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The wind was blowing hard as we took off through the woods. Trees bent and snapped, saplings littered the trail. The horses were spooky and on high alert. On an open stretch I let Night go, she scrambled, sure-footed over the roots and rocks, gaining speed and covering the ground between Lauren and Blessing ahead of us. A small tree had come down across the trail. Night gauged her distance then darted left to take the higher point of the jump. In that split second, I was dislodged and lost my balance.

In slow motion, I struggled to stay upright, then gave in to gravity, thinking clearly the whole time about how to take this fall with the least amount of damage. As she landed, and relaunched into her stride, I slipped below, curling my limbs around my torso into a tight ball. The small of my back took the impact of the ground. A hind hoof grazed my head and I looked up to see her scrambling to avoid me, muddy feet raised. The second hoof sounded like a shot-gun blast on my helmet, spinning my face toward the dirt. Then it was quiet. I heard Lauren calling, hoof beats retreating down the path.

“Stay very still. Count to ten. Wiggle fingers. Unfold legs, Lie prone for one minute more.” Slowly I rolled  onto my knees, there were aftershocks as my back spasmed, but I was not broken. My right ear rang from the blow to my head. Night galloped back down the trail and stood looking at me. When I approached, she snorted and bolted out of sight. Moments later she was back, shaken but docile enough for me to stroke her neck and take hold of her bridle.

Falling is always a risk. Back at the barn, I removed my helmet and looked at the muddy hoof print. Without it, I fear I would not be writing this now. Life is about taking risks after all, but the stark reality of who would have the thankless task of caring for a drooling, shadow of who I am, causes me to think twice about putting myself in harms’ way…

A good, stout Charles Owen Helmet is worth every penny….

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16 comments on “Falling, Back into the saddle…

  1. Touring NH says:

    Oh my!!! I’m so very glad you weren’t hurt worse. What a scary incident. Thank goodness you always wear the appropriate gear!

    1. Never understood people who rode horses or motorcycles without a helmet, just doesn’t make sense!

  2. Beth says:

    Glad you’re OK!

  3. julieallyn says:

    Actually gasped when I realized you were writing about more than just a lovely romp in the woods. Are you okay?!?!

    I took riding lessons for a year and a half a few years ago and while, thankfully, I never fell it was my greatest fear.

    SO hoping you are nothing more than just shaken as a result of your fall!

    1. Thanks Julie, just a few bruises that will heal with time. I don’t bounce like I used to!

  4. Horses and crackling fall leaves – starts out well enough. Thank goodness you had on a helmet. Hope you’re all sorted out and feeling good soon

    1. Thanks for dropping by to comment Phil. Feeling much better and maybe a little bit wiser with the knock to the head!

  5. Doppleganger says:

    I gasped as well, when I read it… right on the Metro, got some interested and concerned looks…I hope you are ok… might be a bit sore today, yes? Thank GOD for your sense in wearing a helmet. I assume you got back on and rode back to the barn? Equally glad you were with someone else. Big hug. Hot Bath, Glass of wine and the fireplace….. Dr’s Orders….

    1. Thank you Dr. Doppleganger! It was totally operator error and I probably needed the wake up call to pay attention more often. I tend to trust my little mare to take care of me, wasn’t her fault, just one of those things. Sore? Very, I don’t bounce well over rocks and roots at this age…

      1. Doppleganger says:

        I had that happen myself, but I was literally by myself.. woke up on the ground, alone, no horse, just sore and glad for my helmet! Vowed never to trail ride alone again… as much as I might want to…

  6. I’m glad you made it through that one! I was stepped on by a cow once. I can’t imagine what getting kicked by a horse would be like.

    1. Stepped on by a cow sounds like a really intriguing blog post! The thing with kicks is, the closer you are the less it hurts. I guess boxing must be like that too. If they have a chance to really haul back and put some muscle into it, it’s going to hurt.

  7. Marie Keates says:

    What a drama! I’m with you on the riding of anything without the appropriate gear. Motorcycle helmets are mandatory here but I still see people in summer riding in shorts and t-shirts. Madness. I’m glad you are ok apart from a few bruises. From my experience of motorcycle accidents the falling always happens in super slow motion with a million thoughts tumbling at the same time you do.

    1. Isn’t it strange how the slow motion kicks in and you are able to remember every minute and detail? Thanks for commenting, I have lots of catching up to do on you blog!

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