Bad by Myself

I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline yesterday when I came across a BuzzFeed post soliciting stories about how people knew when they were ready to get divorced. My story will never top the scandalous replies they typically receive but I think that’s how it usually works. You will always hear dramatic stories about cheating, etc. but more often, marriages fail one tiny moment at a time.

My ex-husband and I owned a few acres in rural Idaho. We lived close enough to Boise to commute but far enough away to have horses and silence. My three mares were pretty young and two of them were batshit crazy. Miss Olympic Gold was the oldest and we were working on her manners under saddle. It wasn’t going well for anyone other than my chiropractor.

I took Olympic out for a short ride one Saturday afternoon while my ex was in the house with our two Rottweilers playing computer games…as usual. Olympic was being her usual stubborn self and I was working hard at being consistent but not angry. I was attempting to prove to her that my ideas were better than hers. She actually got the message and I was pretty proud of myself so we headed back to the house to end our ride on a positive note.

Our house was set pretty far back from the road, kind of in the middle of the property so the pasture wrapped around three sides of it with a long gravel driveway on the other side that went all the way back to the barn. The gravel had been mostly packed into the dirt so it was hard like concrete. Olympic was trotting up the driveway like a civilized horse until she randomly started bucking like a fucking lunatic.

I was using an Australian stock saddle with a deep seat and a high horn as a precautionary measure. Unfortunately, that just meant the horn slammed into my abdomen over and over while she kept bucking harder and harder. I was finally thrown over her head onto my head. Because I was wearing a helmet, the left side of my head bounced off the hard ground without cracking my skull. My left shoulder was also driven into the ground and I ended up with gravel embedded in the palm of my right hand.

I got up and limped with my horse to the round pen where I was able to remove her bridle and saddle. The thought of taking her to the corral to put her away without letting the other horses out was just too much for me to handle. Instead, I walked to the house to ask my ex to help me. I had apparently locked the door behind me so I knocked for him to let me inside while leaning against the house trying not to fall. He didn’t hear me knocking because he had the surround sound going while playing his computer game. So I made it to the office window and pounded on it until I saw his annoyed face scowling at me. I pointed toward the back door and waited.

When he opened the door, I was again leaning against the house to keep from falling and I told him I needed him to put Olympic away.

His exact words were, “You can’t do it?”


I said, “No. I can’t.”

So he and the dogs went out to deal with Olympic and I went into the master bathroom to wipe the blood off my face and dig gravel out of my hand. I noticed a giant mark on my abdomen in the shape of the saddle horn. When I became too dizzy and nauseated to continue, I took a washcloth soaked in cold water for my face and kicked back in a recliner with my eyes closed. It was not my first concussion by a long shot.

The dogs rushed back inside ahead of him and started whining at me. It was at that point my ex finally realized I had been hurt and wanted to help. I didn’t even open my eyes when I told him not to touch me.

It was at that point I realized I can do bad by my damn self.


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