Disclaimer: Sorry Mom and Dad if you freak out reading this, I did try to call and tell you first yesterday ;-P
Maybe this was a self-fulfilling prophecy, and maybe I jinxed myself. But remember how I was a little bit worried about our recent progress and the inevitable downhill trend which would follow? Well, it ended up being me going downhill (or rather, downhorse) pretty abruptly on Wednesday evening when Starbuck gave one of her patented sideways spooks coming out of a jump. I remember trying to do my standard "land feet first" mojo but my foot was lodged in the stirrup just long enough for me to land firmly on my right hip, with my head bouncing down after it a few miliseconds later.
I jumped up as soon as I could and got right back on and did a couple of laps in canter for that old "get right back in the saddle" thing - I've learned the hard way that the longer you wait before riding again after a nasty fall, the scarier it is when you get back on. But I think I realized that I was a little too woozy to finish the class and when the resident Boy Friday at our stable, José Luis, offered to cool her off for me I gratefully handed her over.
The next couple of hours are a little fuzzy, like after a night of really heavy drinking when you can only remember embarrassing splotches of the night before. Thankfully my friends Virginia and Belén realized that maybe me driving home wasn't the best idea and jumped into action, with Virginia taking me to the emergency room to make sure everything was OK and Belén driving to get Sergio so he could pick up the car and meet me at the emergency room. Thanks girls!
Anyhow the doctor checked me out and said he thought I had had a light concussion and was now fine, but ordered a CAT scan just in case which was a new experience for me. He also kept me in observation for a couple of hours, during which time I obsessed about being exposed to the H1N1 flu which is going around Spain these days. But they let me go home shortly after midnight, just in time to make it to the Burger King before it closed. This is a tradition with us - my husband loves American fast-food, so whenever Sergio has to go to the hospital with me I take him to Burger King to try to make up for it.
The next day I found that some serious hip pain along with a stiff robocop neck had decided to join up with the headache, so even though I went to the office I went home at lunchtime and on Friday I decided to take advantage of the fact that I hardly ever take sick days and rest up. Saturday I finally made it to the stable to clean her stall and prepare her feed for the next few weeks, although because of some residual hip ouchies I didn't ride. I did get a brand spanking new helmet though (my old one had received a few knocks and I was already planning to replace it) which I'll try out today - I'm really looking forward to getting back in the saddle and it's a beautiful day, as soon as I publish this I'll head out to the stable.
So what are my reflections on all this? I plan to once again ride one of Marina's more dependable horses in a lesson at least once a week, perhaps without stirrups to work on my balance. Marina has recommended that since I had her wolf teeth pulled this year, I should try out a bit (maybe something with a little leverage like a Pessoa) on Starbuck to see if I can get her used to responding to light rein aids even when she's worked up. Lately she's been pulling on me a lot every time she's feeling skittish or high spirited - I've been riding with a Hackamore for the past year and a half which she's always done quite well on, but since I've been building up her strength she's not responding to it like she used to. I'd rather use the bit during a few months and go back to 100% light rein signals with the hackamore than have to pull on her whenever she wants to go faster than me. And finally, I'm also quite obviously not going to be quite so overconfident when riding Starbuck.
But most of all I'm just hoping this valley won't be too deep or too lengthy and am looking forward to moving back up.