Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Value of Good Riding Apparel

This story is probably less about the title but more about the event and the "what did" and "what could have" happened....

A week or so ago I got this really nice postcard from Olson's Tack Shop about their upcoming big clearance event, including a 20% coupon off of one regularly priced item. On that post card was a photo of the very Ariat Boots that I have been craving since WEG...
The Windemere Baker by Ariat (In Black please!!)
 Since I don't currently have a budget for boots, I kind of knew that I wasn't going to go get them but I held on to the post card ... just in case.

Then on Thursday Olson's started posting photos of their tent sale merchandise on Facebook while they were getting ready for the big sale on Friday morning. I saw a shot of several stacks of Dansko shoes and sent Maeve a text to let her know that her beloved footwear, the same ones she'd had to put down so she could help rescue Sugar back at the beginning of the Great Paint Project, were on sale and I might have hinted that these would be less expensive in the long run...especially since they were half off.

Before long I got a call from her and somehow she'd been magically teleported from Tacoma to Bellevue and not only did she pick up a pair in red, but also a yellow pair in snakeskin .... and a few other things including a new pair of Kerrit's Full Seat Riding Breeches BLUE!!! She was so excited! I recycled my postcard knowing that my work here was done and it was not my day to get new black or any other color! The message was just to pass on the info to some other deserving soul. It was reward enough to hear how excited Maeve was about her treasures...and to feel like she finally got the reward she'd denied herself in order to help a couple of sad Paint horses...TWO YEARS ago!! (I can't believe it's been that long already!)

I try to remember to follow that little voice that tells me to do things even when I make a million excuses not to. On Sunday I was working in my storage unit trying to get things situated so I can finally move my (ex) business out of there. My original plan included going to see Coconut afterward but it was getting pretty cold and close to evening time so I thought I'd head home instead. I had to turn right before I could make the U-turn to head home but when I got to the intersection I decided it was really just a mile or so to go see my girl and I continued ahead.

As I pulled up I was excited to see Maeve's car parked in front of the barn and an arena full of people and horses. It always makes me happy to see folks enjoying horse time. I noticed right away that Maeve had on her new breeches and so I rolled down the window to say something stupidly clever like "nice seat" or something equally equestrian-y...until I saw the look on her face was not that of great joy but instead of great pain. Before I could get any info she said "I was just trying to call you" and I looked at my phone confused because I had received no such call...what she meant to convey is that she was trying to reach her phone to call me because she was hurt and could not bend into the car to get her phone or her purse. Thankfully one of our young barn girls, Vanessa, was there trying to help so I jumped out of the car to help if I could as well.

Maeve said she didn't think she could drive home and asked if I could take, no I couldn't in my right mind do THAT! She was clearly in pain and I felt she needed immediate medical attention.

It turns out that Sugar bucked during a ride, Maeve lost her balance and went feet over head (similar, I'm sure to my September unplanned aerial dismount) and had landed on her back. She says she got the wind knocked out of her and, after awhile, was able to turn over onto all fours, but was unable to stand from that position for quite some time. Eventually her wild pony (who had been standing at her side quietly) lent her a stirrup and she was able to stand. Once up she got this notion (as we all do) to get back up and ride, deciding to lunge her a bit first. It was then that she realized she couldn't move well and gave up on the remounting idea.

I told her I needed to take her to get checked out, especially after she could not lift her left leg to get in my passenger side. We were standing beside the car and I was wondering if I might still need to call an ambulance. We then tried to load her in on the drivers side into the back seat and it took some doing and a couple extra hands but she got in and off to St. Francis we flew.

