7 September 2012


What stunning weather, just as the children are back at school; typical.  Today I have seen about ten lizards scuttling into the long grass, more butterflies than there have been all year, a profusion of flitting Emperor Dragonflies and, to my utter amazement, a new foal – number 10. He looks about three or four weeks old but I’ve never seen him before and he’s clearly way, way behind all the others. Very sweet. I do hope he’s going to be alright over winter being so small. 

Lots of the others were there, either trying to hide from the sun, or basking in it.

The herd from a distance, at Middle Tor

Hiding in the shade

Lizzy, just woken up

On the 22nd of August last year, I had my accident and I had intended to mark the anniversary on the day by walking to the site with Trigger. However, Origami boy’s social life prevented it so I went there today. Too hot for Trigger and I couldn’t face fighting off the flies, so Snippet and I went on our own. I lay in the grass to take a picture of what I could see that day as I tried not to face the implications of the fact that I could feel nothing from the waist down. To be honest, despite the fractured neck, two spinal fractures and a vertebra which had basically exploded, I was in no pain whatsoever and, had I not been alerted to the seriousness of the injuries by the numbness, I would probably have tried to get up, with disastrous consequences. Every cloud…

The following pictures are a bit boring so I apologise in advance! I’m very, very lucky to be alive, let alone walking, and I do appreciate that every day still. The pain from the surgery is still ongoing, particularly in the evening and I think I’ll be very lucky to ever be pain free, but you never know ; I have to be positive! Brace yourself for some stunning photography.....

This is the path where we started cantering....

Just here, something spooked him and he shot off at a gallop, unbalancing me, and then proceeded to buck for the first time ever. I flew off over his head, landed on mine, resulting in those compression injuries, ending up on my back holding an empty bridle with my right foot in the corresponding armpit....very lucky not to break that leg too!

This is where the Devon Air Ambulance landed, about 50 yards behind me. I never saw it as I was carried in head first in a neck brace.  I owe them my life amongst many other people.

This was my view, lying in the grass. I know I didn't black out as I remember watching Trigger disappearing over the horizon.....very touching! Champion the wonder horse he's not.

More boring than I thought having loaded them…..

Here are a few more interesting pictures from the last few days:

Small Tortoiseshell on our pot of Marjoram

One of our neighbour's honey bees on the same

My favourite spot at the river where you can lie on a rock in the middle and listen to the water raging past

Dying grass in the morning sun

The moor is going brown

Kestor in the sun today

A particularly attractive cow

That raging water

Until next time, have a lovely weekend wherever you are. I think it’s looking good for the UK and we're building a shed for Trigger's 'stuff'.


  1. How frightening that must have been. Were you alone, did you have a phone? I haven't ridden for a couple of years but hope to again one day, before I'm too old!
    Lovely sweet foal!

    1. I was all alone and miraculously had a phone signal. I managed to get it out of my pocket and called my partner who ran out of work leaving his boss to call the air ambulance. Both arrived within 20 minutes which was amazing. Much as I'd love to ride, it's just too risky. I have to close my eyes and re-live that day and all those that followed and it quashes the desire!

  2. Love ALL your photos as usual, Em. Yes "lucky to be alive" is a feeling I know so well. I feel for your pain as I am certain it is surmountable at times with pain meds not even being able to touch it. I am happy you are alive and I have met you through our blogs. Good weekend to you as well. I do miss our horses, however they are retired to a life long acquaintance never to be sold. After many years it was difficult to part with them, but was all for the best.

    1. Writing this has made me realise how many people out there are in pain. I'm so sorry you are too. I try not to take the meds now as I was just becoming immune to them. I treat myself now and then to a nice ibruprofen to ease the day!

      I do wonder about Trigger and his VERY early retirement. Haven't had the time to get going with the gorse collection and panniers. If I haven't done it by the new year, it will have to be my resolution. Gl;ad you like the photos....nice one of my feet!

  3. What a beautiful foal, and very late too. I hope mum doesn't end up with an even later foal next year . . .

    One year on from your terrifying accident and you are doing well to be walking at all, I'd say. The Air Ambulance folk are brilliant. Next Door farmer had one of those big bales fall on him and apparently his right foot was below his ear . . . The Air Ambulance put down in the tightest spot. Amazing. And for you too - thank heavens you didn't try and move.

    Lovely, LOVELY photos . . .

    1. The body is an amazing thing. It was definitely a warning because I've always leapt up after a horsey fall before. How is the next door farmer? Okay I hope. Those bales are ridiculously big!

  4. Em, I remember the day only too vividly-Thankfully you are built of tough stuff! Interestingly I only got to know you better after your fall; but I'm glad I can now count you as one of my dear friends! Much Love, Me x

    1. Silver linings you see. I'm very glad you're my friend too. xxx

  5. Gosh, what an anniversary. As someone who was reading your blog off and on, then really just started to follow... I didn't know about your accident. Yes your are so lucky.

    I like that you can walk back and own the spot. We can never be ruled by our adversities. We must own them. I am very happy to know you can walk and even lay down at the area. Good for you.

    I live with pain everyday. To be pain free is not an option for me and I don't tolerate pain meds. Some days I am more cranky than others but I live with it.
    Like you I so love everyday I live.

    I am concerned about the foal it does seem to be too late I do hope he survives the winter.
    Lovely photos ! Snippet looks cute as ever.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. I did have a little cry, I have to admit, but I was determined, from the moment the feeling started to come back in my legs, that I wasn't going to let it beat me, whatever it was - and I really didn't know at that stage. When my partner saw the x-rays he was nearly sick.....bits of vertebrae scattered around and the spine either side offset at least an inch....yuck!

