We All Fall Down
As I have mentioned in Monday's post (which you can read here if you missed it), I'll be talking about my most recent fall experience. The last time I fell off of a horse was about 3 or 4 years ago. It was an experience that I probably won't ever forget and is something that I will learn from in the future.
At the time, I had been working at a horseback riding camp that focused on the eventing discipline. They also taught the basics of vaulting as a fun activity to do with the campers. During that one summer, they wanted to try out another horse for vaulting as the horse that they were using had become too old to have children riding him.
They asked if I would like to be the one to get on this horse first to see if he would make a good vaulting horse for the kids. Naturally, I said yes because I was eager to help out in anyway I could. We got the horse tacked up and into a small round pen.
First, we just longed the horse without me on him to get him used to the surcingle around his belly. Then I got a leg up and we started walking around with the person longeing in the middle. The horse was fine at the walk. I made sure to swing my arms and legs around and to touch the horse in areas a child's hand or foot might land while vaulting. There were no signs of any sort of unease with the horse.
So we thought that things were going great. The next step was to ask the horse to trot so we could see how he would react to that. The person in the middle asked him to trot, but the horse ignored her and just kept on walking. I decided I would squeeze my legs to help him understand what we were asking of him. He started to trot for a few steps before everything went south.
The horse started bucking and rearing. All of a sudden I was on a bronc. I figured the best thing to do would be to hold on and ride it out. This horse was pretty chubby so he would run out of energy eventually. I held onto the surcingle and hoped that the person in the middle would be able to stop him. By that point, I guess we were drawing a lot of attention to ourselves and making the campers nervous. The person who was longeing asked me to get off the horse. So I did.
I started to dismount just as the horse started to kick out pretty high. Because of that, I didn't have enough balance to land on my feet so I landed on my side instead. Since we were in such a small round ring, I was too focused on getting up and out of the way before the horse would step on me that I wasn't yet aware of my whereabouts.
I remember the person longeing telling me to get into the middle of the ring while she calmed the horse. The problem was, I couldn't figure out where the middle was. I kept trying to find it but all I saw was sand as my vision started to darken around the edges. I don't know how long I was passed out for. A couple of minutes maybe. All I know is that I could hear them saying to call 911 and I remember telling myself to fight it and come back to reality. When I opened my eyes, the horse was gone and I was lying on the person's lap as someone brought a cold water soaked towel for me.
When the ambulance arrived, they did a quick exam. I knew that I didn't have anything broken, but my head was a little soar. They didn't want to take any chances so they took me to the hospital. They did a few x rays and then let me go. Nothing was wrong with me, thank goodness and they told me that I could start riding again right away. They also said that the passing out was probably caused by not drinking enough water and getting up too fast after a fall.
So to make a long story short. I'm okay and I still love to ride. I also don't blame the person who was longeing at all and I understand their reasoning for asking me to get off in the first pace. I'm not afraid of that horse or longeing or vaulting. But I will make sure to drink more water and to wait a few seconds and get my bearings before I get up off the floor from a fall.
If there's one thing I'd like for you to do, it's to please take your time when getting up from a fall. Learn from my experience before it becomes your own. We will all fall off our horses and we will get back on. We learn from our mistakes and that's what's important.
Until next time, happy (and safe) riding!