She is my baby. She loves to ride horses. And every once and a while, you think, Geez, that’s my baby up there. That horse weighs over 1000 pounds more than her. So it’s scary. Then she rides for three years or so, and you get a little complacent. Just a few bumps and bruises, but nothing to worry about.
Then one day, a new horse comes to the stables. She is just warming him up, nice and slow, because it’s a hot day. Just like she’s done hundreds of times before. Her trainer is in the ring with her, and they’re walking slowly. Out of the blue, the horse takes off at a full gallop. No one can catch it and she’s holding on with all she has. He won’t obey any commands from her or the trainer or the 10 other people who ran into the ring to try to catch and stop him.
And then the scary part. He does a huge buck and throws her right off of him. Luckily, the three years of lessons took hold and she pulled her feet clear of the stirrups so she wouldn’t get dragged. I can’t even imagine being that young and self-possessed enough to know I have to let go or get tangled up in the hooves and dragged.
And then the really scary part. She bounces down all three rungs of the rail, hitting her head on the way down. She bounces off the rail and onto the ground on her left side, bounces again, and lands on her back with her leg twisted under her. I can promise you, the last thing you ever want to see is your baby on a backboard, with a neck brace on and her pants cut up to the knee, strapped down in an ambulance. I definitely lost it. She was much braver than me.
And then the amazing part. The EMTs and hospital pushed her right through. About ten doctors and nurses run into the room to help her. They ran tests, and did x-rays, and gave her medicine for the pain. They bandaged her up, and she is in a sling and a knee brace with a ton of cuts and bruises. But we were so lucky. It doesn’t look like anything is broken. Her knee is a little too swollen to tell, and she’ll be seeing an orthopedist at the end of the week. But she can put weight on it and walk.
She is happy and smiling. She still hurts, but she doesn’t complain much. She was sad that she couldn’t ride in the horse show on Sunday. She wants to go to a party she was invited to today. And she wants to go back to riding as soon as possible.
I hesitated about whether to blog this. It is still so raw to my heart. But the resilience of children is something amazing to behold. I am so proud of her and how she handled the whole thing. She is fierce, and I love her.