This was a weekend to be remembered for many years to come. And not altogether in a good way.
Friday morning I discovered that my chicks had started hatching. My favorite black hen, had hatched her one egg- with a big fat little black chick. He was following her around and was sooooooooo adorable! A couple hours later I looked at my Blue Splash colored hen in the hen house, and there were two yellow (going to be white) chicks chirping away under her- with more eggs still cracking!
Shortly after that, the girls and I headed out to Rapid City, South Dakota for the Barrel Bash. When I say girls, I mean, Kelsey, along with our interns, Kara and Emily. The cowboy was going to come out the following day in the morning. Or at least that was the plan. I really didn’t like leaving when I had chicks hatching, and the dog known for massacring chicks around but what was I going to do?
Friday afternoon Zach called me to tell me that the veterinary interns that come into the country once a year were coming out to geld our colt herd- they’d do up to 15 horses (for free- good practice and all), so he wouldn’t get to leave until after that was over. And that Kelsey’s pony- her first horse of her own, was not doing well- that he thought she was colicky and hot, so he’d given her some banamine (the equine equivalent of Tylenol) and was going to observe her for a while.
We made our runs, and when I ran my gray mare, I managed to hit two barrels on her. I have never hit two barrels in one run on a horse before. And certainly I didn’t expect to hit any on her.
Here’s Nora’s Run:
Then I made my first run on Gump- which was one of his prettiest runs ever. I think we’re finally getting our timing down. Which means the speed will follow soon enough.
After that run I got a chance to talk to Zach and he said he was still on Speckles watch- that he thought she might be more comfortable but that he didn’t’ think she was going to make it. He’d dosed her twice with the Banamine. Sigh. She was at least 30 years old.
Saturday when we were on our way to the barrel race, we got the call from Zach- that Speckles would have to be put down. Cowgirls don’t cry until they lose a friend. And Kels lost her first pony- the one that gave her a love and joy for riding. It only made it worse that we weren’t there. When the vet came out on Saturday morning to geld our 15 studs, they did a belly tap and discovered she’d ruptured her intestine, so they had to put her down. Needless to say she wasn’t the only one in the truck crying when we got the news. Zach had to deal with her crying little brother, and two nieces here at home. The girls and Ty cleaned her up and told her goodbye before they put her down. They were also able to cut off her tail so Kels can have a piece of her. It’s always sad to lose a friend. I think I was better prepared for it because Zach and I had talked about it on Friday night, and I know that I am not that far away from the same thing happening with my old horse who lives with my parents in Texas.
Zach missed my Saturday runs, which were also pretty good- I managed to keep them all up on Nora, and Gump ran a tenth slower but I was still happy with his run. The girls made good runs on their horses too!
Nora’s clean run.
Zach arrived shortly after we finished our runs- at our friend’s place outside Rapid where we’d been keeping our horses. I am always relieved to see him. I don’t know why. I guess it’s because he’s comforting!
Saturday evening we picked up a student who’s here for the next month for horsemanship classes. She flew in to the Rapid Airport, so while the kids swam at the Hotel, we ran out to the airport to get her. By the time we got back, all three passengers were at the end of their energy levels for the day.
Sunday arrived all too soon, and before we knew it we were headed out to the arena to make our last runs of the weekend. The girls made great runs, and both Kelsey and Kara came out smiling. I managed to hit barrel #2 on my mare, again. Itwasallmyfault!
Then came my run on Gump. We’d been really gelling all weekend, and I wanted so bad to go out there and be about an 18.8 (that would have put me close to winning the 4D on him.)
Well I did manage to win $108 check for my effort, and a trip to the ER on that run!
Yes that is me coming off of him at the end of that run. And apparently, Cowgirls don’t cry until the EMTs from the Rapid City Regional Hospital put you on a stretcher and lock you down in a neck brace and strap you to that rock hard, most uncomfortable board, known as a stretcher.
I guess I have some ‘splainin’ to do!
When I came off, I really wasn’t planning to do so. I thought I was gonna get my horse stopped but we just ran out of real-estate. He zigged, I zagged and when that happened, I flew into the portable panel that was there to keep us from the cement wall. Had the wall be there, I’d probably still be in Rapid at the Hospital. Zach was standing back by the warm up pen before my run, telling me how good my horse looked and to go have fun, and when he saw me get loose, he was jumping over the fence, so he missed the whole wreck. I managed to get up to my hands and knees, but the wind was knocked out of me so bad that I couldn’t really tell what hurt. I remember looking at my horse thinking, I have to help him not be scared here, because he was looking at me like, “what are you doin’ down there, Jenn?” but I couldn’t muster the energy.
Some woman comes over and is like, what hurts honey? Another woman is like, she hit her head on the panel. And I was cognizant enough to tell them that it wasn’t my head that hurt. that it was my neck and back. They immediately made me lay down straight, and made me wiggle my toes. Two of the women there were an EMT and a Nurse. They were both helpful. They asked my name, how old I was, what day of the week it was, what date it was, etc.
