Falling off the horse.
Today I fell off a cantering horse. It had to happen.
We will all remember that I fell off a horse about eight years ago and broke my arm. Of course I had no business being up there in the first place, since I didn't have a clue what I was doing. It's been eight years because I wouldn't get on a horse again until it was OK with me when I fell off.
That's when not if. I was that realistic at least.
I was cueing the canter this morning, and a lot of things happened at once. I was wearing spurs, which I am not used to. I was on an unfamiliar saddle. The horse started off on the wrong lead (the wrong diagonal) as they sometimes do. We were about to make a turn, which means, being on the wrong diagonal is unbalanced. I was a little off balance myself. The horse over-reacted.
Blah blah blah, you really can over-analyize this kind of thing. In a perfect world no one would ever fall off a horse because horses would always behave perfectly and so would human beings. Also, there would be no automobile crashes, no one would ever fall off a bicycle, and no one would ever slip on a wet spot on the floor. Don't hold your breath waiting for any of this. Shit happens.
Anyway, I flew over his left shoulder, did a half-flip on the way down (which observers assured me looked very graceful) and impacted the packed sand of the arena just below my left shoulder blade. And banged my head right after that.
Then a lot of things happened very quickly. The two trainers came running over; one of them controlled the horse. The other told me to lie flat, and wait a minute before getting up. Every parent knows the symptoms of concussion, and so does every horse trainer, so she ran through the symptoms. Were the pupils of my eyes the same size, had I lost consciousness, and so forth. Meanwhile the trainer with the horse jumped up on him and cued him to canter several times to figure out what had gone wrong; when he overreacted to her she pulled him up short and made it clear that this was not OK.
When I got up I immediately got back on the horse. Of course. It's a proverb, and it's a good one. Trotting, posting, then cue the canter, first several times around the arena in one direction, then several times the other way, then in a huge figure 8 (which involves stopping momentarily in the middle to switch diagonals). What we cannot afford to teach the horse is throw the rider and then you get to go back to your stall! What we cannot afford to teach the rider - if she proposes to continue to ride - is when you fall off the world ends.
I knew it would happen sooner or later, and I just hoped I could manage to fall at least once without breaking any bones. Mission accomplished.
The only way to be sure you won't fall off a horse is not to get up on one in the first place.