Welcome Olivia! She has quite a tale to tell!
My contribution to Tuesday Smiles is an incident that happened to me when I was twenty years old. I should begin by saying I don’t take myself too seriously, so therefore I don’t embarrass easily. Second, I’m terribly accident prone. Third, I’m not at all athletically inclined. These things, particularly the last two, are important as I dive into the coming story.
One of my loves in life is horses, and in my twenties I had an opportunity to take up hunter/jumper. If you’re not familiar with this sport I’ve included a stock photo (it’s not me.)
I can’t begin to describe how incredible it is to ride horses over jumps. It’s thrilling, you feel superhuman, and when you and your horse are in sync it’s magical. But unfortunately I fell off during lessons. A lot. But what I lacked in talent I made up for with stubborn determination, and regardless how bad it hurt or how hot-headed my horse was acting I always got back on.
I broke a finger during a fall. I knocked myself out (just a few moments, thank God for helmets!) after a fall. But the best story is one day during a packed class of riding students, my lesson horse Bonnie refused a jump.
(Again not me, just a visual)
This was from a canter so I’m going at a pretty good speed, before she slammed to a halt. And anyone who is accident prone knows physics is not your friend. I did a rather spectacular summersault over my horse’s neck—at least I hope it was pretty spectacular to the many spectators clustered around the riding arena. I came down in the middle of the wooden jump, landing on my backside.
I got up, wobbling, and as soon as I was on my feet, my riding instructor was there holding Bonnie. I climbed back in the saddle then realized I felt a bit…breezy. I reached down and discovered I’d torn a huge hole in the seat of my pants. My right butt cheek was in full view in all its blinding white glory. THEN I realized I was bleeding. Yes, when I’d landed I’d found the ONE rusty nail sticking out of the jump which had gouged a pretty nasty wound in my butt cheek.
My riding instructor told someone to go grab the first aid kit. Meanwhile students, parents, stable workers, basically everyone who could suddenly appear, suddenly appeared. I got an insufficient but acceptable bandage slapped on my wound, and my instructor told me to ride through the line of jumps two more times and then I could go to the ER. Which of course I did, because of the stubborn determination thing.
Afterward, I drove myself straight to the hospital, because I was still bleeding and I had a third shift job which I had to be at in a matter of hours. When I arrived at the ER I had to explain to the twenty-something year old triage guy what had happened. Several times, because landing ass-first on a rusty nail is apparently unheard of. I got ushered to a room, and I had a nurse (another guy around my age) come in to clean the wound. “I hear you got a rusty nail in your foot.” “Uh, no, not my foot…” And I had to explain the story again.
The doctor came in to stitch me up—yup guy, but older, and again I had to explain how I got the injury. After five stitches and a tetanus booster I had one last person come in to double check the bandaging and give me care instructions—with yet another explanation. You guessed it, a young guy. Really Poudre Valley Hospital? Are no women employed there?
From the hospital I rushed home, changed and went straight to work. When I arrived, I realized *sigh* I’d bled through the bandage and my pants. Luckily, my boss was a former nurse and one of my best friend’s mom, so she ushered me into the bathroom and checked to make sure all was well with the stitching. An incredible amount of people saw my ass that day, and I didn’t even strip for a living.
Then I had to tell the whole story to my coworkers.
“Are you done with riding?” they asked.
“No!” Because damn it, I loved it.