I keep thinking it was 4 years ago, but I looked it up and it was 3 years ago Jan 24th that I had a mild accident. From my email to a friend:
Remember my saying Thursday I hadn't come off a horse before? First time for everything.
I was working with Mia on the street, and our across the street neighbor decided to also work on his dune buggy engine. Meanwhile Lilly was calling out, so I decided it was time for a strategic retreat to the corral. However, I should have done a strategic dismount first!
As we turned into the drive, my neighbor gunned the engine and Mia bolted. The gate was closed so she couldn't get in, but she was still terrified. I had already figured out I needed to get off ASAP, but there weren't many opportunities. At the gate, she panicked even more, reared and started spinning around. I pretty much knew her next step would be to bolt across the rocks, so I tried to dismount.
Dismounting a rearing horse is a bit more awkward than I would have anticipated. She spun out from beneath me and I landed on my back. I did manage to twist and avoid smacking my baseball cap clad head against the rocks...did I mention I want to go buy a helmet?
Whatever her faults, Mia is still a lady. She bolted across the rocks, but jumped over me first. She somehow made it to the top, and back across and into the drive. I pulled my butt off the ground and called to her. She raced towards me, and I got out of the way. Then she quieted enough for me to grab her reins and lead her back to Lilly, who spent the whole time squealing like a stuck pig. Thanks, Lilly!
I'll try a ride on Mia in a few hours if my back loosens up. If not, then tomorrow. I think Mia is OK, but I'm too sore right now to go check her hooves.
Motrin is my friend.
As it turned out, I landed back first on a small rock. Sounds pretty innocent, but in Feb 2012, I just walked across the kitchen with pain in my hip. It looks like I've got a sore that will be with me for life. Oh - and it was a week before I could crawl back on a horse, and then I needed help. I also needed help just getting off 10 minutes later...
I eventually rode Mia again...quite a bit, in fact. Last spring, she got so spun up that I spent two hours trying to get her to stop...and jumped off in the end. Since Nov, she has been in training.
She can be a wonderful horse at times, but the only reason I haven't sold her is that no one wants her. She isn't safe for someone who isn't really good, and no one who is really good wants to bother with her. I have ridden her a couple of times recently...
So what does this add up to?
It is possible to get your confidence back in a horse, or riding in general, but only you can decide if you want to do so. Because the hard truth is that it COULD happen again. Or worse. Every time we get on a horse, we accept risk - more risk than we often care to think about.
The friend I emailed the above message has regained consciousness in the desert with a broken pelvis & ribs, no phone and quite a ways to crawl back to a road. If that happened to me, it would be the last time I rode a horse. I like horses, but they are not my life. She is still riding, and in fact is the one working with Mia.
Not me. A severe injury like that would make me quit! But my injury that time was one I didn't bother going to the hospital for - no idea it was going to cause me stabbing pain many times/day for 6 months, and nagging pain for years.
There are other things we can do. I'm convinced an Australian stock saddle with grab strap is what I want to be in when things go to hell on a horse. A bucking strap on a western saddle can improve the odds. Sometimes a change of horse can help. But the truth remains that it CAN happen again. I wouldn't decide now, but it won't mean you are a wimp if you decide to call it quits later on. That is a perfectly understandable and honorable choice to make - if you
Give it a bit more time. See if you react the same on a different horse. Then decide what is best for you and your family.
BTW - after my injury, my WIFE
gave up riding. It was only in December that she rode a horse a couple of times. Friday, she took a lesson on Trooper from the lady I emailed. Trooper was a perfect gentleman, and she seems to be slowly getting more comfortable. She asked him for a trot, and the gelding that loves to canter just did a slow jog...and when she settled back in the saddle, he slowed without any other cue. Good Trooper!
We also picked up a BLM mustang who is only 13 hands tall. I've been riding him by himself out in the desert, and he is doing great. My wife finds him much less intimidating. He may become the small, level-headed horse that gives people confidence - the 10" difference in height, plus a different attitude, makes him MUCH less intimidating than Mia.
Good luck and best wishes to you no matter what you decide.