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First Impression

continued by Brenda Zeigenbein
continuation of previous story entitled, I Told You So

When Clarence and I first got together, he lived north of Lebanon. For a whole year, I drove nearly an hour one way to get to and from work. This became a real drag and was severely cutting into my riding time so it became obvious I either needed to find another job or we needed to move closer to my work. I had more than 20 years service with the University of Missouri – Rolla, so we decided to move. Clarence had been born and raised around Crocker, Missouri, and since that would cut my drive in half, we moved there.

Almost immediately, we were invited to trailride with a group from the Crocker Saddle Club. They met every Wednesday night and rode from the saddle club arena. At our earliest opportunity, we loaded up a couple horses and drove to the arena. We had a two horse trailer with a partition separating the horses from the front of the trailer. That enabled us to enter from a side door and untie the horses. I went in through the side door, untied my mare, dropped the lead rope, and reached across to untie Clarence’s horse. As I reached to untie his horse, Clarence dropped the butt bar behind my mare and she quickly backed out. The momentum from her quick departure somehow caused the rope to lap around my arm and as the mare backed out, I was pulled up against the partition with no escape. The mare stopped when she felt the lead rope tighten but by this time the rope had bit through the muscle of my arm making a groove to the bone. I called out in pain and Clarence came to my rescue. Until then, he had not realized I was trapped inside the trailer with a lead rope wrapped around my arm and an eleven hundred pound mare on the other end of it. Clarence loaded the mare back on the trailer, drove us home, put the horses away, and then we headed for the Emergency Room in Rolla.

Being the big baby that I am, I called my parents in Rolla and they met us at the hospital – as if this were a life threatening injury. As a matter of fact, it felt like it was. My folks had never met Clarence and as you might guess, meeting at the Emergency Room made for a great first impression. The doctor on call treated my arm, prescribed Tylenol with Codeine for pain, Silvadene for the rope burn, told me to keep my arm in a sling with ice on it for 24 hours, and sent me home with instructions to see my family doctor the next day. The next day (Thursday), I went to work but didn’t go to the doctor. On Friday my arm was worse and I stayed home from work; however, it just happened there was a horse show at Lebanon that night and I begged Clarence to help me get my horse ready so we could go. Finally, he relented and we went to the horse show. I was riding Lad (a three year old stallion) that year. When we arrived at the showgrounds, some friends from Crocker groomed, saddled, and bridled Lad for me. The next problem was how to get me up on him. Lad is tall, I am short, and with an injured arm, I couldn’t grab hold of the saddle horn and pull myself up. Clarence offered to boost me into the saddle. Sure enough, he did and he very nearly threw me completely over the horse. Had I not grabbed hold of the saddle horn, I surely would have fallen off the other side and broke my good arm. This was a few years ago and I was a lot smaller and Clarence was a lot stronger (funny what a few years does to a person). Anyway, I showed Lad that night and got a third in my class. I was pleased because the class was very competitive. Our friends met me at the gate to take my horse, unsaddle, and put him away for me. I am so fortunate to have good friends. The next day there was a horse show at Dixon and even though my arm was no better, we had to go. Lad put on a show and we did well there, too.

On Monday I went back to work but my arm still wasn’t healing so I made an appointment to see my family doctor. The doctor treated the arm, chewed me out, wrote out an excuse, and sent me home to rest and take care of myself for a whole week. Soon I was better and up and going again but to this day, I carry the scar from that freak accident. Even though the accident happened several years ago, the arm sometimes still bothers me because there is ligament and nerve damage. I know that I am really fortunate it is not worse, though, that big stout mare could have tore my arm off had she not stopped when she felt the rope tighten.

A few weeks after that, we loaded horses and again headed for the saddle club arena to trail ride with our new acquaintances. Clarence parked the truck and I immediately jumped out to start unloading horses. Clarence came around the truck and trailer, took me by the arm, walked me over to a picnic table, sat me down, and instructed me not to move until the horses were unloaded and saddled. I protested loudly but he wouldn’t hear of me helping unload and saddle the horses. He said he wanted to go on this trail ride and he didn’t want me ruining it for him again. The nerve of this man!

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