I don’t know who took my horse, but I remember asking about him (SEVERAL TIMES). I wanted to make sure someone took his boots off him and unsaddled him. Zach said that the girls had taken him. Someone asked if I had any family around and someone mentioned that my husband was right there (someday he’ll be my husband according to society). Zach was holding my left hand, the EMT was holding my right hand, and someone managed to find some washcloths for my forehead and my neck. I remember hearing the announcer have someone call for the ambulance. I remember asking Zach if we could just drive home and see Colette, his sister, who is my Doctor, and he said, no honey, you better stay here. And then either the Nurse or the EMT tell me, they’re calling the ambulance, I don’t have to go with them if I don’t want to, but they will be better able to check me out. I recall being asked if I had ever broken a bone, which I haven’t, and they said that I would know if something was broken. I was pretty sure nothing was.
I vaguely remember them saying, well she’s finally slowed her breathing and she’s not sweating as much, and I recall seeing someone fanning me with my cowboy hat. Then the EMTs showed up and I started crying. I wasn’t crying until then, but I really didn’t want to go to the hospital. So I kinda lost it. Zach just said to be quiet and stay calm that I was fine. To keep trying to relax, that it was better to be checked out and safe than sorry later. That I could have been holding on by a thread. They put a neck brace on me, did the same things/tests that the previous EMT had done, felt my legs, my ribs, my arms to check for fractures and then put me on a stretcher. That is the most uncomfortable thing I have ever been on. Then I recall them saying that I would feel like I was floating as they picked me up and put me on the bed. I remember the EMT saying, you weren’t crying when we got here, why are you crying now, and telling him that I didn’t want to go to the hospital.
The announcer said that in case anyone was wondering I was conscious and was talking. And then I got into a very cold ambulance, which felt great. Some guy named Jim introduced himself to me and wanted to give me an IV to speed things up at the hospital. I couldn’t decline fast enough. Zach rode in the front of the ambulance with me over to the hospital. Jim and I had a nice conversation about falling off horses (he had one flip over backwards with him and broke his pelvis in 4 places). He took my vitals, again (they have this cool thing that tells them how oxygenated my blood is, simply by putting it on my finger- showed me the machine- pretty neat) and felt through my ribs, my legs, my arms to again check to make sure nothing was broken. Asked a million medical questions. Ok Maybe not a million, but I really didn’t’ want to be there in the first place.
Then we arrived at the hospital. By this time, I realize I don’t’ have my insurance card with me and that I’m starving. I had only had breakfast, and then a snack size bag of peanut M&Ms before I ran Gump. I really hate running on a full stomach. I think it was probably close to 3pm when I arrived at the hospital.
They checked me in, asked Zach a bunch of questions, took my vitals again, and then had me wait for the doctor. It was very irritating being in that neck brace because I couldn’t move my head, and so half the people that were helping me I couldn’t see.
When the doctor arrived he checked me over he just said they’d run me into the xray room.
A few moments later the xray techs showed up. I don’t recall both their names, but one of them was named Jennifer. So she can’t be bad, right. They told Zach they’d be about 20 minutes, and I remember telling them to please hurry because I was starving! They did about 10 xrays- down the lateral view and from the top. As note to self, don’t wear sequined shirts or blingy belts if you have to be in a hospital. B/c you practically have to get undressed for xrays. They were very nice and i never felt like they didn’t care about my dignity. That’s not my point. I just found it humorous!
About 15 minutes after I get out of Xray, the nurse comes back and says that I can’t eat until the doctor looks at my xrays. Zach says, well Jenn they don’t want you to eat in case they need to operate. FREAKING OUT! He says, but the good news is, that portable panels have some give, so I bet nothing’s broken. However if you’d hit the cement wall, we might be in a different situation. The doctor comes back and says the xrays look good, that I’m just bruised up and that he’s going to prescribe a muscle relaxer and to take 1000mg of Tylenol alternating with 600-800 mg of Motrin every 6 hours and that I’ll be sore for a while. He said a nurse would be in to release me.
In the meantime, while all this was happening, Zach had managed to call our friends with whom we’d kept our horses, and they’d dropped of a car for us, and picked up the kids and driven the horses back to their house. They fed the kids lunch for us, and were holding down the fort while we were being released and filling a prescription for Vallium, which I might add, is great stuff!
The sad part of this is that I had planned to take all my Texas girls to Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse the next day, and knew that wasn’t going to happen, so we loaded up early. The hotel manager gave us $50 off our room for the night that we weren’t going to stay in, which was very generous of her.
Monday I awoke to find a bunch of dead baby chicks, and both my mama hens gone. I still don’t know where they are. I was sore, hobbling around outside, looking for chicks, and calling for the mamas. I managed to find 6 chicks, 5 of which are still alive, and doing well. They’re living in my kitchen. The mamas, well, they’re nowhere to be found.
At least since bad things happen in threes, I should be safe for a while.
I hope that everyone else had a weekend that wasn’t quite as adventurous as ours!