Monday, November 12, 2012

Vacationing with "The Girls" - Part Three of a Three Part Story

Part Three -- The Detour Home

We had spent a few days at Midwest Trail Ride --it was a great vacation with the horses -- we had a cabin, they had stalls, and there were miles and miles of beautiful trails to ride. I was stung by a bee when were were loading our stuff into the truck. We almost went for a trail ride before we left, but John's horse Zora was uncharacteristically acting up, so we didn't bother. Now we were on I-65 North headed home. (See two previous posts)

That bee sting really hurt -- more than any other I have ever had. I had it wrapped with tobacco, like my mother always told me to do. Now we had been on the road about an hour.

My eyes started to itch real bad. I looked in the mirror and saw they were swollen. I sort of figured it out....

I told John I thought I was having a reaction to the bee sting. He went to a truck stop and got me some Claritin. We kept going.

A little while later, it started getting difficult to swallow. I knew what was coming next. My air was going to get cut off.

We were close to the exit that takes us to John's brother's house. I told John, "We have to go to Alex and Cindy's. I am not going to make it home. I need to get to a hospital."  I was praying they would be home. We do not know our way around Lafayette, and it would have been difficult to find a hospital in an unfamiliar town hauling two horses.

When we arrived at Alex and Cindy's, they were outside doing yard work, and very surprised to see us. John told them what was going on, and Cindy and I got in her car (a beautiful Jaguar). I heard Alex say, "Maybe we should call 911." The thought did cross my mind, but they live sort of out in the country south of Lafayette, and I wasn't sure how much time it would take for them to get there. I was thinking to myself "Whatever is faster!" So away we went.

At this point, it is getting difficult to breathe. Cindy was worried about me, I was half out of was all very stressful. We had to cross a busy state highway -- Cindy didn't see the car coming, but she said I did. Later she told me I said "Cindy, NO!!" -- but it was too late. (I don't remember that part.)

They hit us going somewhere between 50-60 mph. After Alex saw the scene he told us they never had time to apply their brakes -- there were no skid marks.

I remember seeing a police officer's face and a broken windshield behind him. Then I remember someone taping my head to a backboard, and strapping my legs down. I came to in the ambulance and I had an oxygen mask on. I was completely confused.

Thank God no one in the other car was seriously hurt. At first we thought the woman driving had a broken leg, but thankfully it turns out she did not. There was a husband, wife and their 11 year old granddaughter in the car. I cannot express the relief I have that none of them were hurt too badly. Just bruised and banged up like us, but nothing serious.
I am also grateful Cindy never lost consciousness. She told the paramedics I was having a reaction to a bee sting, so they were able to take care of that right away. She was the one who called 911, and she called Alex and John. Alex came to the scene, John stayed with the horses. Alex went back to the house and told John they were loading me into an ambulance on a stretcher. John told Alex the 911 vehicles drove right past the house on the way to the accident!

Once Alex knew what hospital were were going to, he went back and got John. All of us from the accident went to the hospital -- I came to once we were there. It was so fabulous to see John! I had a couple of pretty large lumps on my head, and was really, really hurting on my entire right side. My face was scratched and bruised. They did a CAT scan of my head and found nothing serious. It was a different story for Cindy.

They told her they thought she was the least injured of everyone, but an x-ray revealed bleeding behind her sternum. They did not have a cardiovascular surgeon at that hospital, so they transported her to Indianapolis. Cindy's daughter came to the hospital and took us back to Alex's house, and we had to continue our drive home with the horses -- another 2 hours.

That night Alex called with the good news that Cindy was doing fine.The next morning we found out the bleeding stopped over night and they sent her home the next morning.

Everyone was wearing seat belts, and all the air bags deployed. In fact, the other car was a 2012, and had airbags all the way around the inside of the car. Thank God!!

Cindy's beautiful Jaguar is ruined!!!!

We should have just called 911 -- they are trained for this kind of thing. When you are scared and emotional and in a high-stress situation you should not be driving.
But I do feel it was the hand of God that guided everything that day. This is what I believe:
Zora was acting up so that we would not go riding and be out in the middle of nowhere when my allergic reaction kicked in. Driving to the hospital would have taken too long -- it may have been too late for me. So because we did not have enough sense to dial 911 we had to have the accident. And the accident had to be bad enough to send the ambulance, but not bad enough to cause anyone permanent injury. For some reason, the other car was destined to be in that accident with us -- perhaps there was a more serious accident waiting for them down the road, or something else that they needed to avoid, and this accident stopped them.
It was a powerful experience. I am still recovering -- dealing with bruised ribs now, but otherwise I am fine. Cindy is fine -- other than being bruised and sore. The people in the other car are fine -- other than being bruised and sore. We have much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vacationing with "The Girls" -- Part Two of a Three Part Story

Part Two -- Midwest Trail Ride: The Trails

It was late afternoon when we arrived, so we knew we wouldn't take a long ride that day -- we needed to let The Girls rest up, and we didn't want to use up time putting on their boots. But we couldn't resist getting out to see what the trails were like, so we saddled up. I made a misstep and Divna stepped right on my foot. I ended up with a large bruise as a result.

Midwest Trail Ride has their own park property with trails, and the park is adjacent to the Hoosier National Forest which has almost 100 miles of trails. The park trails lead into the Forest trails, so there is lots of riding to be done. We took the closest trail and rode for about a half hour until it started getting too rocky. But for that half hour we got a good idea of how it would be, and we were not disappointed. We could tell the trails are beautiful and challenging, and couldn't wait to get out the next day.

