Aren’t horse people wonderful? One can write a title like Adventures in Abscesses and know that every horse person will look forward to it as avidly as the non-horsey would approach Adventures in Austria. How many of you are grossed out? See? Just the two people who were trying to find a random humor blog. (Sorry. Had to pat you all on the back. And give the two people time to leave.)
I decided to make this as easy as possible.
I waited until it was pitch black outside, then drove to the barn with my camera, pen light, and good intentions.
Adventure A: Pre-treatment exercise
Tiny’s abscess has been lanced: walking is not only good for him, it’s imperative to keep the circulation going for the infection to heal. The bad news: it’s the right thing to do even if he’s still a little sore. (Not lame, not off, just ouchy) Walking outside is too rocky, walking in the arena is a bit clumsy with other people riding, so I opt for Bute and a bareback pad. He still has his diaper-padded, duct tape boot on.
When Pops left, so did the 3-step mounting block. What’s the big deal? I’ll use the 2-step and leap right on. Tiny is smart. He’s figured out long ago that the mounting block doesn’t strain his back. He’s totally with the program, and lines himself up perfectly. I grab a chunk of mane with the reins and do that hop and swing-over thing that lands one lightly on a bareback horse. I run into a slight hitch. I may think I’m 15? But I passed 15 a loooooong time ago.
I don’t land on top. I land on his side. I have my right arm over his neck, my right ankle hooked onto his right hip bone, I can see under his neck (the location of my head) and my left leg is clumsily flailing around under his belly, because it’s still convinced we made it. The right side of my body is yelling MAYDAY MAYDAY, and the left side of my body is saying “What? Huh? How come I can see under his neck?”
Even the most perfectly sane, reasonable horse would not be at fault for reacting in this situation.
Tiny sighs the troubled sigh of a deeply disappointed psychiatrist, cocks his left hind and waits to see how I’m going to get myself out of this.
My right leg decides the perfect resolution would be to dig my heel into his hip bone and haul myself up that way. My left arm yells “HELLLLOOOO! You will kick him, where do you think the rest of you is??!!”
My body continues to hang off his side while various parts argue about how to get out of this predicament. Tiny uncocks his hoof, reaches his head around, shoves his nose under my butt, and tries to push me the rest of the way up.
Awwwwww. How sweet is that? He loves me. I press my face into his neck and squeeze him in a big hug.
Focus Jane! Focus! You’re still sideways here.
Tiny manages to shove me up enough that I unhook from his hipbone and drop to the ground. Funny. I didn’t foresee this ending with me landing lightly on my feet on the ground next to him. I apologize to him profusely and kiss his nose. He rolls his eyes and shifts a little closer to the mounting block. No way. I gave a BIG hop/swing and still missed. Not going to try that again. I get on by backward climbing the fence, doing the stomach launch, and twist and sit up. Voila. On board. I look around to see if anyone has noticed my “miss” and creative mounting skills. Ooooo. Lucky me. No one saw me splat onto his side except the former Dressage Olympic Medalist.
You know the times when you feel insanely compelled to say um, I know that was odd, but I can ride, really. No. Really! That is absolutely the moment you should not open your mouth. I bite the inside of my cheek. Maybe she wasn’t paying attention.
What universe do I inhabit?
She rides up. “I wondered how you were going to get out of that.” She’d been on the off-side, seeing only my hands, the bottom of my right boot, and my head dangling beneath Tiny’s neck. She doesn’t know Tiny picked me up and unhooked me. She thinks I undid myself. I bite my cheek harder and smile sheepishly. Do. Not. Speak. Fortunately, her horse spooks and off she goes. Tiny flicks his tail lazily. I look at him suspiciously. I think he does Herd-Mind-Meld. It’s entirely possible that he sent a visual picture of a cougar to the other horse. He’s smart and protective. I pull carrot stubs and cookies out of my pocket.
For me?, Tiny says, only mildly surprised. He has no trouble at all reaching around and taking them from my outstretched hand. I feed him every single one. I don’t care that it’s bad manners. He deserves them. We’ll deal later with the stopping and peering around for more cookies.
Lord I love this horse.
to be continued…