At the time of the accident, I wasn't happy about not being able to ride for three months (it ended up being six months before I rode again) and I was really disappointed I wouldn't be able to take care of my horses over the winter.
During the summer months, the horses live off the pasture which has a creek so there really isn't a need for me to check on them twice a day.
But in the winter, we feed them square bales, their water needs checked so it doesn't freeze and the horses need monitored in case they need a blanket. The cold weather forces me to visit them twice a day and I love it!
The horses and I get into a routine. They know the drill. Each horse has their own feeder and they are expected to stay at that feeder no matter how good their buddy's pile looks. The routine gives the horses security and I love seeing my barnyard working like clockwork.
But just as we started gearing up for winter last year, I found myself stuck in the house, not even able to really visit the horses because I couldn't risk slipping on the ice and falling. I ventured out a few times, but I couldn't cuddle with them because of the brace.
That was really hard.
Winter is my second favorite season(fall is first) because I love the cold and I love going out twice a day to do chores(even though I don't always feel like it, I'm always rewarded when I do it anyway)
Then, by the time I was back in the saddle and able to do chores again, it was spring and the horses were back on pasture.
We have great times in the summer too, but it's just not the same as the winter routine.
Smoke and I grew even closer over the summer(if that's even possible) and we're a great team. She understands me so well, its scary.
I was afraid our relationship would be damaged because of how badly our confidence had been shaken, in ourselves and in each other, but Smoke helped me take it one step at a time and we have done more riding and tried more new things than we did the year before.
I don't ride her quite as fast anymore and that does frustrate her, but we've been doing other things to keep our rides interesting for both of us.
One of the things I really enjoyed learning with her this summer was bareback riding. As I moved up to bigger, faster horses, I had kind of given up bareback riding, but Smoke is such a good girl, although she is the fastest horse I've ever ridden, that I felt comfortable trying it with her.
We practiced a lot....circles, figure eights, other weird patterns :) and it was great to ride her without the added burden of a saddle. She loved it, I loved it.
My back doesn't really bother me that much. Occasionally, if I've been over doing it, it'll remind me to slow down :) but over all, I usually forget that it really hasn't been that long since I broke it. I don't have to wear my brace anymore and unless I decide to take a spill off a galloping horse again, I don't think I'll have anymore issues with it :)