through the grass, groom, tack up, etc. hasn't been his thing. I haven't pushed him because horses are MY thing, and I refuse to push my dreams/desires etc. onto him.

So, that said, Kody participated in camp this past week. I decided that since he'd been asking to ride again that it was high time I make him learn to do some things instead of the "playing" around with it he had been doing. This week has been great. Monday, he started out hanging onto the front of the saddle at the trot and leaning over like he was in 2 point. By Friday, he was sitting up, hands low on the withers, posting with his heels down and looking pretty darn good! I even had him try a little canter down the long side of the ring; Red is a saint with a canter that feels not too much different than his trot:) Kody told me "No, no, no!" but I convinced him to try, and he nailed it.

Later that afternoon, the kids hopped on bareback. I put Kody on Ducky because he's a pony and has a trot that's smooth as glass. Long story short, I pressured Kody to trot; I ran with him down the long side, he did GREAT, and that was that. As Kody walked away from me, he was trying to fix where he'd slid off to the side a little bit, and started getting panicky. It escalated to him screeching, Ducky trotting, him screaming, and Ducky getting up to a canter than yanking his head down.

I knew he was going off. I steeled myself for it. He was crying and screaming, and then he hit the ground with a sickening CRACK! When he hit the ground with that much of a noise and then complete and utter silence, I sprinted to his side; I've been teaching for 14 years and made the journey many times. But I have NEVER in my life felt like I did in that moment. I'm crying as I type this. By the time I got to his side, he was writing in pain, saying, "MY HEAD, MY HEAD! OWW, THAT REALLY REALLY HURT". I kept a level head, knowing that he's my dramatic child, and assessed his condition. He was really knocked for a loop. I calmed him down, wiped his tears, removed his helmet, and checked him out. I felt reasonably sure he was just fine, so I once again forced him to do something he didn't want to; I put him up on Red and led him a lap around the ring. His instincts took over and he sat up, still weeping as I led him around, and then I let him off.

After he recovered his wits about him and calmed down, we were finally able to go home after the other campers left. He took a shower, and it was like instant transformation. I had my baby back. I have been beating myself up since it happened. I had a nightmare about it last night. Kids fall; it happens. I KNEW that if he was to continue to ride, he would eventually fall off. I'm kicking myself for pushing him to trot. It was NOT my fault that he ultimately fell; it WAS my fault that I made him trot, then he lost his position. It was then just complete and utter panic that escalated into him coming off. I will never push him like that physically, ever again. In the long run, why did I CARE if he trotted right then? He doesn't love horses; he will never ride for the Team in any discipline. I should have just let him do his thing, and I wouldn't be watching him like a hawk right now. I learned a lesson, that's for sure.

Anyway, I'm sorry! Just had to get the incident out of my mind by getting it on the computer screen. I'm so incredibly grateful he wasn't hurt. I'm so grateful I made sure his helmet fit him perfectly. He is taking it easy for a few weeks and not being too adventurous. I love my child more than I love my self, and I will do anything for him. I'm sure I will stop beating myself up soon.


  1. Oh goodness, PLEASE don't beat yourself up! You sound like a wonderful mommy, accepting of your lovely son and supportive of him no matter what he wants to do. Yep, if you ride horse, you will fall off. But you had him in a helmet and he was fine:) Isn't part of parenting *sometimes* getting your kid out of their comfort zone? Anyway, I'm glad he was ok...take it easy on yourself, really:)

  2. Try not to best yourself up!!! As a fellow mom, I understand exactly how you feel. Take a deep breath, remind yourself all is well and just try to put it all behind. A good lesson for both him and you.

  3. Sarah, you're so right. I don't coddle him; when he's being a "drama king", I stay very matter of fact, which usually works very well with him. I DID want to push him a little bit; and really, he did GREAT! I just wish I'd walked over to the horse and took the reins for just a second when he started to panic and maybe I could have diffused the situation ... or maybe it was just his time to fall off and it would have happened anyway.

    Stephanie, thanks. I just keep seeing him hit the ground and land so hard and still. It's like a bad slow mo replay of a horror film. He's been absolutely fine and perky all day today; he said he had a headache earlier, but hasn't taken any Tylenol or anything, so it must not be too bad:) I REALLY just needed to get that off my chest so I can stop replaying it over and over. I do feel better since posting ... thanks again y'all. Input is always good for me:)

  4. What you are going through is so normal and natural. You have both had a trauma.

    I had a couple of bad days like that once when I tried to get Ebony going for Caleb and she bucked him off. It was my fault.

    It's natural that even bad dreams would come. Look at how attached we are to our child(ren)!

    Just tell him you're sorry and that Mommies make mistakes sometimes. :-)

    I am glad he is ok. Good job on the helmet.

  5. I meant to say that a near miss carries its own set of reactions. It can even feel like grief even though everyone is fine (we are haunted by what could have happened.) It's normal so honor your feelings while you move on at the same time. :-)

  6. So scary! I hate, hate, hate watching people fall. I can't even imagine if it was my own kid! Glad he's ok. Eep.

  7. Thanks again for your kind comments. I've finally stopped replaying it over and over in my head. Son is 100% fine, THANK GOODNESS. And Allison, you're so right about the "near miss" trauma! The thought of what 'could have' happened sent me over the edge! But now the first fall is over with ... I'm sure he will ride again, but the memory of his fall will have to fade first, or so he told me.

  8. Thank goodness your son is okay! :) I would have felt the same way, and even though you do everything that you can to make sure they are safe, you still want to allow them to experience life and sometimes along with that comes bumps and bruises! My daughter who is 7 is more into ballet than horses and secretly I'm a little glad for that :) My 3 year old son on the other hand is just like me so I'm so scared for the time when he's older and riding on his own. It's not easy being a parent!

  9. Jen,
    Even though I don't have a kid of my own yet, I know the feeling of knowing that a child is about to be separated from their mount. It's never a fun or pleasant thing (the last two I had both broke arms!)and we as instructors always start beating ourselves up and taking the blame, but don't let you do that to yourself. The thing I have realized about this sport and the reason we love it so much IS because there's the element of danger. Because the threat that we might fall off is why when, we as riders, triumph the win is all that much sweeter. So keep your chin up and think of all the wonderful happy moments that riding has brought you...