I am very happy to report some excellent news! Mom is back in the saddle after a 5 month hiatus. Poor thing has been laid up with a compound fracture due to - surprise - being kicked by a horse! Not hers; she was riding at the time with some friends and just came between a hoof and it's intended target.
After initially refusing surgery (Quote: "I'm tough and I heal quickly")she finally relented and had a rod put in on December 4. She had her final appointment with her orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday, whose exact words were, "Take your drugs and use the leg. Get back to normal". Normal for her, of course, includes riding, so that is exactly what she did.
Now in her 60s, Mom is technically retired from the horse biz. But when a friend of hers who breeds Morgans asked for some help breaking a young filly, Mom was all too happy to help out. Her Thoroughbred T-Bird was getting up there in years and she welcomed a new challenge.
Weird side note: here is Mom, T-Bird and I having a bit of fun. He was a great soul who passed peacefully just this past year, and we miss him terribly.
But I digress. Mom and her friend took Mary through the ropes: round pen, ground driving, bomb proofing, and eventually got on her and began ring work before ultimately introducing her to Mom's discipline of choice: trail riding. Though she was raised on Saddlebreds and Hackneys, and came into Hunters when I took an interest in jumping, Mom liked the spunk and intelligence of this young Morgan mare. And, at 15.1 hands, she was a better "fit" for an "old lady" (Mom's words, not mine. Truthfully, if you knew Miss Mary you would agree with me that she is more of a mid-life crisis sports car than an old lady mount!).
Time passed. With T-Bird ready to retire, it only stood to reason that Mom spent more and more time on Mary and less and less on T-Bird. Though she still took him out for short hacks a few times a week, Mary was her mount of choice for longer rides. And Mary's owner was only too happy to oblige as it gave her someone else to ride with. A win-win situation all around.
An hour or so down the trail they came upon a large tree across the path, obviously a victim of the recent storm. It was too high to jump, and too low to go under, but upon investigation there appeared to be a path about 4' wide between the upturned roots of the tree and a drainage ditch. Hooray! A way around. The first few riders passed through single file with no problem.
Two of Mom's buddies rode off looking for help, which they found in - ironically - an off duty mounted patrol unit running drills in the forest. One of the ladies who stayed was a yoga instructor, who took Mom through some breathing and calming exercises. When the mounted patrol unit finally got to her, they were baffled as well. But persistence pays off, and they were able to - finally, using just brute strength - pull Mary over and free Mom.
The non-horsey set in Mom's life - including my Dad - were surprised at her decision. Those of us who know horses understand better.
Throughout their ordeal, Mary - despite being young and green - never panicked. Had she freaked out and struggled, as horses usually do in situations where escape is impossible, Mom surely would have been crushed. There was just something about this little, spunky, level-headed mare that you don't find in every horse.
Us weirdos get that.