Back in the saddle again

July 31, 2008|By TIM ROWLAND

I'm on painkillers today, so if the column makes more sense than normal, thank the pharmaceutical industry.

The source of this discomfort, and I do not mean to point fingers, is the happy horse Cappuccino, who, in her defense, did not step on me after I hit the ground.

I don't want to say I fell off a horse. That's not heroic enough. Thrown off a horse is better, and bucked off a horse is better still.

Except that Cappy doesn't really buck, at least not in the traditional sense. But her mind does tend to wander at times and she will misstep - which normally is not a problem, except at the time I was practicing riding without stirrups. I don't particularly know why I was practicing riding without stirrups, It's just something that horse riders do.


As a matter of fact, I'm still learning about this whole equine world, which is still rather new to me. For example, when a horse stumbles and the rider goes flying tuchus over teakettle, everyone in the ring goes running over to the horse to make sure it's OK.

Except for Beth, who was more than a little concerned for my well-being.

"Don't try to get up," she said.

No advice was ever less necessary.

After five or 10 minutes I was able to stand again, and I even got back on the animal - which is another horse thing. You have to prove to yourself and others (with emphasis on "others") that a bad fall has not changed your opinion of riding in general. The horse plugged along ably enough, with me kind of lolling along on top, vaguely aware that if I fell again I wanted it to be to the right, so the pain would kind of equal out.

The sore ribs and the pie-pan-sized bruise weren't the worst part. Most of the rather ample swelling occurred right at the waist line, and for a man who is dancing right along the upper edge of his "fat jeans" already, several logistical problems emerged. Most obvious, pants that used to fit no longer did. But worse, the extra arm force required to button them set off waves of fire throughout the bruised rib area.

And women think they have problems.

Beth, ever the animal apologist, was quick to point out that this whole affair "wasn't Cappy's fault." I was more inclined to believe that if Cappy would keep her mind on business and was not always looking around like a Park Avenue tourist, she might have a better handle on her footing.

But Beth won't blame an animal, even when she is the victim. When a flying alpaca bopped her in the eye and sent her to the emergency room recently, she would sit down in front of each new medical-type person and immediately say: "Alpacas are the kindest, gentlest animals on earth and they would never do anything like this intentionally."

To which the medical person would invariably reply: "Uh, OK. Now why don't you tell me what hurts."

In fact, her treatments sort of resemble veterinary science. After my fall, she decided to put me on bute (Advil) and "turned me out" to "self regulate." When this didn't work particularly well, it was determined that I should go on "stall rest."

I don't know what all this did, although by the end of it all, I had the oddest craving for some hay.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on

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