It has been three months to the day now since I flew off of Star while riding up on the trails behind my house.
It was a slow recovery. I got used to using a walker, a cane, and gradually climbing up the hill again where I go in the warm months to just be, and to stretch and do Tai Chi. But I have made it back. A bit stiff and out of condition, but I am on the road to recovery again. I notice when I am up on the hill overlooking everything that I feel connected to the earth. My feet touch the ground and it feels soft and welcoming this time of year. I also notice that when I stand at the top of the hill on a sunny day in the morning that my head is surrounded by a halo, which is the droplets of dew intensified in the morning sun. But I like to think that it’s partly being connected to everything.
I’ve had a hard time thinking. I’ve had a hard time starting to get back into condition, but I am achieving it. I’m back to my yoga practices, which has accelerated the whole process a lot. But now there are questions of what will happen — where do I go with Star?
It was early August when my friend Monica was riding Star. She wanted to ride to help keep her in condition, and Monica is an experienced rider and it looked like a good idea that I rode a neighbor’s horse nice and quiet and Monica rode Star. We had a good ride in the woods. Star had been acting perfectly, but on the way home, something spooked her and she tossed Monica off. The roadway was rocky and very hard, and Monica was injured badly, and she went off to the hospital.
This has caused me, I want to say, as much pain as it has caused her – but maybe that’s not true. But she is undergoing the same recovery that I went through. I’d like to think it won’t take as long.
I have to say I feel ashamed that it happened. I look at Star, who is a beautiful pony, and I know she didn’t do it on purpose. But the result is still months of recuperation, quite a setback. I know I do not want to send Star away. I will continue to work with her on the ground, lunging, doing liberty work and taking her for walks, but right now I do not want to risk another episode of flying through the air and injuring myself. I will ride another, quieter horse, for now.
Star had issues with trusting humans when she arrived and was extremely nervous. She still is flighty, and very cautious about new people and new situations. I’m glad she loves Vanilla the llama. He was the main reason that I wanted to have Star come and be here with him.
I cannot make any solid decisions right now. It’s like this great elusive dream slipping away from me when I consider having her and not riding her. Because there is something very special about riding off into the woods with the gentle movement of a horse that is also enjoying the ride.
I do not have Star simply to ride her. I have to come to grips with the main reason that I have a horse is because I love them, I enjoy caring for animals. I love to see her, I love to hear her whinny, and I am happy that my grouchy llama likes her too (finally!). So, for now, I will have to just evolve and see how things work out. I would not want to consider another person taking her and then in a year or two deciding to part with her and have her go someplace where she didn’t have a good home. So I am happy with that.
Her human trust issues are deep-seated. The hoof that she arrived with that had a deep cut, the pattern goes right down her hoof and has to have been a horrible experience to recover from. A lot of restraint has to have been needed to help her recover. I have a feeling that this restraint made her hypersensitive and extra fearful.
I have worked with cows who have been injured, but horses are much more expressive and agile when they are hurt. I do put this injury as a likely cause of much of Star’s fear of being hurt. It has to have been extremely difficult to restrain her and she has to have experienced a lot of pain getting this hoof healed. When she first arrived, I was looking at her hoof with my friend Monica. We just looked at the hoof and Star screamed. Noone was touching her, or even touching her leg. It just had such bad memories. As time went on, it was fine to brush that leg and finally to pick up the hoof and clean it out, and Star is good about that with me, now, and good with the woman who trims her feet.
When she gets in a situation where something new happens or she is spooked, she kind of has a PTSD response which I do not seem to be able to reach beyond, and for humans too, it’s hard to go on with your life when you have this type of trigger in your mind. So I have to respect that. And I will move forward doing the best that I can. I have seen Star settle and become more accepting since last spring in 2018 when she arrived here. There is so much more that needs to be done. I don’t know if more quiet time and quiet handling and age will result in a quieter horse, or whether she will carry the fear response with her throughout her life. I have to work through this as well as Star.