Sunday, September 27, 2015


There are days where you're just plain lucky.

Yesterday, I was riding Red in the outdoor arena - we were riding on the grass center.  It was a lovely day, enough wind to keep the flies at bay but balmy and sunny.  Red was forward, and just wonderful - lots of nice trot and canter work.

We were cantering on the left lead, and he fell out of the canter into a very big trot.  Rider error - instead of collecting him in trot before asking for canter again, I just pressed him to canter from the big trot.

All of a sudden, he was scrambling.  He went down in front - I think on both knees and his nose/face  - but managed to haul himself back up.  We had a lot of forward momentum when he tripped, so it took him a number of strides to right himself, and the ground looked mighty close.

I was sure for a moment that we were both going down, but he managed to pull it out - he saved our bacon with his fitness and athleticism.  I gave him free rein in the seconds while he struggled - I'm not a believer in the "hold the horse up by the reins" school of thought - a horse is heavy, and with forward momentum that's a lot of mass - a human holding the reins isn't going to have much if any influence on what happens and I believe the horse needs freedom of the head and neck to recover.

I jumped off, expecting bad things - damaged tendons/ligaments or worse.  Nothing was obviously wrong - I palpated everything - and he was walking sound, so I got back on and trotted briefly - amazingly, he was completely sound.  I got right back off and led him back to the barn and put him away, not wanting to take a chance on his soundness until some time had passed - injured horses can sometimes appear sound just due to adrenaline.

I checked Red again after I rode Pie, and again several hours later, and he seemed to be sound at the walk and there was no swelling or heat in any of his legs, which was remarkable.

This morning I hiked out into the far pastures to check on him, and he still seemed fine.  He gets a day off today anyway, and we'll see how he is on Monday.

Sometimes you're just plain lucky - I'll take that whenever it's on offer.


  1. those moments are scary, I know. I'm glad that he's okay (and you too)

  2. That was a close call that could have ended badly. Glad both of you pulled through with flying colors. I'm with you I'll take "Lucky" any time.

  3. Happy you're both okay, scary moment!

  4. I've been missing reading your blog after a bit of a long hiatus. ...from pretty much everything internet.
    I've similar stumbles on horses over the years. One of my worst falls occurred that way at a fast moving, canter. I wish I could say that I'm a throw the reins away sort of rider too (I agree with you that pulling them up doesn't really help the horse). Unfortunately, my instinct is to pull up, so I tend to do that without thinking.....Thankfully, there aren't many opportunities to work on that (if there were, I'd probably stop riding)! I'm glad you and Red are both ok!!!

  5. Yikes! But all's well that ends well. I've ridden through stumbles like that, I usually start kicking my feet out of the stirrups in case I have to bail off. No fun!

  6. That is lucky, but your response was a big part of it, too. I'm glad he appears okay.

  7. Glad you and Red are OK. Last time one of my horses tripped, I went off. Didn't get hurt that time, but the ground gets harder the older you get.

    Both of you proved you are athletes this time.


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