Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Dragged at a Barrel Race

Kelly got dragged at our first barrel race. It was my biggest fear—falling and getting caught up in the stirrup and being dragged. I was on the bleachers inside the indoor arena when it happened. I can’t stay with her by the gate. I’m a nervous mommy. I’m going to make the kid a nervous wreck:

“Okay, let’s review. What do you do if a horse bucks?”

She recites what I told her to do in a bored tone.

“What do you do if a horse rears?” (I think by saying “a horse” and not using Bullet’s actual name, I won’t put it into her head that this could potentially happen but I want her to know what to do if it does.)

More monotone repeating.

“What do you do if a horse bolts?”

She rolls her eyes.

“Stop rolling your eyes! These are emergency procedures that every rider should know!”

I continue. “Now shut up. What if you fall and your foot gets caught in the stirrup and he drags you?”

Once she gives me the proper answers, I slap said horse (Bullet) on the rump and say, “Okay then! You’re good to go!”

Doesn’t mean I stop worrying. One time we were at a race and I confided in the mother sitting next to me that I was nervous. She leaned over conspiratorially and asked, “Would you like a tranquilizer?” I was flabbergasted. Truth be told, nowadays I have gotten worse and I’d probably take one. Either that or some good old fashioned pot if I smoked it.

That’s why Kurt was out in the warm-up area with her. Let him do the dirty work. He thinks I’m overboard anyway. I felt my blood get hot like I was getting ready to run. When they called her name, I stood up and turned on the camera. The thing I was worrying about was Bullet acting up at the gate. He has a history of that with me. Trying to whirl around. Getting a little light on the front end. But he hasn’t done it with Kelly. They’re a good team. He knows she’s his herd leader and he has confidence in her. Me, he knows I’m scared. As in I’m 50-years-old now and I haven’t ridden regularly for a long time so I’m very weak and all I keep thinking is, if my horse throws out a little buck or jumps sideways, I’m a goner. Therefore Bullet has no confidence in me and when I try to calm him down, he says no way.

He entered the gate with no problem. Whew. They raced to the first barrel and I thought, “This is good.” He went a little past it but she stopped him and turned. All of a sudden, he disappeared from the camera lens. It looked like he’d dropped right into a hole. Boom! Gone! I looked up. He’d fallen down! Right on Kelly’s leg! When he scrambled back up, her foot was caught in the stirrup and he dragged her! I ran down the bleachers and hopped over the vinyl fence or through it, I don’t know. Kurt said I broke the fence. All you see on the video are big halogen lights on the ceiling jerking around and dirt flying by. And me crying, “Oh! Oh!” That’s when he was dragging her. She bounced like a rag doll being pulled in the dirt by a little girl with a thumb in her mouth.

Luckily, after a few strides, she somehow fell free. I think I was kneeling in the dirt helping her up and saying, “Are you okay? You’re okay! Are you okay?” before Bullet, the racehorse, even reached Kurt at the gate. That’s how fast I ran. Kelly jumped up and the audience applauded. She wasn’t hurt; just shook up. She was bawling out of shock but she was okay. Bullet was also okay. We walked back to the trailer, giggling now, giddy with relief, reviewing what happened.

“Did he trip? Was he on the right lead?” And “Did you turn over on your belly like I told you to?”


“Kelly! What about the emergency maneuvers?!”

I brushed the dirt off her back and she readjusted her helmet. Then she wanted to get on. I didn’t know if she was going to be scared to get back on him or not but she didn’t blink an eye. In fact, she was mad she couldn’t make another run. And she was a little high. I think she felt proud that she escaped unscathed and was enjoying the attention from everyone asking if she was okay, kind of like a war hero back from battle.

My father, when I told him the story that night, threatened me with my life. Said if anything ever happened to Kelly he was going to kill me and berated me for getting her involved in such a dangerous sport. I said, “Where were you when I was a kid?” He said, “Horses were slower back then…” I suspect he had tranquilizers.


Tammy said...

OMG, you must have frickin' flew! I would have loved to have seen a video from across the arena of you flying over there!!!

Glad she was okay. Yes, to the tranqs.

Welcome back! I've missed your stories.

Motley said...

That was the scariest thing I ever saw! Something never to be forgotten I'm sure. Thankfully every thing worked out OK! That is some story Deb!

