Injured List

Yesterday I sprained my ankle riding my horse. Yes, you read that right. I sprained it riding, not falling off.
Seriously though? How do you almost break your goddamn leg without falling off the horse?!
(All photos from before our move, because I feel like it.)
Honestly the whole thing was a freak accident, though weirdly I find myself cursing for shortening my stirrups and solidifying my position. This is what allowed the whole thing to happen.

Let me back up. This story is getting out of order.

Bast is at that moment in his training where I'm asking him to work within a box daily. Most days he's the sweetest and hardest working of gelding brains, turning himself inside out to figure out how to make his body work the way I ask. However. Every other week, we have THAT RIDE.
You know the type. Everyone has them. The ride where you get on your horse and wonder if aliens took him in the night, whether changling horses are a thing, or if he fell in turnout and suffered a massive TBI complete with memory loss. In short, it's bad.

For Bast, these rides typically result in 20+ minutes of evading the box. Poor dear child, he thinks he's trying new things by shifting his haunches willy nilly in response to pressure, tossing his head, rooting the reins, and falling on first one shoulder, then the other. Little does he know, his brother was 500x worse. It's a rough life as a kid with a mama who has survived all this crap before.
This is not a piaffe. This is a child's tantrum.
My response is typical and effective. I shorten my stirrups, so my leg is very secure. I then I put my legs on and my hands as still and forward. We ride many changes of direction in a forward gait until he aquieses to my request to keep his haunches under his body and to flex throughout his ribcage. Like I said, he typically gives in within 20 minutes or so.
Ahh, much better, though still behind the leg and hand...
Yesterday, however, he was ready to die on this hill. I assume his lack of turnout the day before in frigid temperatures contributed to the attitude. My choice to address his balking at the arena door where we must stop to open it didn't help. He was jumpy to start, and already defensive. Still, moments of relaxation glimmered. Just before the incident, he had stepped into the most glorious uphill right lead canter of his life.

All this to say. I should have called it a day. But I wanted to prove a point (Ugh, why self? Does this EVER work?), and so we pushed forward for one more suppling trot set.

It started beautifully. Bast flowed into an uphill trot, moving into a shoulder fore to the left, a movement we struggle with daily. I sank into my right ankle, supporting his outside hind and reminding it to flex and push. That's when he decided he had one more evasion in him.
This shoulder in is so hard for him.
He spied the window in the arena side door. A window already passed 100x already, with zero change in view or light. And he, very uncharacteristically, spooked hard to the left. My right ankle, flexed and turned slightly out, took all my weight for a moment while I balanced.

That's all it took for a subtle pop to start causing me immediate and severe pain. I pulled up Bast, then collapsed over his neck cursing and panting. At first I worried the ankle had broken, but as I gingerly moved it, decided the outside stabilizing tendon had just peaced out instead.

After walking a good bit, I was able to finish out my ride and get off. (Ouch. Hai ground.) My Petries seemed to be supporting the ankle, and I was loath to take them off. However, I had to change them out to something more mud and ice worthy to get Bast back to turnout (which he clearly needed). The boot change took my breath for a moment, but was acomplished. The horse was turned out, and I headed home to a night of ice and ibuprofen.
I love these boots so much, but they do allow my ankle a lot of movement within the boot.
This morning the ankle is definitely still tender. I have hopes the whole injury is minor. I am able to walk mostly unhindered (going down steps is a nope, which sucks as I live in a basement apartment). The swelling is minimal, and my range of motion seems to be increasing already. Fingers crossed this is a short setback.

I have to be honest. A few things went into this injury, beyond Bast's spook and my shortened stirrups. I've been neglecting stretching and working out for far too long, allowing my calf muscle to overbalance my weaker ankles. Plus the right stabilizer was already angry from a couple of weeks of hiking in deep snow and ice. One sharp movement at the wrong angle was all it needed to snap into an acute injury.

Let this be a lesson to us all. We cannot neglect our own conditioning, for that leads to injury just as often as neglecting our horse's. Thankfully I do think riding is possible, but I will likely give the snarky little Bast tonight off.
I still love you horse, and I know you didn't mean it. Though I did want to kill you.
I feel like my worst injuries have actually come from not falling off my horses, now that I think about it. I've had my nose broken a couple times, when the back of my horse's head met my face. I've had damage to my teeth from similar things. Not to mention the kicks and head injuries from dealing with easily startled horses on the ground. Probably falling off is safer for me at this point. Anyone else feel that way?


  1. yikes! Serious freak accident! Hope you heal quickly!

  2. When Carmen does her sudden deke to the inside it can cause a twinge in a back muscle. It hurts! I hope you heal quickly.

  3. Oooh, owie! Take care of yourself and heal quickly!

  4. Oh yeah. I sprained my left ankle walking in my cool down after doing a 2 mile run. I stepped in a hole.

    That was 3.5 weeks ago and it's STILL wonky. I've been alternating some support methods depending on my shoe choice of the day.

  5. UGH. Let's just all agree that winter sucks and we're ready for spring already. Hope you feel better soon!

  6. Agreed. Falling off would probably damage me less than what happens when I'm in the saddle! lol

  7. OUCH!! Hope it heals up quickly for you!

  8. Oh man, that is such a huge bummer. I cannot imagine what I would do if I realized I had a sprained ankle while still IN the saddle... would not want to land on that after dismounting.


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