Mr. Woods, Eng 101
A thousand pounds of pure power. Able to end your life in one moment if they choose to, yet
Gentle and honest, the horse is an amazing animal. They have the strength to do anything they
Please. This is what thrills me. To sit on the back of animal that keeps me sane. Feeling their
Muscle structure shift under you with every step and yet to be able to be one with these majestic
Animals. The feeling of flying with invisible wings, its two hearts, one passion and a mind set
To embrace the power they let us barrow. Knowing that all gentleness, calmness and the bond of
The partnership can be snapped, not unlike a calm stream suddenly turned to rapids or like a
Calm day suddenly turned into a day of havoc by a black tornado.
It was just my young blood bay thoroughbred mare, little did I know that this day would make
Me rethink everything I’ve known and felt about riding horses. To remember we can’t control
These animals, we have to learn to work with them, to communicate with their delicate minds that
Are just as sensitive as ours. Things are good and then there was this moment when you just
Know something isn’t right. You have this sensation that something terrible is about to happen.
The thing I realized in that moment is that it was too late to change the course of action. That
Moment of realization had never been stronger in me, sure I have taken my share if falls, hard
And brutal into walls, jumps, in the cold mud, tasting the grainy bitter taste of sand in my mouth.
I knew in that split second I was not going to be okay. It felt like the longest thirty seconds of my
Life, the most terrifying and endless thirty seconds. Here’s what occurred.
I had only been on this little mare for a few minutes, just trying to relax and get her muscles and
Joint’s warm before really working her when suddenly she stopped in her tracks, head up,
Ears back as if to say something is wrong. I could sense that she felt unsure of herself so I kicked
Her forward to attempt to take her mind off of whatever was worrying her. That moment I could
Feel her whole body under my seat and leg tighten up like when you get a cramp in your calf and
Nothing is moving just painfully tight. Trying to get her to simply just move forward, with the
Feeling of dread washing over me like a tidal wave, again I kicked her with cold feet in my soft
Leather boots Not even getting a chance for my leg to come back down against her side
Suddenly I was lifted straight up, almost tipping over backwards into the cold frozen and
Unforgiving sand that was under us. We went up, high, I could feel all her power under me to lift
Both of us, then down we came, fast and hard, the air was cold with the sudden movement, as if
You were in a snow blizzard. Then I felt our heads collide with so much force I couldn’t think.
Again we went back upward so fast it made me dizzy to open my eyes, so I shut them
Tight. The slow motion of her front legs landing again, I could hear her hooves hit the sand.
Again, we cracked heads. Now I felt my head was a base ball whirling at high speeds to meet the
Bat for a grand slam, only that grand slam was into her skull…again and again this happened,
Each time coming back down from her powerful rear it was like time slowed and I knew we
Would crack head again, that sickening feeling in my gut rose up to my head as if all my thoughts
Were turning in slow motion and I couldn’t think of how to end this nightmare of a ride.
Suddenly it stopped just as fast as it had started, I slid off, tears burning my eyes and felt like hot
Acid on my cheeks, trembling from head to toe out of pure fear for my life. My heart was racing,
Pounding so hard in my chest it hurt to breath. That sickening feeling arising in my gut as if I
Was to throw up or was I going to just collapse…I couldn’t think, I couldn’t process what had
Just happened. Now just standing there beside my little sweet horse, she looked at me with
Innocence and nudging my body that was in a pure state of shock, she blew her warm breath out
On my hand. Seeing her breath come like smoke out of a chimney.
That was an experience I will never shake out of my body, I still ride to this day, still love it. But
I most definitely took time to think about the pure danger this sport involves. More than football,
More than soccer, who else works, partners up with a thousand pound animal, with four strong
Legs and hooves capable of in split seconds ending your life? Me. I do. I face that danger every
Time I put my foot in the stirrup to lift me up onto their broad and very powerful back. I face it
Head on with a smile on my face. I stare danger down and defeat it with my equine partner. I
Wound up with a nasty concussion and was in a fog for a few days after. Remembering seeing
My life flash before my eyes… I never want to feel that way again, it’s indescribably painful. To
Wonder when at that moment you are alone, being thrashed around by my incredibly powerful
Animal “Will I be okay?” “How bad is this going to hurt?” “If I can’t get up when will someone
That moment when you don’t know if you will make it out of the situation alive or not and what
You will miss out on, you think about what you want to say to people you love. That moment
When all you do is freeze up cause your sense are overwhelmed and can’t take it all in, you smell
Fear on you. You see everything happening in slow motion, you hear every little sound as if its
Amplified in your ears. You feel everything like a shockwave hitting you only at the maximum
Level, your eyes dilate and in that split second you think, “If I go now, it won’t hurt and it will be
Over so fast.” Then you remember, your life is worth fighting for, and *the adrenalin kicks
In. Everything goes from slow motion to high speed but you’re trying to keep up, you are going
To keep up because you must.
In these moments I faced fear at the most daring level. I could think so clearly in the moments
That went in slow motion. I could see my breath as is drew out of my dry mouth into the cold
Air. I could see my horse’s mane flow with the roller coaster motion; I could feel every muscle in
Her body tighten and release, With every breath I felt her body lifting off the ground with all her
Strength, *her hooves coming back down and hearing the sand be displaced from the weight she
Was throwing around.
When it was over I realized I took danger in my hands and literally rode it out until it was over.