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We Are Flying Solo

December 15, 2009

Tree = 1, Equestrienne = 0.1

We (lifeshighway and I) had a great ride on Saturday. Solo and Pete, lh's great little Arabian endurance partner, run so well together. The horses were primed, the footing was perfect (I love thee, Sandhills, for being my go-to place when the rain turns everything else to hopeless mud), and even human spirits were up. It was a bit cold, but not brutally so and we moved out with joy. Solo jumped beautifully, he's really beginning to consistently jump AROUND the jump, cracking his back and using his head and neck well -- amazing what happens when I stop riding like a drunken ape. We stopped back by the trailers to have a snack and then went back out. It was shaping up to be the best ride in a long time.

Until.

Until we were trotting slowly up a hill. Solo was in his usual position as lead horse, Pete was following. I always keep an ear cocked for Pete's hoofbeats and bells behind me to keep tabs on his location. The horses were a bit tired by this point, so things were pretty mellow. All of a sudden, I heard lh give a squeak (a squeak I've only heard once before when a horse stomped on her foot) and I spun around to see Pete flailing sideways and lh embracing a tree trunk face first, then rolling slowly to the ground.

Oh shit.

You have to understand, we were in Sandhills pine savanna, that looks like this --> not exactly closely packed woods. So what the hell just happened? I was already jumping off Solo (Pete was already calmly munching grass to the side, the little piglet) and hollered at lh not to move. She had a pair of broken glasses and a bloody mouth and I feared the worst after hearing too many fatal tree encounter stories. Her helmet was cracked (thank God for helmets) and I worried about concussion.

After a few minutes of breathing, we ascertained that nothing (miraculously) seemed to be broken aside from glasses. A bitten lip, a sprained wrist, a wrenched back and some bruises appeared to be the sum total. It turns out Pete had just taken a bad step, tweaked his leg, lost his balance, and managed to do so next to the only tree within about 20 feet. Completely random, unpredictable, and begun and ended within seconds.

We led the horses for a little while to let lh work through the inevitable shaking adrenaline surge we all get after we fall off, then remounted to return to the trailers. Only to discover that in the process of dismounting, etc, I had gotten turned around and lost my idea of direction. No problem, we'll just let Solo find the way back, he always finds his trailer! At which point, Solo, with great enthusiasm, led us to a random pasture of horses. Thanks, buddy.

In short, a couple hours later, in the pitch dark, after asking for directions and following the highway (thank you, Solo, for being unflinchingly matter-of-fact about taking us home on the dark road shoulder where I am blinded by headlights and can't even see the ground), we arrived in a tired heap at the trailers. We loaded up everyone in my rig, as we didn't want lh to drive the two hours home after having busted her head.

Turns out, she DID have a concussion, confirmed by a hospital visit later that night. Which means she'd probably be dead right now without that helmet. Which is why I gave her 0.1 points in the post title for not being TOTALLY defeated by that inconveniently located longleaf pine. Which is why I tell people OVER AND OVER AND OVER, it doesn't matter if you are a great rider on a calm horse on good footing on a quiet ride, you can STILL fall off and bust your head open in the blink of an eye! So wear your freaking helmets (unless you are obnoxious, in which case, well, if you remove yourself from the gene pool, I guess we won't all cry too much)!

So until next time, me and my weary horse will be sprawled out in the stall recovering from that particular adventure!

7 comments:

  1. Man, when I read the title... I just knew.

    eventer79 is great in an emergency and if any of you end up lost with a concussion with her, you will be in fine hands.

    Thanks for the .01 points.

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  2. ROFL, no problem, thanks for surviving! And I gave you a whole tenth of a point, not just a hundredth!

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  3. You have no mercy for me EVEN with a concussion.

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  4. It was the evil science nerd in me -- I didn't want to to short yourself on survival points!!

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  5. Wow, definitely an adventure. Glad to hear that everyone survived and arrived home in one piece.
    I currently have a huge rash on my forehead from my own helmet...but, I guess a rash is better than a cracked skull, eh?

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  6. Thank you for taking care of lh. Surely as you stress wearing a helmet so very much, you could find it in your heart to give a little higher score. After all, lh provided you with your wonderful example. lol

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