Upon arrival there, I parked in the ambulance bay and rushed in to get a wheel chair, by the time we got back to the car with, Maeve was already out of the car but insisted that she had to walk in as she would not be able to sit in the wheel chair. I walked in behind her with my arms out like a force field ready to catch her at any angle. It was at the check in desk that a nurse stepped around to access her and when he ran his hand down her back she cried out in pain. He reached over and grabbed the phone calling a code yellow trauma in the ER Lobby...and suddenly 15 people came out of nowhere, descending upon her. They placed her on a back board, standing up, and then lowered her to the ground before lifting her to a gurney. although she protested a bit at first saying she was probably ok since she could walk, the nurse said that his concern was that she could walk tomorrow & they were going to take every precaution to make sure she could. That scared the daylights out of me and I was just standing there watching the whole scene unfold. I can't even imagine what was going through her mind at the time but I do believe that even if she hadn't been before, she was sufficiently scared by then.

As they wheeled her back into an exam room I noted her cool new breeches and already had a bad feeling about how long they were going to last in an ER setting. I toyed with saying something but I just kept saying to myself "No! her safety and well being is waaaaaay more important than a pair of breeches!" but it kept nagging at me and I wanted to bring it up so I asked her if I could make her laugh yet and she indicated "NO!" it wasn't a good time yet. So I kept the thought to myself....for the moment.

About then I realized my car was still in the ambulance bay so I excused myself to go move it and check on her dog Ruby (who was now investigating every interesting smell inside my car in hopes of finding something tasty). After moving my car and noting what wrappers were now empty on the seat of my car so I could tell Maeve later what her dog may or may not have eaten, I returned to the exam room. She was in a hospital gown and they were covering her with warm blankets. I glanced around the room to see if I could find any sign of the breeches....nothing!! Argh....the agony...somehow I knew that my job would be to make sure those breeches were not compromised!

Breeches are one of those riding apparel items that really make a difference to those of us who use them. I can totally tell the difference in my riding comfort in a well made pair so to find a pair that fit well, feel well and (hopefully) look great is a major discovery and, yes, we can convince ourselves to spend well for them! find that fit, quality and style ON like a dream come true!!!! The love story would come to a tragic end should one have to be cut out of them. I not the well being of the rider the most important thing?...well....yes....ok ... YES...but good breeches....I'm just saying...they're worth saving know...if you can!

The Doctor came in and ordered xrays so they wheeled her off. I was told I could wait in the exam room for her to return and I took the opportunity to approach the remaining nurse about the beautiful new Blue Kerrit Breeches..."I know this might sound silly....but were you able to save her riding breeches?", I asked. She started to laugh and told me that Maeve's main concern in the dis-robing process was too "PLEASE Save my breeches!!"

Great Minds Think Alike!

The nurse had a cousin who rides and she said she got the impression that everything about horses was expensive, including the clothes. I told her it's not cheap but more importantly is that when you find a good pair of breeches, they're priceless;  to get them on sale is even better but to only get to ride in them one time would have been heartbreaking. About this time they brought her back from xray and I told her about my conversation with the nurse and we finally got to have that laugh! Then one of the other nurses read my jacket logo...Troxel Performance Headgear...and asked me what that was. I proudly indicated it was a riding helmet company. It was only then that anyone bothered to ask if she'd been wearing a helmet. I was very proud to answer "YES, she was!!!....I wouldn't talk to her if she didn't!" ...and this weak voice broke through her pain to say "That's kinda harsh!"...with a bit of a laugh behind it. So while it's probably not exactly true that you can't be my friend if you don't wear a helmet, you certainly can't be close to me and NOT know how I feel about riding safety!. With all of the current unknowns about her physical well being,  her back, her legs, etc...she had not a single complaint about her head. She spoke clearly & logically and I felt every confidence that she saved herself the possibility of head injury because she does wear a helmet when she rides...EVERY TIME!!!

By now I hope you know that I can poke a little fun at her and I'm writing this with her permission because the xrays showed no fractures. Other than being very stiff and very sore, we believe she's going to be ok. She's still got a bit of a fight ahead of her in terms of dealing with the pain but she's a strong woman and she's already up and around...just slower and more cautiously than normal. We hope she'll be back to herself soon...and wearing those cute new blue breeches!

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