Last night my mom fell off of Sovey. She is doing well this morning, but she is going to be sore. She is 66 years old so any tumble is rough.
I tacked up Sovey about 6:30 pm and just put a bridle on Pie so I could ride bareback. As I was leading Pie out into the forebay, a huge insect kept landing on his big round rear. The thing looked like a Palmetto bug and it was buzzing and apparently biting every time it landed. Pie was understandably upset and he was doing his signature half-rear/buck combo. I was still on the ground and I just went with him in circles out on the driveway and in the grass. Mom and Sovey were in the forebay and Sovey was worried about his friend. When the bug left were we able to get on and as we headed out we were laughing about how difficult it would be to stay on Pie's "bug bucks". There would be no way.
Come to think of it, during the whole ride we were talking about falling off. Maybe we jinxed ourselves. At the far corner of our big field we were letting the boys graze while we talked. I was facing my mom and something scared Sovereign from behind. He bolted forward and skittered a few steps toward me. I saw my mom almost come off as she was surprised and left behind his quick forward motion. She stayed on though, and we kept on riding. We walked down the east side of the field and into the woods. We kept talking about what a close call she had just had. I said that I felt physically sick watching her almost fall off. I had had two too many desserts (as in 2 desserts!) after dinner and the combination of the food and her "almost-fall" was enough to make me sick. She and Sovey were leading in the woods and she was saying that she is going to fall off sometime - it is just a matter of time. I knew she was right, of course. You can't ride without falling off sometimes, but I just try not to think about her going off. While still in the woods we started talking about how injured she got two years ago in a rollerskating accident. (I never worried about her skating and then, in the Spring of 2008, she took a fall right on her face/head and was terribly beat up for a while.) We popped out of the woods into a grass inlet of the larger field. Pie was leading and we were still talking about falling off. Mom was saying that she rides by balance and that she should grip a little more in her legs. I was thinking that both of us ride a little too loose. Our relaxed style pays off more times than not because it keeps the horse calm. Sometimes, though, we are too relaxed for our own good and a sudden jump or side-step leaves us on the ground! That is what happened right then. Pie was in front and skittered to the side. I was hanging off the side of him with no reins sure that I was going off. I looked over at Sovey and he was skipping over toward us in a bolt/dash maneuver. I saw my mom hanging on and then tumble off the right side of him onto her back. Pie twirled around which actually kept me on, but I couldn't see anything else of my mom and Sovey for a second. I slid off and Sovey was beside me so I grabbed his reins and turned around. No Mom anywhere! The grass was super tall and I could just hear her moaning. I walked a few steps forward and saw her on her back saying that she couldn't breathe. I think the wind was knocked out of her. I had the urge to scream, but I couldn't scream or I knew the whole pack of us would lose it completely. I couldn't reach down to help her up because I thought the horses might wheel their backends around and step on her. If our farm was fenced in I would have just let the horses loose, but it isn't so I held on to their reins and slowly started counting out loud to ten. The horses' faces were tight together and we were all watching my mom. After the first count of 10 she stopped moaning. After the next count of 10 she sat up. After the next count she rolled over and got up. Relief! She walked over and put Sovey's stirrups up, but she said that she didn't think she could lead him because her back/hip was hurting too much. My mom is not a quiet, silent person. She is a talker and when she is injured, she moans and cries loudly. The horses were fairly worked up about the fall and the moaning, and I didn't know how I was going to walk them back to the barn in this state. Sovey was so great, allowing me to walk single file through the woods with Pie in front and he behind at Pie's flank. Pie, though, was upset and nervous. He was crunching and grinding his teeth, a habit he does when wound tight. He reared a couple of times and did not make the double leading very easy. Mom came out of her house with an ice pack on her hip and hobbled over the rest of the way to the barn leading Sovey. I untacked him and stuck both horses in the pasture. They seemed puzzled and worried. Later, after making sure my mother was comfortable, I groomed and grazed each horse so that they knew that all was ok.
This morning my mom is walking and driving, but not bending too well. I have had some time to think about how lucky she was to have landed in the tall grass. She didn't land in the woods on a rock or branch or on the hard road or driveway. And, she was lucky to have landed on her back rather than her head, hand or face, like the skating accident.