Saturday, May 20, 2017

Emergency Landing

I'm not sure if it's luck, if it's what horses I'm willing to ride, or if it was my early life dressage queen lifestyle, but I can count on one hand how many times I've fallen off in my 25 year journey of horseback riding.  It's not something I'm proud of, but at this point, I do find it a bit odd.  I've always been amazed by the stories people tell of falling and falling and falling, and never getting nervous, never getting seriously hurt, never giving up.

DreamBoat McCobFace
Here are my falls, listed in chronological order:

1st fall - I was 14.  Fell off a rank lesson horse who at the canter zigged and I zagged.  Rolled off.  I was totally A-Okay.  My mom's nerves were a little less A-Okay.  ;)

2nd fall - I was 19.  My sweet, but green TB, Clifford, bucked me right over his head.  I landed on my ass still holding the reins, which promptly snapped.

3rd fall - I was 19.  Clifford, you glorious asshole you.  He bolted and bucked as I was mounting.  I had no chance.  I was coming off.  After this, I spent a solid 3 months totally cowed by him.

4th fall - I was about 27.  Gavin bucked me off from a literal standstill.  One minute we were at ease, the next minute he was broncing and I was being ejected into gravel.  My hands and my pride hurt, but I was okay.

5th fall - was TODAY.  And it huuuuuurt.  We were jumping two crossrails in a little pattern and decided to start coming in at an angle to one of them that was riding easy.  The first time I went over it, Gavin jumped big (his tendency when he's unsure of a jump).  I decided I'd bring him around and ride it again, you know, just to show him no big deal.  Went into it, and I could feel when he was going to take off.  Well, he didn't take off, he added in this weird little half step before he launched, but I had already launched about 3 seconds earlier.  There was no hope.  I jumped Gavin, while he was jumping the jump.  I landed hard on my side and cracked the side of my (helmeted) head on the ground.  I just lay there groaning, feeling sorry for myself.  My friend came over (an old pro at falling off and immediately jumping up and getting back to business).  She made sure nothing was broken and then patiently waited as I got up at the pace of an elderly turtle.  I wasn't scared or mad.  Gavin hadn't been naughty.  I just read the jump wrong.
Lady?.... You alright?

I got back on and we jumped it once from the trot and once from the canter.  Both times he launched over it.  I'm pretty sure he thought some evil, invisible force pulled his rider off.  Ahahaha.  That's right, an invisible force did pull me off - it's called momentum.  My friend raised the crossrails up to small verticals and jumped them every which way, and I decided I needed to jump them straight-on (no more of this angle shit).  He was a good boy.  No hesitation, no trying to duck out.  I'm really happy with how the ride went and how it ended.  I'm just not happy that my entire right side hurts, and for some weird reason my neck hurts, like... my windpipe hurts.  I went home and had the most uneasy nap ever.

I can't say that I'm happy that I fell, but I think it was probably long overdue.  I also think there is something empowering about falling off and saying "yeh, that fucking hurt, but I'm gonna get back on and do the damn thing".  That last part might be the concussion talking.  ;)



  1. I am amazed you can remember all the times you fell off. Mom threatened to make a crash dummy helmet cover since I came off so many times compliments of rotten ponies.

  2. Oh man, I am definitely one of those people who falls and falls and falls and keeps on falling (3x this year already)

  3. aw i'm sorry :( no matter how many or how few, falls are never fun. last year was definitely in the 'heavy' category for me and ... just bleh.

    at the same time tho - i both agree with and totally love your attitude about how, yea they happen and sometimes it's useful to remember that we can just move on like nbd after a tumble. glad it wasn't worse and hope your head feels better soon!