As I mentioned in Part One, the weather wasn't the best. We had some rain overnight. We chose the trails that lead to a small church, and set off once it stopped drizzling. It was really beautiful out in the Hoosier National Forest. The trails got a bit steep, and they were wet from the rain. We didn't get too far out before Zora slipped on the trail and fell! Fortunately, it was not a real bad fall and neither she or John were hurt, but it did cause us to be more careful.

Unfortunately, the camera battery died, and I have no pictures of the trails. So disappointing!

It rained/drizzled every day were were there, but fortunately we were still able to ride every day. We waited until there were breaks in the weather, but found that the other equestrians there did not mind riding in the rain! They all seemed to have rain gear and took off for the trails no matter how much rain was falling. They are tougher than we are -- we are not rain riders; snow riders, but not rain riders.

The trail to the little church was such a nice ride. The church even had an area designated for riders, complete with hitching posts, a picnic table and a bathroom. We stopped there and had a snack and gave treats to The Girls. I gave some treats to some other horses hitched there, and one of the horses bit my finger -- so I have another bruise, this one under my fingernail.

On one ride, we took a different route back and got to a point where a bridge was washed out. We rode in the creek/small river until we could find a place to get back into the campground. There were rocks, and in places it was pretty deep, but our Girls are fabulous trail horses and handled it like pros. This was my favorite ride. But again, the blasted camera battery was dead so I couldn't get any pictures!!!

On Friday thet place really started to fill up, which brought a problem I  had not anticipated. Our Girls now had neighbors, and Divna is not the most sociable with other horses. She did have a horse next to her from the first day we arrived, and that was no problem -- she got along fine with him. But when another horse was placed in the stall directly behind her, she got very nervous. She started striking out at the gate in front of her, and it looked like she would get her hoof caught. We hung a tarp over the back of Divna's stall and John secured it real tight so it wouldn't blow around in the wind. Fortunately, that solved the problem.

I would like to have a picture of her with the tarp on the stall to post here, but you know, that damn battery.

As you would imagine, the day were were leaving we woke up to a cloudless sky and beautiful sunshine. We thought we would take one last ride. The man who manages the facility told us we could day ride for no charge, which was really nice. So we started packing up. As I was bringing stuff outside, a bee stung me on my hand. It was strange, because it really hurt -- more than other bee stings I have had.

So we get packed up and go to the parking area for day riding. When we got the girls out of the trailer for grooming Zora started acting up big time. This is very unusal behavior for her -- she is generally great on the ground. So we decided to just get on the road for home.

As it turns out, things do happen for a reason. It is a good thing we did not take that ride. On the way home, everything changed.......and the end of this trip took a turn we never could have predicted.

Stahy tuned for Part 3 -- The Detour Home.....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Vacationing with "The Girls" - A Three Part Story

Part One -- Midwest Trail Ride: The Facilities
 This year, with limited resources (code for $$$) and limited time off available, we decided to book five days at Midwest Trail Ride and take a short vacation with our Tennessee Walking Horse mares, Zora and Divna. Midwest came very highly recommended by a neighbor and fellow equestrian whom we see frequently at the trails at the Indiana Dunes. He goes there a couple of times a year, and had nothing but good things to say about it. Cabins for us; stalls for The Girls -- we were sold.
Midwest is located near Bloomington, IN which is the main campus of Indiana University. For those of you who don't know, this area of Indiana is really beautiful -- especially in the fall. Unlike the northern part of our state, which is flat, central and southern Indiana have hills. It is also an area where limestone is mined -- it is very rocky down there, which is why we bought the boots for The Girls (see previous post). With our crazy summer weather, we weren't sure if the fall colors would be peak yet, but fortunately they were ver close. It was a very nice 4+ hour drive down.
As soon as we arrived we knew we were going to love it. Our cabin was geat! Equipped with electric, heater and A/C, and spacious enough for a couple of tables and chairs, it exceeded our expectations.
Plus, there is a neat coverd front porch.
We were able to set up our coffee pot and hot plate so we could make coffee first thing in the morning.

Beats the hell out of being in a tent!


The Girls had it great, too.Spacious, secure much better than keeping them tied to a hitching post or highline. Our Girls always seen to get loose from those when we camp.
They provide wood shavings/sawdust for cleaning the stalls. 


And, as an added perk, every stall building has a port-a-john so you don't have to go all the way to the washhouse. Great for in the middle of the night!

They tbink of everything -- in the mess hall coffee, and hot and iced tea are available 24/7. They cook breakfast on the weekends. The mess hall has a microwave and toaster for the guests to use.
There is a really cool tack and gift shop at the office. We spent a bit of money there ourselves. I got this neat vest -- it was on sale, marked down to $18! Couldn't resist!

And John got a neat hat -- 40% off! The hat came in really handy, as it is waterproof and unfortunately we did not have the best weather.

And after I took the stall pictures, the first (and most minor) bit of bad luck happened. The blasted camera ran out of battery power, which is really annoying since we just bought a new battery for it! I had only taken about a dozen pictures and it was dead already. And because of the new battery, I did not bring the charger. So I did not get any photos of the trails or the tack/gift shop, or of Divna's little adventure.

Stay tuned for Part Two......Part Three will end with a BANG! (literally)