      I'm with you on the meds. They stop working pretty quickly too. So sorry you're in such pain - a lot of bloggers seem to be interestingly. Know that cranky feeling!

      I;'ll be keeping a close eye on that little foal........

  6. What a darling foal! Hope it will be alright for the winter.

    Amazing photos of the moor!

    You are so very lucky not to have tried to move. We have much in common although my back injuries are lower. Chronic pain and not able to walk well. Don't think there is much left to do for it short of a miracle. I try to focus on what I can do although sometimes the pain and depression can be overwhelming.

    glad you are doing well, I love your blog!

    1. Hi Gail, just wondering what happened to your back? I was just saying to Parsnip how many bloggers seem to be in excruciating pain....what's going on? It can be so depressing but I count myself very lucky that the chronic pain isn't constant. It builds through the day and, had they not had to operate, I would probably have no pain at all. I often wonder if all that titanium in there is poking and rubbing but I'm probably just imagining it. Just off to catch up on other blogs and I see something Fresian fro you....excellent.

  7. Em, I was a horse trainer for 35 years and had many accidents. I've been kicked, thrown, fallen on. The whole kit and caboodle. Both knees have been replaced and they are the best part of me.

    I was doing well until 7 years ago when my back started being a problem. Most horse trainers have bad backs, it's just something you try to ignore. I was walking 2-3 miles 5 days a week after work at our local park when I slipped in the mud at the creek and landed on my butt. Seriously you'd think as well padded as it was it would not do any harm but I must have jammed the vertebrae at the base. Got up and finished my walk (was with a friend) and thought nothing about it. Two days later in our yard I slipped and fell again on the sloped side. This time hard and I knew I had done some harm. MRI showed 3 fractured vertebrae and 2 huge herniated discs that looked to be old. I didn't want surgery, but 2 months later got to having shooting pains in my right leg and spasms that would cause me to fall. So surgery became a necessity.

    Actually had 2 great years after the surgery. Was back walking 2-3 miles, very little pain. They had fused 5 lower vertebrae with a cage on the top one. Then I lost my balance and fell again. Loss of balance is common with joint replacements. Worse than I ever was. I have a fracture in the fusion, fracture of the SI joint. Vertebrae above the fusion are herniated. Constant pain with electric shocks in lower back, right hip and leg. Nerve damage.

    The doctor who did my original surgery has moved to Alaska to open a spine clinic. The doctor who took his place at the Orthopedic Group I detest. I need to look for another doctor, but I'm just dreading it. It's hard to explain to someone how constant pain is so debilitating.

  8. Wow - you poor thing. I feel I have got away VERY lightly. It's so difficult to find a doctor you like, particularly if you've lost one you really trust. These days I find myself looking at doctors and assessing whether they'll be retiring before I get to a certain age. I have type 1 diabetes so I have to have a GP that I trust, which I do. However, she's a couple of years older than me so I'm dreading losing her.

    I'm so sorry you have to cope with so much pain and, until this happened, I didn't understand what it's like to have it constantly. I don't think mine is anything like yours but I do know what you mean about the electric shocks....upper back rather than lower for me!

    I hope you're perhaps having a good pain today and I'll be thinking of you.

    Em x

  9. Gosh you are brave Em facing that moment in time, it is not an anniversary to celebrate as such but to ponder upon. At least you have have a beautiful landscape to live in, family and a gorgeous dog to go walking with. My son is type 1 diabetic, so have lived through the ups and downs of this worrying condition for the last 15 years - one day stem cell research should have the answer X

    1. I think you have to live with someone to understand. It's a condition we spend so much time trying to hide and not be a nuisance. I often think how amazing it was to have been born when I was; fifty years earlier and we would probably all be dead....type 1 diabetics I mean! Aren't the testers fantastic now. I was lucky and was diagnosed at 31 rather than in childhood, so I had a while without it. My half brother was diagnosed at exactly the same age eight years later which rather proves a genetic link through our mutual father. You're right....stem cells will certainly be the answer one day. Off to get Trigger's hooves trimmed now in the pouring rain. x

  10. You must have had the most difficult year and I too think you are very brave to have gone back to the spot where you fell. Thank goodness you are so much better now.

    Neck problems ( prolapsed discs caused by lifting/wear and tear and by falling off horses) have put a stop to all but the quietest potter around a field for me, but I still get so much pleasure from being with the ponies. They don`t seem to mind being pasture pets instead of riding ponies. I`m sure Trigger feels the same way.

    Beautiful photos as ever. Maybe the commoner who owns the mare and late foal will bring them in for the winter? Let`s hope we have a mild one.

    1. I'm absolutely sure Trigger is happier not being ridden. Whatever he went through in a previous life made him very, very nervous and needy so he really wants his human companion to be on the ground reassuring him, which is all I'm good for now! It is a real pleasure to just spend time with him and not always rushing to get out and ride, without paying enough attention to his psychological needs.

      Thanks for reminding me that I need to check that foal's mother to see if she has a mark that I recognise and can get in touch with the owners. They don't do a lot of going out and checking on them so I very much doubt they know he's out there. He wasn't looking at all happy in the cold drizzle yesterday.

      Hope you're not in too much pain today from your back!

  11. Thank you so much, Em, for your comments ... I have been in the Inner Hebrides for two weeks. Just back ... so will attend to caterpillar once unpacking is done! Meanwhile, will add you to my bloglist.

    1. Thank you - I've certainly added you to mine and will be doing a special mention next time! I nearly fell in the marsh today trying to photograph dragonflies and I don't suppose they'll be half as good as yours.


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