Becky Mushko said...

If she still wants to keep riding after that, then she's a horsewoman. More power to her!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Oh my God! Thank goodness she was okay. That's so scary. I can relate to this too, being a mom with two girls who rode and jumped and one still does but she's in her early 30's now.

It's not a good feeling to watch a horse somersault over a jump and land on his back with your kid thrown to the side on her head. Never thought of the tranqs.

CountryDew said...

Wow. I am glad she was alright. I fell from a pony and bruised a rib when I was around 10. I never got back on.

cynda said...

What a brave girl!! So glad everythinmg turned out ok! That was scary!

Christina said...

I am really glad nobody was hurt. "Horses were slower back then" is too funny.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Everything alright? You're alright......right? lol!

It was funny how many times she was asked that. I think it might have been more for all the adult's sake, and not so much for your daughter. We need that reassurance, eh?
I was a lot like that, too when I watched Bella buck my son Jax off a few weeks ago.....saming the same things. But I was so mad at that dang horse I wanted to buck her to to the moon for hurting my baby.
Bullet didn't mean to hurt your girl, though, and she was ok enough to get back on.
Oh! How I wish I had some of that same bravery, rubbery, bouncy, tough body that these young kids have.

If that happened to me, you would have asked me if I was alright...and I would have answered..."Uh no....could I have some tranquilizers please? I'd prefer an out of body experience
rather than feel the pain."

Gosh, girl! I've sure missed you and your captivating stories. Sure hope you're doing ok.

word verification: shemen
Tough cowgirls are like SheMen.

Gilly said...

Never having been on a horse in my life, your blog only confirms what I have always thought - Horses are Dangerous Things! ;)

If I had been there, I'd have had the tranquillizer, daughter or no daughter!

Glad she was OK - hope bruises and general shock have subsided now.

Jamie Ferraioli said...

haha omg, that last line is CLASSIC. Thank god Kelly's okay. I remember you saying you were going to get the breakaway stirrups now. I'm surprised with you and your worries that you hadn't had them by now!

Jeff said...

Wow! Breakaway stirrups sound like a real good idea, to me. No matter how much training you have, when you experience the event you trained for, things don't always go as planned. Thank goodness Kelly (and Bullet) are O.K.!!

It's good to read more of your wonderful stories!

Beth said...

Lord have mercy, that was scary to watch, Debi. Impressive speed over the fence there! :-)

So glad to know Kelly is okay. Good for her wanting to get back in the saddle---I don't think I'd be so brave.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Yeah, I got those Breakaway Stirrups lickity split!

At Colonial Nationals last week some guy was showing us this vest that blows up like bubble wrap when you fall off your horse. I was thinking THAT looks pretty good too! And maybe some body armor...

Sweetflutterbys3 said...

Oh my gosh, you sound like me with my kids. Just last week I was giving my youngest the "safety speech" I give each my kids before school starts. My middle one heard me, and started rolling her eyes. "Not that speech again, Mom! No one is going to kidnap us!" Yeah, right. Just shush up and listen to me cause you never know.

I'm so glad Kelly is ok. She is such a brave girl. Takes after her Mom!

Gail said...

I like happy endings.

How gray is your hair now???

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

I suspect it's pretty grey under all this Nice & Easy golden blonde number 8.

Shanda said...

Hello from one Missouri horse lover and blogger to another. So glad your daughter was ok.

Leonora said...

Wow! Brave daughter and brave mom! I know you were panicked inside, but you sounded very cool and controlled on the outside. Love your dad's comment : )

sloan said...

I think my hair is grey just from reading this story!

Kelly said...

I thought I was going to die.. :D

Amy Tate said...

Oh my goodness, I'm feeling every bit of adrenaline with you from behind this computer screen. Thank God she is o.k! When I heard you scream, "Oh! Oh!" I stopped breathing. Please give her a big hug from me and give one to Bullet too. I'm sure it freaked him out!

Giulia said...

There is no experience like experience to teach you lessons. All the preparatory words in the world can't prepare you for a dang thing, I think. The way you were describing it I thought broken bones at least. Glad not the case. I didn't know you had wings.....never seen somebody move that fast in my life!

Kelly said...

BTW, when Bullet ran to the gate, this guy threw his hat at him!

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

That's because he was afraid Bullet was going to run OUT of the gate Kel.