<% appTitle="Ridecamp Archives" %> Ridecamp: [RC] AHAM Part Two

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    [RC] AHAM Part Two - Maggie Mieske

    After we left out after the half way check, he started to get bored. I did all my usual "checks"...does he need to get off the trail and pee? Poop? No. Thirsty? Hungry? No. No. None of those things were an issue. He wasn't off or lame or hurting. He was bored with no one to ride with. I was so mad at him! I found a little switch to remind him that we did NOT have time to stand around at the top of the hills and look around at the scenery. Nelson met us at the gravel pit and wanted me to get a bigger stick! From there to the next pit stop was going to be kind of long for us but I hoped he would pick it up when he realized we were getting close to the vet check....he always seems to know. I swear he can read the pie plates even!! This next stretch was pretty uneventful and he started perking up and a good gallop here and there got his adrenaline going. He started going strong again without the lollygagging and sightseeing. As we approached the golf course, I decided to hug the left of the trail in the grass as earlier, Sara and I had missed our turn up the hill and into the woods. Yep, there were the plates on the trees and I followed the 4 wheeler tracks right up along the hill...Malik loves to gallop the hills and I think he knew Nelson would be there soon with a snack and a drink.

    So suddenly that it happened in the blink of an eye, a bird rose out of the grass to our left and in front of us. A BIG bird (and NOT a yellow one!). That is all I remember. The next thing I knew I was on the ground and I heard my helmet make a cracking sound as my head struck a rock. I never even saw what kind of bird it was but Malik later told me it was a prehistoric horse eating pteradactyl. No kidding. He tells me some good ones but he couldn't have made THIS one up! We think it may even have flown right into him, knocking me right out of the saddle. Anyway, I got up as I had not been able to maintain my hold on the reins to find my horse. Looked to my right and there was Malik running across the sand, three legged. His left front leg held STRAIGHT out in front of him. I thought his leg was caught in the reins but then I saw it wasn't and I just KNEW he had broken his leg. I am sure I called upon the Lord over and over in the few seconds that felt like an eternity that it took me to catch him. I may have even used some other words. I'm not sure. I felt his leg and shoulder and couldn't feel anything wrong. He didn't even flinch, just hung his head like a whipped dog. Embarrassed perhaps? I am not certain how the thought process took over at this point or if I was even thinking that straight...when I had heard my helmet crack, I instantly thought of Shelly Dake who had hit her head two years ago at Hopkins Creek, had taken ibuprofen, continued to ride and when she later collapsed many miles into the ride, was hauled off to emergency and didn't ride again for a long, long time. Please remember that ibuprofen inhibits blood clotting. Another old lesson learned the hard way. Don't take aspirin or ibuprofen for headaches resulting from a head injury. Anyway, after discovering that I could get up and walk, my only concern was Malik. I took him up the hill and into the woods for shade...it was starting to get plenty hot in that spot. As we walked, he started putting his leg down and bearing weight on it. I saw the golfers on the golf course and idly wondered if they would be upset if I walked over with Malik and sent them for help. I sat down, cried momentarily (I think) and then started to wonder what I should do. The riders behind me were WAY behind me. Sarah Michelin had just come into the half way check (a 50 minute hold) as I was leaving out and Andy Redman and Shelly Dake weren't even in yet. I knew I would sit there for quite awhile before anyone came and then they would have to send back help. I knew Nelson wasn't too far away so we started walking. As we walked, Malik moved faster and faster, showing no pain or swelling or ANYTHING. Relieved that his leg hadn't fallen off yet, I started wondering about myself. Was I in shock? I had a headache. Would I pass out here on the trail? I finally decided to get ON my horse and let him take me to Nelson. He even opted to trot in some spots but that didn't help the headache so we mostly walked. When we finally met Nelson at the road, he had a thunderous look on his face (I knew he would be disappointed that we were so far behind now). The look disappeared when I burst into tears...I don't normally cry. I consider myself pretty tough most of the time. But this accident had scared the shit out of me. I was so glad to see someone. Nelson checked us both over and after drinking some water and taking some deep breaths, I decided to ride Malik in at a walk to the vet check (not far) and have Dane check him out before deciding what to do.

    The first thing Dane did was check ME out. He held his hands out in the thumbs up position and asked me how many fingers I saw. I said "Two". He said "Wrong!". They were thumbs not fingers. OK, OK. He is a very funny man. Hahaha. But I appreciated his concern for me and he then immediately checked out Malik. There was some slight swelling above the fetlock. He felt it was a deep flexor injury, not severe but "there". We immediately said we'd trailer him back rather than try to finish. I wasn't sure if "I" could finish anyway. Dane was pleased and seemed surprised that we so quickly opted to pull rather than to push the issue. I think he would have pulled us anyway and we had a discussion on types of pulls and the stigma attached to them and the codes, etc. I didn't give a hoot what anyone thinks about my "pull" record. I do what is best for my horse. Sure, I was disappointed that we didn't finish. But I have a horse to ride another day and there is ALWAYS another ride somewhere, someday but there will NEVER be another Malik. Ever. So, we iced his injury right away and waited for the horse ambulance...thank you, Daryl Yerrick for providing that ride back to camp...were we glad to see YOU!

    I know this has been long but I do have an important point to make along with the interesting and humorous anecdotes.

    You are reading this today courtesy of my Troxel Dakota helmet. "Nuff said.