What a draining week it has been.
On Sunday afternoon Miranda and a Friend went on a trail ride on the trails near our neighborhood. It was my idea since,as you may have read in my previous blog, Pippi needs to pack on some muscle and get in shape for the riding season. No better way to do that than climbing some hills.
On their way up the hill to the trails Miranda called me, so I knew approximately when they entered the trail head. I sat down to watch "Awake" on the DVR with my son, and about half hour later my cell phone rang. It was Miranda, and she said calmly "Mom?" When I, in an annoyed voice (as this was the second phone call to disrupt the show),answered "Yes," she succumbed to tears' "Mom, I'm hurt."
Those words sure can get a moms heart to skip a beat. Trail ride on horse back and you are hurt? Ran out the door like a madwoman. I yelled at my husband on my way out, telling him she was hurt and that I would call him if I needed to. To be fair, I have run out the door like that before, horses do tend to cause some damage, with it in the end just being some bruises or a sprain. Poor guy, is used to the "Horse emergencies" like Pippi is bleeding, limping, Horse is lose, Miranda fell off, etc.
I drove to where they entered the trail, thinking they could not have made it very far since I "just spoke to her." Parked, shoved keys and cellphone in pocket and started my career as a tracker. Miranda had little idea what trail they were on at that point, or how far in they were. These trails are between to major roads, so although there are a lot of trails to meander, one can only go so far without seeing civilization. So I ran, watching the prints of two horses in the dirt. At each fork I found the tracks and kept going. Then I jogged, seriously, I am not in great enough shape to run in the woods for very long. I called Miranda intermittently, and just kept going. She told me what had happened:
Pippi had been up front, was frightened by something on the trail (an animal, a rock, a tree stump? who knows), and was hopping, backing up and turning at the same time, bumping into the other horse that was behind her. This horse took offense, spun around and kicked out at Pippi. I am sure her behavior was threatening to him, so he reacted. Basically it was two horses being horses, over reacting quickly and dangerously the way prey animals will do.
Pippi reared at the kick, Miranda fell off and for good measure rolled through some briers on the hillside. Covered in scratches, she looked down at her aching ankle and realized as the pain set in that she was seriously hurt. Her ankle was bent at an alarming angle, and it HURT!!!!!!! The kick from her friends horse had hit her right in the ankle, and it was clear that this was a very bad situation. She could not move without blinding pain, blood was seeping through scratches criss crossing her arms, and Pippi was nowhere to be seen. Only one thing to do; CALL MOMMY!!!
So there I was running through the woods, calling "Pippi" softly (to not send her running) and hoping that they were around the next bend, over the next rise, or around the next turn. Up and down hills I ran. Mud splattering my jeans, and filling my sneakers. I eventually met a couple who kindly went with me for a while. His health was not the best however, so eventually they turned around to take what he thought was a quicker route to the pond Miranda stated they had just ridden by. I chose to follow the two sets of horse tracks to be sure I was not wasting time. This turned out to be a good idea as the couple later found that he was wrong about where the pond was, and she sent him home and then followed me.
Finally after going down a very steep hill I saw the pond. Circled it, and down another hill. I knew I was close now, because Miranda stated they had just passed the pond. She called and said that Friend found Pippi, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I realize that sounds terrible. My second question after "are you okay?" was "where is Pippi?" Clearly Miranda was okay, she was calling, and she was talking, so although worried about her, I was freaking out about the runaway horse. I envisioned calling every horse person I knew to search for Pippi while I took Miranda to the ER. The roads that circle the trails are busy, and an Interstate is nearby. My imagination was showing me all kinds of frightening scenarios. But she was found, so I could now concentrate on my daughter.
Finally I see an animal with a large white butt on the next hillside, and I hear "Mommy?" I found them. I estimate I had hiked a good 2 1/2 -3 miles at that point.
Friend was holding the two horses, Miranda was down the hill in the briers still down. She looked a fright; huge eyes, pain edged on her face, but she was keeping her cool allowing only a few stray tears to escape. The right ankle was swollen grotesquely, and the angle was a sure sign that it was broken.
"How are we going to get me out of here Mom?"
"The same way you came in, on horse back."
She blanched, but it was "cowgirl up" or stay in the woods. No time to get a fourwheeler, as the sun was going down soon. I was also concerned that the horses would be frightened by a contraption like that.
I checked on Pippi, who was soaked in sweat and foam, and still a bit worked up. Friend showed me that one of the reins had broken off the bit. Clearly Miranda would have to ride Friends horse. I helped her up, she hopped towards the horse, gritting her teeth, and I hoisted her into the saddle. Left leg was fine so she stepped into the stirrup, and swung the injured leg over. Ouch!
We had called Kevin and Donna, and decided (after some confusion) they should meet us at another trail head with their truck and trailer. It was a mile and a half hike out. Miranda clearly suffered as Friend walked her out on horseback, but she managed to keep talking and even cracked some jokes. Pippi was keyed up, but acted fine. She seemed to know we were heading home, and kept smelling my shirt and looking at me. "Human, you will not believe what happened, the mean horse kicked me!! It was so scary..... I hate the woods!! Don't ever make me come here again!"
The kind lady I had met earlier found us, and kept us company, providing some distraction and chatter.
We finally made it to the trail head, and waited there for Kevin and Donna. When the sound of a Diesel engine could be heard coming up the hill, Pippi perked up and whinnied.
"We are over here!!" she seemed to say.
After Kevin parked, and came around the back of the trailer, she whinnied again.
"Thank God you are here. I want to GO HOME!!!!"
We loaded both horses, after getting Miranda into the back of the truck. They took off for Friends house to drop her off, and I ran back into the woods to get to the car on the other side of the trails. After another mile or so (and boy was I tired, as I had already walked 3 1/2 earlier in the day for exercise with a friend), I jumped in and met them at our barn. We unloaded Pippi, removing water and hay from her stall since she was still hot. Brought in all the minis, and fed them in a hurry, and headed to the ER.
More to come...............