Four months ago I was planning my next blog post – with Teddy’s impending adoption, it was going to include pictures with his new owner and talk about his future. I was writing it in my head with tears streaming down my face, spending every waking minute I could with Teddy. Nalani was planning for our next rescue, and I had come to terms with letting Teddy go, so we could move on and help another horse. But, then, one windy Friday afternoon, a whole lot of life happened.
While riding with my trainer, a large black trash bag flew into the air, spooking both of our horses. I was thrown to the ground. My trainer’s horse dumped her and spun around to flee, running across my body as I lay on the ground. He ran over my chest, stepping directly on my sternum. I was airlifted out of Ohana and spent a week in the trauma unit with a collapsed lung, 5 displaced ribs, 1 shattered rib, a concussion, and more. Needless to say, my body and my mind had a long way to go to recover from the trauma. I managed to remain conscious through the entire ordeal, and the one thing at the forefront of my mind was that I HAD to get back to the barn to see Teddy before he left the following week. When the following week rolled around, I was living hour to hour, just trying to manage the pain and recover enough to be released from the trauma unit.
When I got the news that Teddy’s adoption had fallen through, I couldn’t even process it. Mixed emotions. Our success story was gone, but Teddy would be there for me when I returned. 48 hours out of the trauma unit I was walking Teddy out to his paddock for turnout. My recovery was rough. When I wasn’t sleeping I was in pain. My short visits with Teddy were incredible therapy for my mind and my heart. I was afraid to be close to any other horse and unsure if I would ever ride or care for horses again. We decided to hold off on making any decisions for Teddy or bringing in another horse until the Spring when I would be healed enough to move forward. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I thought and prayed about what we were supposed to learn from this. One night I was thinking about the therapy that horses provide and how it would be amazing to use rescue horses for ptsd or some sort of therapy for people. At that moment, Melissa, my Nalani co-founder, sent me a message saying that she would love to see Nalani add a human element. We are now actively looking into possibilities.
As for Teddy, he has gained three additional months of training, and what an investment! This horse, who could really only be ridden by advanced riders (his potential adopter was a trainer herself), has become relaxed and soft and is being ridden by multiple riders who all LOVE him. I would never have dreamed that Teddy would be the first horse that I would sit on after my accident, but I didn’t want it to be any other horse. So, way ahead of schedule on a rainy, windy day, with a few good friends around me, I put on an inflatable safety vest and climbed on. I only walked for a few minutes by myself, but it was enough to see how incredibly far this horse has come because of the patience and training he has received. Teddy is a horse who would have absolutely fallen through the cracks. Very few people could ride him, making it difficult to find a home for him. Watching his progress even in the last few months just confirms that what we are doing WORKS!! We are now starting to look for our next rescue, but Teddy isn’t going anywhere. He was the therapy I so desperately needed, and he may just end up being the therapy others need.
Yes, we took a couple steps back on that windy day. But, I believe we have taken more steps forward. For Teddy, and for all future horses AND humans impacted by Nalani.