Monday, May 25, 2015


I think my biggest fear since I started riding again was the fear of Ashke falling. My second biggest fear has been coming off of him in some form or other. That fear, of being thrown and hurting myself, was faced in June of 2012, when I came off and hit flat on my back hard. I ended up in the emergency room with a CAT scan and bruising that kept me on the ground for at least three weeks. The fear of Ashke slipping and falling has stayed with me though. I had two falls in my childhood, one which left me with 35 stitches in my face, a severely sprained left ankle and damage to my L5 vertebrae. The second left me bruised and battered, with a strained neck and scrapped face. Not something I really wanted to through at this point.

Yesterday, it happened.

Ashke fell.

We had decided to take T out to the barn and have him run in Van Bibber Park, while J rode her bike and I took Ashke out. We had partly clear skies and temps in the upper 50's, so it was perfect for all concerned. It also gave T a new place to run, which is at least half the battle. We knew it would be wet, but I don't think we expected it to be as bad as it was. We got to the barn and I booted Ashke. The front boots are fitting very nicely since his trim, but the back boots are loose. This has been a factor since starting him in the boots. He is too small for 0.5 and the 00 size rubs his heel bulbs, so I'm not sure what I am going to do. I got him saddled and we headed out.

I had told T that we might struggle to keep up with him, since he runs at 6 to 7 mph pace and Ashke and I struggle to maintain a 4.6 mph pace. We played leap frog for the first mile, until there was a safe place to canter and then we caught up. At the end of the trail, near the soccer fields (which were packed) we stopped for a breather before turning around. There is a nicely groomed area with short grass and great footing were Ashke and I have cantered before. He was game so we started our canter. I was looking down to the inside shoulder, asking for bend around my inside leg, when his back foot slipped.

I blame the boots.

He slid down onto his left side. I slid off onto the grass.

I didn't hang up nor did he land on me. J said his hind end fishtailed and he went down. He scrabbled to his feet quicker than I did, and I missed grabbing the reins. I said his name, which is usually enough to get him to calm down, but his left hind boot had slid off his foot and was still wrapped around his fetlock. He spooked at his own left leg and headed back. J and T threw their arms up trying to distract him, while I shouted out to grab his reins. I knew he would stop if they could grab the reins. J said afterwards she had no idea what to do and T said he didn't want to get ran over. Ashke ran around them and was about to head for home.

During this incident there was an old man, probably in his upper 80's with a cane, standing next to the sidewalk at the edge of the fence. The fence came down on both sides of the sidewalk so it made a natural gate of sorts. I was hobbling after Ashke, panic rising as I thought of him tearing for home with that one boot still hooked to his fetlock wondering how in the hell I was going to catch him, when the old man reached out and grabbed Ashke's rein.

Ashke stopped and stood still.

Thank all the gods for the kindness of strangers.

I thanked him profusely as I hurried to take my horse from T, who the old man had handed the reins to. We pulled the back boots and I checked Ashke for any injury. He was fine. I walked him around a bit, then swung back up. He felt even better without the hind boots than he had with them. We headed back to the barn.

We rode 4.75 miles, with the extra loop I threw in with Ashke. He was tucked away none the worse for wear.

I, however, landed on my left boob and severely bruised it. My neck and shoulders are sore. My groin muscle on the right is stretched. This morning I ache, but a hot shower and some ibuprophen should help. 


  1. What a terrifying experience, Karen, but I'm so glad both you and Ashke are okay, and that the man was able to catch him and that he stopped!

    I have a problem with boots and mud, which is why I get resentful over rides that require hoof protection regardless of weather: they really don't offer much traction when it's slippery out unless they have studs. I ride Lily bare in the wintertime because of the amount of wet + slippery footing here. Is this a possibility for Ashke for the future when riding on wet ground, at least for his hinds?

    Now that your mileage on trails with him has stabilized (and thus his feet shouldn't get any larger other than inbetween trims), would Renegades maybe be an option for his hinds? You can find them used all the time on the FB page: They have a fit guarantee if bought from a rep (such as Aurora, Ashley or Mel) whether used or new: if they don't fit, you can send them back anytime, basically, and they really are inmensely helpful with troubleshooting fit problems. When those boots work for a horse, they really truly work. Maybe for the end of Ashke's trim cycle if the Gloves aren't fitting properly at that point? Just a thought that popped up while reading. :)

    I'm glad you can rest and recoup today, and hope that the aches are greatly diminished by tomorrow!

    1. It's funny that I didn't feel scared at all until Ashke got up and took off, then I was scared for him.

      I'm going to have to figure out something, since I really don't want that to happen again, and any time I am riding him in boots, we run the risk of his hind feet sliding on wet grass or mud, because there is a lot of water to cross right now. If I hadn't just had him trimmed I would have ridden him without any boots, since the ground it relatively soft across the street, but I was worried about his soles. I have fought this same mental battle every spring since I brought him home. I need to talk to Dr D about it on the 4th. I don't want to do something that will risk his stifles.

      And I was feeling fine today, right up until I swung on my horse. I wanted to cry. It's been years since my inner thighs hurt that much.

  2. Oh Karen Im so sorry that happened. I know at least 1/2 my riding friends horses are bare foot and use boots. All the power to you guys.. I personally have had bad experiences with boots and ridden with many friends that ride in the mountains in different terrains that have had big problems. And yes the boots fit.. Thats why during the summer months i opt for shoes on my horses.. Hope you heel quickly and Ashke is ok..

    1. Ashke is great, as you will see in the next post. I'm sore and achy but I think it will be mostly gone by the next time I ride.

      I struggle with the shoes/no shoes thing every spring and summer. One of the issues is that Ashke doesn't have a ton of hoof wall and I don't want to risk ripping off his hoof. I need to ask the New Farrier what she recommends.

  3. Oh goodness. I'm so happy you're okay! That is terrifying. Thank goodness for that old man indeed.

    And can I just say T running a 6-7 mph pace is outstanding?! Go T!


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