I had two unexpected injuries this past week; both minor, worthy only of a little princess-y whining. But both left marks, and both happened while sitting on a horse, so I think it is blog-worthy.
The first occurred while “shedrowing” a horse. Shedrowing is the very un-British Horse Society method of working a horse in the barn, while other people are hot-walking horses, mucking out stalls, and wandering around being general nuisances. You shedrow at the absolute worst time of day, during training hours, when the barn is packed: the shedrow is even narrower than usual because there are water buckets, wheelbarrows, haynets, fans, shopvacs, and farriers all over the place. The threat level of running over a spaced-out groom is orange: very high. It is insane.
But, like a lot of the crazy things I do these days, kinda fun.
So I’m shedrowing this horse and he’s the kind of horse that has absolutely no idea what your leg is. I don’t think he can feel it. He makes me want to wear enormous roweled spurs. I don’t, because that would just be wrong (some riders do, though!) but I do like to ride with my reins in my left hand and my stick out and at the ready in my right hand. It gives me a wild Man From Snowy River feeling, which I like, plus it is easier to give him a whack from time to time to keep his lazy butt moving.
Unfortunately my reins were in my left hand, which meant that when he decided to cut a corner, I didn’t have the right rein in my hand to pull him away from the wall, which meant that I was on a collision course with the concrete wall. I saw it coming and lifted my left leg up as high as I could, because I figured that if I slammed my knee into that wall, I’d probably fracture my kneecap.
The ensuing collision was so painful that for a few frantic seconds I thought maybe I had fractured something just below my kneecap. I pulled up the horse and sat at the end of the barn for a few minutes, working my ankle and knee until I was certain everything operated properly. Then I managed to get my foot back in the stirrup and went on. But the bruise – oh, kids, the bruise! I should take a picture for you. But I won’t.
Now the Very Fast Bee story. This one is equally painful and actually, the pain has lasted considerably longer. I was galloping, relatively quickly, and thoroughly enjoying myself. Just on top of the world. We were near the wire when I felt this terrible explosion of pain on my stomach, just below my vest. I slapped my hand to the spot, because my first thought was that a bug had been in my shirt and had chosen this opportune moment to bite me. The pain went on and I rubbed my hand up and down to crush it, but the turn was approaching rapidly and I needed my left hand to change leads.
I made it around the track and have never, ever been so happy to pull up a horse. Breaking my “don’t show skin to the exercise riders” rule, I pulled up my shirt and investigated. There was a massive red and white mark, like a spider had bitten me, but no icky crushed spider remnants. Back at the barn I showed it around and my husband, whom bees find delectable, pronounced it some sort of sting from a wasp or another horrible winged insect.
It turns out that poultice is nice for taking some of the pain away from a sting, but not all. It bothered me the entire day – swollen, red, painful to the touch – and it’s taken three days for the swelling and redness to fade. Generally speaking, bees and I get along just fine, so this was a new experience for me. What are the chances that the first bee sting I get out of grade school is on the back of a galloping racehorse?