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The Girl Who Lived

“C’mon, Star. You’ve been doing so well. I just want to trot, and we’ll be done,” I told my horse as he began to act up. I wanted him to walk along the fence, and he wasn’t cooperating. I never understood what his problem was with riding along a fence, “riding on the rail” in horse lingo. He was always great at ground work, half the time he did what I wanted him to do before I even told him. I was so proud of him that day. I barely did any ground work, because I wanted to focus on riding. He had done wonderfully, walking over a tarp with me on him, even when it caught his foot. And he was acing great even though we were in the pasture and not the round pen. That was something we hadn’t done in a very long time. And finally my mom trusted me, trusted Star, enough to actually let me ride around the pasture by myself while she shoveled manure and my nephew hung out with her.

His reddish-gold coat shined beautifully in the sunlight, almost like gold. I was riding him down to his run-in, so I could trot up the hill that stretched before it. I had planned this out thoroughly, just in case Star got excited and went a bit faster than a trot. Along the fence-line, I had to repeatedly pull his head from side to side. He was mocking me, trying to turn around when I pulled on one rein, making me have to pull the opposite rein, and this continued all the way down the fence. In the moment before it happened, I had a textbook case of internal conflict. My gut was telling me, Don’t try to trot him while he’s acting up, it’ll just make him act up more. But in my brain, I was going through everything I knew about horses, and the words of my various trainers echoed in my mind. Never let them get their way, make them do what you want, if you don’t show them who’s boss, they won’t respect you. All of this was true, but still….

I shook the thought from my mind. He had to know who’s boss, I thought. Finally, we reached the run-in, and I turned Star around. I took a deep breath of the crisp September air, and asked for a trot. That’s when it went horribly, horribly wrong.

Star took off instantly, and I hung on for dear life. I don’t think I even screamed, it was such a shock. The world whipped by me, I saw shades of green and brown, but had no idea where I was going. I was hopping up and down in the saddle, holding onto the horn with both hands. I didn’t know where the reins were, and I don’t think I would’ve been able to stop Star if I did.

Suddenly, I felt a horrible jerk in my stomach, and the horn was ripped from my hands. I saw whirls of green an brown. Something hit my back like a ton of bricks. My head hit something, and the world went black in an instant. When I woke up, I saw only spots and every sound was muffled. Strange thing is, I don’t remember feeling anything but a dull ache at first. Another weird thing, even though I had a concussion, I could think clearly, like nothing had happened. I heard my mother’s screams, and slowly got to my feet. “I’m fine, I’m fine!” I yelled. Then the world went black again. I did the same thing once more before my mom got to me and forced me to sit down. I keep telling her, ”Really, Mom, I’m fine. It’s ok.” She was sobbing, and I hate to see my mom cry. She made me promise to sit against a tree while she ran to the house to get her phone; the one time in our lives we didn’t bring a phone to the pasture. My nephew, Will, stayed with me and talked to me so I would stay awake.

“It’s gonna be ok Ami,” he said. Then he talked about the most random things until mom got back. I don’t think he was even crying, and he was only five.

My dad got home, and carried me to my mom’s truck, setting me on the tailgate. I don’t remember it, but according to my mom, I passed out again as Dad carried me up the hill. My hearing and sight was only a bit better at this point.

My mom was a total mess, absolutely sobbing. I discovered that I couldn’t keep my left eye open because some dirt was in it. When ever I tried to open it, pain coursed through me. My left leg hurt horribly, too. I remember my dad talking to me the whole time to keep me awake, and I remember an argument I had with him, sitting there.

He said, “When you get home, I’ll get you some more chickens.”

Not only was this hysterically funny, but also inaccurate. I had two roosters, but no chickens. “Dad, I don’t have any chickens. Therefore I can’t have more chickens. It’s not possible,” I said calmly.

Dad just kept repeating that phrase, and I quietly argued with him. Wasn’t I supposed to be the one who was thrown off the horse?

The ambulance came and took me to the MCV Trauma Unit. That only made my mom more hysterical, because that’s where they take really bad off people. It kinda sucked in the ambulance, though, because I couldn’t open my eyes to see anything, and everyone kept asking if I was awake. “YES!!! What part of ‘I can’t open my eyes’ do you people not understand?!?!” I wanted to scream. I joked with the ambulance people, which I purposely did so they would calm the heck down.

At MCV I was examined by like 10 doctors, went through two scans, and had my legs x-rayed, but I couldn’t see anything. I figured at least if I had to be in a hospital, I could look around at all the equipment, but no.

Finally, my eye was cleaned out, and I could see. Apparently, my eye was not only filled with dirt, but also had bits of stick in it. My left leg was not broken, as he doctors thought, but it had an awful bruise that stretched across the whole right side of my calf. The worst parts of the whole thing were 1) The ambulance people cut off my favorite belt. I mean seriously, It Has A Freaking Buckle!!!! And 2) I had to have a neck brace on most of the time I was in the hospital, and it was irritating as crap.

If your wondering what had happened from my mom’s point of view, Star took off for the wooded part of the pasture. (He has always had a thing for trees, brushing me against them when he didn’t want me to ride anymore.) He then stopped dead right in front of a huge tree, and I soared over his head. My back slammed into the tree, and my face hit the ground. The doctors at MCV kept coming in, saying that if I had landed any different, or if I hadn’t been wearing my helmet, I would’ve died. They wanted to see the girl who survived something like that. I morbidly started thinking of myself as “The Girl Who Lived” like a girl Harry Potter.

I only had to stay overnight at the hospital. All of my scratches are healed, and the bruise on my left leg has shrunk. I don’t have any brain problems, if your wondering. As for Star, after months of battling with myself, much like on that fateful day, I have gone with my gut, and am now going o sell Star. Hopefully an experienced rider will train him and give him a nice home. As for me, I still plan on riding as soon as I can. Anything bad that happens to me, a bad grade, a bad day, I will remember that day, and persevere. Because I am the Girl Who Lived.





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