Only her second ride on George and she about gave me a HEART ATTACK!
I know some of you are following my posts, infact I have some "George Stalkers" ... lol. But for those of you who haven't been following my posts, I'll give you the short and sweet story : We got our 6yr (will be 7 on Friday!) daughter a 19yr old Standardbred horse for Christmas. His name is George. George was a race horse in Canada, then an amish buggy horse, then a trail horse. Anyway, he was underweight when we got him, and a bit annoyed and nervous. He's supposedly bombproof and the perfect horse for our daughter, but then he started nipping at me. I think that with the help of other members on the forum that I got the nipping thing pretty well figured out. Anyway, our daughter got to ride him one time (I posted about it) and he did great.
That pretty much brings us up to date ... so now ... yesterday we got George out again all saddled up and ready to go. My hubby forgot to put the halter on under the bridle, so he didn't really have a place to attach the lead rope (first dumb move). If I could go back in time, I would've went and got the halter and put it on under the bridle. SO anyway, my hubby "Jeremiah" was leading him without the halter while our daughter "Jasmine" was riding. Also - we only have a 16" western saddle. We don't have a child's saddle. Her feet weren't in the stirrups either - it was just suppose to be a short little ride around the yard. (second dumb move). I guess we should've moved the stirrups up to see if she could reach them (we've never moved them up yet to see if she would be able to reach them or not). So anyway - she was happy as can be riding George and Jeremiah was leading. Jeremiah's parents were visiting and just getting ready to leave, so they were watching her ride before they left. George was being a little bit onery, not as obedient and patient as he was the first time she rode him. But he wasn't horrible though. So Jeremiah's parents get in their truck to leave and they're pulling out of the driveway and Jeremiah standing there next to George and Jasmine waving to his parents. He said the next thing he knew ... Jasmine's going "Let's Go George" and OFF THEY GO ... WITHOUT JEREMIAH! I was sick, so I was sitting in the house on the couch, and from where I was sitting I couldn't see where they were standing waving, but I could see the path that goes down to and past the barn - which is the direction George and Jasmine went. So next thing I know I look out the window and there goes George TROTTING with Jasmine bouncing around holding on for dear life!! I could've DIED!! The path is a path between dense trees on both side, plus it's rocky near the barn - she could've really got hurt if she would fell off. She didn't have a helmet on either. (Third Dumb Move). We actually don't even have an equestrian helmet for her, but decided that from now on we'll be using her bike helmet until she gets an actual equestrian helmet. Anyway - back to the story. Jeremiah's hollering "PULL BACK JASMINE" and she's hollering "I CAN'T!" Which is probably because she was holding on for dear life. She started going side ways in the saddle and only GOD kept her from falling! Jeremiah hollered "GEORGE!" and George stopped and looked back at him. He stayed there until Jeremiah got to him and got a hold of him again. Jasmine still wanted to ride, so Jeremiah took her on George down the path by the barn and then once they got back to the barn he got her off and took George back in and unsaddled him.
What a SCARE! Needless to say, Jasmine got an ear full! We told her how she should NEVER try to take George by herself unless we say it's ok. We also explained to her that she needs to learn how to ride before she can ever take him herself. Anyway, now I'm thinking about saddling George up atleast a few times per week and training Jasmine how to ride. I have worked with her in the saddle - but OFF a horse (just on the saddle on a rack) showing her what different parts of the saddle are, and what they're for, and how to work the reins, etc. So she does know the basics - but she needs to practice them on George for sure. So we're going to be working on SAFE riding!! I don't want anything like this to happen again! It could've went horribly wrong! She did say that she thought Jeremiah was with her, so perhaps it was all a mistake. Regardless, I don't think she'll do that again, it did scare her pretty good. Thank God that George stopped when he did and waited! Another couple of steps and I'm sure Jasmine would've fallen off! I seriously think that God is who kept her on until she got stopped anyway!
Wow! Lesson learned! : ) Glad it didn't turn out horrible.
Don't focus on the "what ifs" or the "we're so lucky X didn't happen." It didn't happen, period. Life's too short to wonder about those things. The fact is she didn't fall off, and it was a little bit of a scare. She's safe, and what a saint of a horse to stop when called.
Teaching her how to steer and stop on her own is a great way to make sure that if anything like this happens again, or if he starts going faster than she wants, she knows what to do other than just hanging on. Get her an equestrian helmet if she's going to be riding - bike helmets to NOT cut it; they're not designed for impacts from speeds or heights that riders experience. Beyond that, bike helmets do not come down far enough, they give little to no protection on the occipital lobe or brainstem.
Breathe, everything is fine. It's great that she still wanted to ride.
You may want to consider a child's saddle or those stirrup attachments so she's more secure in the saddle. Make sure the stirrups have tapaderos (sp?) on them.
Wow...just wow! I'm so glad that Jasmine wasn't hurt.
And yes, we are working on teaching her to steer and stop, etc. Actually, she did already know how to steer and to stop, but she was holding on so tight to the horn of the saddle that she couldn't pull back on the reins to stop him. Which is why she has A LOT more to learn - and needs lots of practice! I am actually working on getting her a helmet. I'm bidding on one on ebay for her. And I'm looking into getting her a child's saddle as well. Or if nothing else - the buddy stirrups.
Thanks for the advice:)
If it's at all possible, take her to a tack store to get her fitted for a helmet.
1) you have no idea about the history of the helmet on eBay - you do NOT want a compromised, or old helmet. Helmets need to be sound and less than 5 years old to be effective.
2) Helmets have all different sizes and shapes. Troxels fit different from Tipperary fit different from IRH, to name a few. Even if you've measured her head, it might be the right size, but not the right shape.
I've worked in a tack store in the past - I've seen so many parents come in and say "Oh! This helmet will fit Lucie! It's the right size!" and I warn them that it might not, and they're back in the next week with Lucie in tow to exchange the helmet.
You want to know the history of the helmet to a T. You want to know its manufacture date. A helmet is a piece of equipment that one should not buy second hand - it's one piece of equipment that can be the difference between bruise and severe head injury.
Not trying to lecture - not at all... but if you decide to wear a helmet, do it in the safest way possible!
whew....I'm a firm believer that if you haven't fallen you're not getting anywhere...but 6 is a little young...especially off a big horse with no helmet! I'm glad that George listened! I would work with lunging him and making sure he's almost 100% on voice commands. That way, even if your daughter can't grab the reins she can say "whoah" and be okay :)
Wow.. As a new horse owner, I have made a few "dumb" moves myself and now air on the very cautious side but sure haven't had this type of "close call" .. Glad everything turned out okay. I'm also glad that you haven't gotten alot of "nasty" comments which are not productive and glad you had the courage to post your "dumb" moves..because I believe we all have made them a time or two...even the most experienced riders!
Thank goodness she's ok. Now..on to buying all the proper equipment to make her rides safer. I'd get a lunge line, a proper fitting saddle and a helmet for sure. A few rides at a trainer wouldn't hurt, so that someone other than you can tell her how important it is to NOT take off. It's exciting to her I'm sure, so she's thinking in the minute, not ahead to a fall. Good luck!
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