Injuries....They are bound to happen. I had a pretty good riding streak--riding since I was 12. When you are a kid, you would fall off, bounce back, get right back on and have a great laugh about it. Now the “bounce” isn’t so much a bounce as it is a deflated ball. First you have that “Oh no, I’m falling” moment--sort of in slow motion and then plop. No bounce. No laugh. We just think the following: Can I move everything? Is anything broken? Where are my glasses? Oh, God! I hope no one was watching! I’m so embarrassed. Then when you are riding by yourself, it is a little scarier. Will they find me? Will my horse run away?
We do manage to get back on. Our confidence might be shook a little, but we do soon forget about it. My first really bad fall was on a horse about 7 years ago. “Utah” spooked and I got launched and fell right on my tailbone. I did get back on, but stopped riding after that injury. I didn’t start riding until I started leasing 3 years ago and then purchased my horse two years ago. Could that be why I do get a little nervous?
As a kid I was fearless. My friend Lauren and I often laugh at the stupid things we did with horses as kids. We often wonder how we survived those years without killing ourselves. I do credit her for saving my life--one time we rode and gave our horses baths. We were letting them graze and decided to “build” some crazy jumps. I hopped on, bareback with a halter and no helmet ready to go for the jump. Lauren stopped me and made me put my helmet on. Reluctantly, I did and thankfully I did. “Dandy” galloped up to it stopped and then popped over. I fell off and cracked my head. I was dizzy, but was okay. Thankfully, Lauren made me wear my helmet. I would NEVER attempt that now--even with a helmet and protective vest! What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking---I was a kid and thought I was invincible.
I guess as we get older we start to feel and worry about our own mortality. As I was saying earlier, I did have a great riding streak without injuries. Everything happened in a span of two months with Sergio. First a bad concussion and then the infamous mounting block incident. But I keep going back. When I talk to my “non-horsey” friends they think I need to stop riding and that it is too dangerous. When I talk to my “horse” friends we laugh and are all trying to top each others stories about how gruesome and life threatening our injury was. I feel like I am one of them. At work, I am made to feel embarrassed about my injuries, but in my circle of horse friends, I am supported--we all are. In Windy Hollow Hunt, we even have the “Windie Awards”. Awards for an array of different types of falls. Bottles of wine are dedicated to the riders and inspired by the falls. There is also the “Slippery Saddle Award” for the most dramatic fall. What does that say? You fell, you got back on and you persevered. We always say to each other, you will be fine once you get back on. There is something to that. Once you are on your horse and riding, you forget about everything else. You are traversing land, jumps, ditches, water and wild animals. You do not have time to think about what hurts. As long as your mind is healthy, you WILL be fine. I have met so many kind and inspirational people through riding. They are very uplifting when you are down and understand exactly what you are going through. This is so prevalent at The Colonies. What a wonderfully supportive group of people.
One of my favorite videos “So you think being an equestrian is easy” sums up what we do. I usually read rather than watch videos, but this is so incredible. It is worth the time! I really hope you enjoy it.
How do you boost your confidence after a bad fall? Share in the comments below.
Happy and safe riding to everyone!