December 22, 2021

All I Want for Christmas is a New ACL

Sometimes it's good for me to do a little life-dump blogpost, just for me. It is a reminder of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, or perhaps themes of each year. For example, 2021- the year I got a new pony, tore my ACL, and got Covid…all within a few weeks of each other. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself…let's back up.

I began looking for a new pony-pal for Tristan in the summer. I use the term pony as an endearing term for a horse, as actual ponies are little demonic creatures that spend their lives trying to burden others. (But they do build character in children. Seriously, part of why I am funny is from the many satanic ponies I loved during my childhood.) 

In my search, I found the horse market was much like the housing market and horse prices were stupid high. 

  • 2 year old, green-broke gelding - $10,000 

  • 10 year old, one eyed, lame, appaloosa - $15,000

Not only was the price making me feel like Fred Sanford calling for Elizabeth, but none of the available horses were what I was looking for.

I exhausted all my resources looking for parameters I wasn’t even sure of myself. Then after a good night of chatting with God and Daddy, the ad for Roscoe popped up. A unicorn of sorts- a 10 year old buckskin gelding with a price that didn’t send me into cardiac arrest and a name already suited for Wanchese living. 

“Memphis, TN…hmm that’s a 14 hour drive. Not far at all!” I whispered to myself as I facetimed the owner, who in short, must be a long-lost relative because we hit it off immediately.

A facetime-ride and a hundred panicked facebook messages later, Roscoe was on his way to his island home. A shipper pal offered to deliver him at a discounted price so her kiddos could see the ocean for the first time, which saved me from that 2 day road trip I was planning. A trainer pal offered to host him for a crash course in collecting and de-boogering. (One of the things that ironically sold me on Roscoe was the fact that his owner said he ‘sometimes boogers at his own shadow’ too, pal, me too.) All the stars aligned for this stunning buckskin to join our family. 

“You know your daddy loved a buckskin,” Mama said, as Roscoe breathed in his first few breaths of salty air.

“I do. He had his hands in this,” I replied, as we both smiled.

Days passed quickly as Roscoe learned about treats and snuggles. (‘New ma likes to put her face in mine…kinda weird.’) His trust grew and the first time I climbed on his back in real life, not via facetime, he was wonderful. I questioned even sending him to my trainer-pal…right up until I asked him to trot and he turned into a snorkeling seahorse, with his nose up to the sky as I giggled. Fixable issue, no worries.

After a few weeks at the trainer’s and glowing reviews of his progress, Little Miss and I made the two hour drive to visit and go for a little trail ride. I had ridden him a few times during his schooling and he was always a perfect gentleman. I brought Little Miss’s saddle since on this particular day, she was going to ride him for the first time. Before she climbed on, I decided I would take him for a quick spin first…

As I put my foot in the stirrup and began to pull myself on, something in the distance, maybe states away, spooked the bejesus out of Roscoe. As he leapt to the side, out from under my body, my knee twisted as I attempted to stick the ride. (Because instinctually, that is what cowgirls do…we turn into spider monkeys with thigh death grips.) At some point, my foot slid out of the stirrup and my leg, together with the rest of my body, ended up face down in the arena.

I heard whispers of oh my God, are you okay, as I made damn sure I could move my toes. (Bionic back, PTSD.) Once my toes moved, I knew I was fine…until I tried to stand up and returned quickly to the dirt. (Pain notwithstanding, badumchi!) My trainer pal and Little Miss carried on with Roscoe, who at this point was back to his normal, gentlemanly self, as I dragged myself over to a mounting block to get my wits together. (Really, I was just trying to figure out how I was going to mount from the right, since my left leg was useless. Logical thinking, you know.)

“I think I can ride. I can get on Bandit (one eyed horse, appropriately named) from the right side and be fine for a short ride. I’ll probably be grounded for riding after I go to a doctor so we better get a good one in,” I said.

No one argued. We had a great ride. (In my defense, what were the odds that something else could injury me on the same day? Plus, it wasn’t Roscoe’s fault. It’s never the horse’s fault. Also in my defense, cowgirls are admittedly insane people. Tested, proven, and proud of it.) 

Days or weeks, it honestly all runs together, went by with X-Rays, a knee brace, crutches, an MRI and multiple doctors visits…until it was reported that I had completely torn my ACL, sprained my MCL, and bruised damn near everything in their path. The most athletic thing I’ve done in my entire life and it is an injury of NFL proportions. I hope I get a phenomenal halftime show out of this.

Surgery scheduled? Check. Anxiety skyrocketing? Check, check. (Remember when I had the endoscopy & was sure I wouldn’t wake up? We are back there.) I had all the things planned that I could possibly need to get done before surgery, including a good barn clean out so I could watch the horses from our barn cams post-surgery without worrying about Charlotte with all her friends hanging around. 

Post-barn cleanout, I thought I had a sinus infection after inhaling dust and spider corpses but carried on about daily life since I had no fever or other Rona-like symptoms. Then it occurred to me that my head was hurting a little worse than normal…shit.

“Maybe I’ll take one of those home tests…just to see,” I mentioned.

And I’ll be flipping darned if it didn’t immediately pop up positive. No fever. No chills. No nothing out of a normal sinus infection type of pains…posi-freaking-tive for covid.

“Oh no…we will have to postpone your surgery for at least six weeks,” the nurse told me over the phone.

Now, in the grand scheme of things I completely understand that this is a first-world, cowgirl problem. But I felt like I’d been tossed off Roscoe all over again. An extra six weeks of not riding? What kind of groundhog blasphemy is this?

“Forget it. I’m just not having the surgery. I can walk decently enough and it doesn’t hurt all the time now. I’ll just f*#%&%* cancel the whole thing,” I said to my husband.

I was overruled. *eyeroll* 

So here we are…winding down 2021 and a week away from surgery, finally. (Lord willing.) Roscoe has settled in nicely and Tristan is still wondering when the new guy is getting sent back for breaking his mom. Both horses are enjoying what they think is retirement, loads of extra snacks, and a few ground-activated tricks. My saddles are collecting dust, thanks to the observant nature of my friends and family- which to be honest, I wish you guys loved me a little less so I could have ridden for the last several months with my leg brace like I wanted to. Only kidding! 

Other things happened throughout 2021, but the last several months of this year have been truly humbling. We have been so fortunate to have some of the best people in our life to be there for us, visit us, drop off food, offer to feed kids and pets…and mostly, pray for us. Hold onto the friends who pray for you, they’re pure gold and I thank God for mine every day.

Thanks for the thoughts & prayers, friends. Merry Christmas!

#alliwantforchristmasisanewACL #97daysuntilicanride 

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