When I told my husband why I had to buy a new helmet yesterday, he expressed sympathy for my bumps and bruises. Then I shrugged and said, “It happens. If you ride, you’re going to fall off.” That made him irritated, because he thought I was too blase and accepting of it. Later on that day, after he left to visit his family, I was talking to him on the phone. “Did you tell your sister about my fall?” I asked. His sister is a life-long rider. “Yes, I told her.” he said. “What did she say?” I asked, knowing the answer already. He replied, grudgingly, “She said ‘It happens. If you ride, you’re going to fall off.'” Yup. It’s all part of the life.
On the day of the fall, my friend and I tacked up for a nice ride. Here we are in the stabling area with chickens on fly patrol:It was a quiet day at the barn–everyone was gone to the county fair and lessons were cancelled. We did some great ring work, and then headed to cool out in the sugar bush. Here’s a picture of the sugar bush from another day:But my friend’s horse, Champ, decided we should go for a walk in the hay field across the street instead. So, we went over, at a relaxed walk. I dropped the reins and held onto some mane so that if he did spook at something I would be less likely to hurt my back, since I had a sore back from gardening. My friend and I were chatting and enjoying the summery day. Most of the way through the ride, Champ stepped in a loose loop of nylon fence line that a deer must have run through and left on the ground hidden in the grass (the fence is not electric). I saw the whole thing but it happened so fast I couldn’t do more than start to say “His feet are stuck…” but my then Champ had felt his hind feet caught in the loop of fencing and he decided to take off. He powered off at a good clip and Tundra decided to not wait around to find out what was wrong. My friend fell off right in Tundra’s path, and to avoid her he dodged hard right, missing her, then swerved back toward the barn after Champ. But I kept going right, with predictable results. Other than hitting my head hard on the ground, the only real damage I did to myself, ironically, is spraining my finger because it was caught in Tundra’s mane!
Both horses cantered back across the road and to the yard where they like to graze after rides. We knew exactly where they would be–I only wondered whether we’d have any broken reins to replace. Sure enough, after dusting ourselves off, locating my crop in the grass, and putting the fence line back out of the way, we walked back to find our two ponies grazing peacefully away. Tundra looked up as soon as we came into sight and stared at me with a question in his eye. I don’t know what the question was–was it “are you alright?” or “are you going to be mad at me?” or “why the heck did you jump off me when I was taking us out of danger?” He spent quite a while sniffing my head and neck, and I just stood there answering all the possible questions: telling him I was OK, he was a good boy for not running over my friend! and that everything was fine. The reins were still safely around his neck, and he was not injured at all. Champ was also just fine, and my friend got back on. Since I had whacked my head pretty hard on the ground, I didn’t get back on. Instead I threw out my helmet and planned to get another one. It just goes to show–well, it goes to show that if you ride, you’re going to fall sometimes! It also shows that anyone who rides should WEAR A HELMET!