Falling off a Horse Doesn't Always Mean You Need to get Back on - My Fall on Flora
Flora fell yesterday while I was riding her. It wasn't just a stumble, she went all the way down and flipped over. We're both ok, but very shook up.
I was trotting Flora in the indoor arena and we were almost finished with our trot set to get her leg feeling good again. She was so well behaved, I was having a really good ride. That's when it happened, something I've seen so many videos of and it really scares me. It scares me because it's not preventable, it's not a training error or human error, it just is. Something that can happen to anyone. And after over 30 years of riding, it happened to me.
It happened in slow motion. I'm not sure if it was really slow motion, or it just felt that way. I had my Pivo camera recording us, but of course, it didn't follow the fall. It just recorded the sound of it.
Flora went down in front. The momentum of her trotting while tripping brought her all the way down. All I could think of was the videos and stories I've heard of where the horse lands on the person. I went over the front of her and landed in the soft sand of the arena. My ankle was under her body, but the sand was very forgiving and allowed my foot to sink into it. She got up quickly and I rushed over to grab the reins before she could run off. She didn't try, though. I think she was pretty dazed. We were both pretty shook up.
I walked Flora around the arena, then brought her over and untacked her to check her over. She had sand in her nostril and along the left side of her mouth and face. I wiped it off, but not before she got a sandy nose print on my camera.
I looked myself over and I seemed fine. I escaped the incident unscathed. She had a scrape on her knee and some skin missing on her left front fetlock. It looked like she scraped it with her hind, probably while getting up.
I rinsed her superficial scratches off and rubbed her down with Vetrolin, a liniment for sore muscles, knowing she would be sore later. I tried some Reiki, but she was not having it. So I turned her out and let her be.
I'll go out and check on her today. I assume she will be sore. Flora literally did a somersault. I walked and re-walked that part of the arena and the only reason for the fall that I can come up with is the sand is a bit deeper there. I think she kind of got stuck, and the momentum made her go down.
Not every ride we have is going to be perfect or what we imagined. We are dealing with live animals with their own thoughts and feelings. There will be days that stuff happens and accidents happen. It's inevitable with these large animals.
But, when stuff happens, we need to take into account not only our feelings, but the animals - the horses - as well. I didn't get back on yesterday. Even though that saying in the horse world about always getting on after falling off was in the back of my head. It's been ingrained in me being in the horse world for so long.
Yesterday, I didn't have to do that. Instead of blindly following a way of doing something because that's what everybody else is doing, I took the situation into account. We both were shook up and wanted to be done. That's OK. Flora doesn't have an agenda. I saw she was hurt and made the judgement call it was OK to end there.
Horses can teach us so much about life. Each situation is different. If you can realize that in the moment and pause, your reactions and decisions will lead you on the best path.