Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rough Ride

Was I just talking about a great vacation? I guess I spoke too soon.

Wednesday the husband and I got up early and took the baby with us to breakfast at a great greasy spoon in St. Germain. We got home in time to round everyone up to go horseback riding. The plan was for my nieces to go riding and I figured I'd hang out with my sister until they got back and the husband was going to take our kids to a park to play. Well, then my sister said that she was going to go riding with her daughters so I figured what the heck, I'll go too. The last time I rode a horse I think I was ten years old. The last time my sister rode a horse she was five and the experience wasn't a good one. Her horse walked straight into a bush and stopped and much screaming and crying didn't get it out of the bush. Little did we know that this trip would prove to be far worse.

We arrived, paid and then signed a release - you know the ones, you agree to not sue even if you are maimed or killed. Then we were assigned horses. I got Big Blue and yes, he was very big. We were ready to go when three other people decided to take a ride as well so we waited while they mounted up and then we were off. We rode through the woods and it was pretty easy riding. Every so often one of the horses up in front would slow down to grab a bite of grass or would just lag behind and then we'd all trot a little bit to catch up. Mainly the horses just seemed to do what they wanted without much direction from us. They followed one another, sped up when necessary and slowed down the same way. We were about half an hour into a 45 minute ride when my horse trotted a little bit to catch up to the rest (my horse was last) and the last thing I remember is my horse coming really close to my sister's horse in front of me and then I felt like I was falling. The horse was up on his hind legs and I was trying to hold on but I could feel myself falling off to my left and then bam! I landed on my hip and behind and had the wind knocked out of me. I saw my horse running off into the woods, I saw my sister turn around and call to the guide saying I had fallen off and then I tried to stand up. No way so I settled back down into the dirty trail. But then I saw my horse coming back towards us and I got up because as much as falling off a horse hurts I was guessing having a horse trample you would hurt far worse. While I was trying to stand up something happened, all the horses spooked and they were gone, all off in different directions taking their riders with them. I could hear the kids screaming and the guide was off her horse trying to control things but not having any luck whatsoever. I just started walking up the trail to find everyone and my sister wandered dazed and confused out of the woods. She was covered in blood that was coming from a large cut on her head. Next we came upon the mom and daughter that were riding in front of my sister and although shaken up, neither were injured. We found my nieces in a field just a little ways up the trail. One had a big bump on her forehead that was bleeding a bit and the other was scared with a twisted knee. It was a pretty crazy scene with kids screaming and crying, specially after seeing their mother covered in blood. It took a bit to get everyone calmed down and I tried to assess my sister's injuries. As I tried to clean the blood off her face I could see how deep the cut was, down to bone and told the guide that we would need to go to the emergency room. The guide had no way to communicate with the stable but luckily I had brought my cell phone. She called for help and about ten minutes later a pick-up truck came and took us back to the stable.

The husband was there waiting for us and we transported everyone to the hospital in Eagle River. I think that was the most action that emergency room has seen in quite a while. My sister had a cat scan of her head, one niece had an x-ray of her knee and the other of her back and I had one of my pelvis. I was also checked to make sure my kidneys weren't bleeding. My nieces and I were found to be fine, albeit sore and badly bruised, but my sister was diagnosed with a broken nose, broken occipital lobe and the cut required 11 stitches. The doctor also said she needed to see a specialist in Milwaukee the next morning so the rush was on to figure out how to get her back in time.

Needless to say, this is not how I saw our vacation ending.

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