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April 19, 2014: The Harder they Fall

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Alys together again.

Imagine it, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men conferring about how to put a fallen rider back together. The horses would be the brains of the outfit. And then men would do the grunt work. This is because horses are smarter than men, but the men have thumbs.

What brings this musing to mind is that I came off Tinni today. It was a beautiful day for a ride, maybe a tad bit windy, but nevertheless a good day to be out and about. It was in fact one of those days where you linger outside, and don’t make overtures in the direction of going inside.

Trillium riding Tinni

Heather came over and we took Lifre and Raudi for a spin. We went around the loop and did a portion of the lower trail. Raudi did wonderfully off trail and even better on trail. She was out front much of the time, and her ears were forward. She was clearly enjoying herself. She carefully picked her way along the trail, repeatedly going for the firmer terrain. She went down the slopes nicely. Finally, I thought, Raudi has become a dependable riding horse.

I decided to ride Mr. T bareback after Heather left. I got on him using the mounting block, and then down the road we went, him slowly picking up his pace. He then started to tolt, and maintained this four-beat gait for a considerable ways. He slowed down, and we walked a bit. Then he honored my request to resume tolting. I was blown away. Tinni has not tolted for any great length since last spring. Last fall he was too out of shape.

We were on the upper road when a little furry white dog came bounding up its owner’s pathway. It came from seemingly out of nowhere – yap, yap, yap. It rushed out at Tinni and he spooked. He spun around and took off at a gallop. I lost my balance and came off his back, falling off his right side. I was using long reins. My foot was tangled up in them. He ran a ways, dragging me, me thinking “this is not good.” I kicked the reins free of my boot and laid still for some time.

I then panicked because I could not move my right leg. I was numb. I didn’t think that I’d be able to stand. I repeatedly yelled for help and when that didn’t work, lay in the road, breathing deeply. Feeling finally came back to my leg, though my hindquarters were very sore. I gingerly got up off the ground and hobbled down the road to Tinni, who was looking at me expectantly. No, he did not get a treat; not this time.

Tinni and proceeded back uproad, and walked back the place where he lost it. I didn’t see the dog. The dog’s owner/caretaker was loading stuff into his pickup truck. “Sorry about what happened,” he said. That was the extent of our exchange.

I later thought that if my dog startled a rider and the rider came off, I’d follow that rider home or get a phone number and later call them. This didn’t happen in this instance.

There was nothing I could say to the dog owner because this was truly a freak accident. Paul (the cabin owner) isn’t here often. And I don’t have a set, daily time when I ride. So, all I can do is be super vigilant when riding my horses, or when others are riding them. And I will be sure to do this. I learned this the easy way. It would have been far worse if, say, Lifre had spooked and Heather came off of him.

The most amazing thing of all is that I’d just finished an article on the importance of wearing a helmet when riding. This, I noted, is for those times when the twenty second rule doesn’t work. Actually, I did have a tiny window of time when I could have gotten Tinni back under control. But I was not expecting this happen. Rather, I was enjoying the beautiful day.

I haven’t broken anything. I’m bruised, stiff, and generally sore all over. I’ll live to ride another day, which is the best thing of all.

Next: 4/20/14: Dog Training: I Believe in Many Dogs