Ironic: coincidental; unexpected, that is how I would describe the last two "horse wrecks" I have been a part of. The first ironic situation happened way back in 2001 or 2002 when I was living on my acreage in Hespero. I had a friend over and we were going to go riding. She was an avid rider so I let her saddle up my big rope horse, Ed and I saddled up good old Dirt Face. We led the horses away from the barn to the driveway where we mounted up. Now Ed was a big horse, a powerful rope horse and I loved him, but it can't be denied that he had, well, he had personality and lots of it. He would occasionally throw tempertantrums and be difficult, but most of the time, he was just a big, fast, adorable horse. That day though, Ed was in a foul mood and he refused to go when he was asked to. My friend sat on his back, kicking and yelling and slapping him with the reins, but he refused to budge! My friend looked to me with frustration and a little hesitation, she said "Jeanne, I'm afraid he's just gonna "blow!"" He looked like he could explode at any minute, so I switched horses with her, thinking that if anyone was going to get bucked off of my horse, it better be me. So, I stuck my sneaker into the stirrup, pulled myself into the saddle, removed the bunched up shorts from my butt, adjusted my tube top and said, outloud "Oooo, look at me, the epidomy of safety, riding in shorts and sneakers!" It was just as I got the last word out of my mouth that Ed began moving backwards as fast as he could go. This was a surprise to me as I thought I had been sending him the signals to move forward, you know the ones where you loosen the reins, squeeze your legs and give a little kiss? Apparently that day, Ed read the signals as "back up at mock speed." Eventually he tripped and fell sideways on the gravel, my leg pinned underneath him. He didn't lay there long, he got up like a shot with me still clinging to the saddle horn, and proceded to fall down again, this time before getting up, he slid around a little being sure to get all the gravel possible caked into the side of my leg! This time I worked my foot loose from the stirrup and when Ed got up and ran across the yard, I stayed sitting on the driveway staring at my bloody leg, ewwwwwwww! I walked away from that accident with a nasty gravel burn I guess I deserved it for being dumb enough to ride in shorts!
Today, I had another one of those "ironic horse wrecks." It was a hot afternoon, but I was smart enough to wear jeans and boots with my tube top as I headed down Dirt and mine's favorite trail. We were just sauntering along when the cell phone in my saddle bag started ringing. It was my sister and when I mentioned that I was riding, she offered to call me back later. I smiled and replied with, " nah, that's ok, Dirt's not that crazy, I can ride and talk." And ride and talk I did for 15 minutes. Our conversation ended and I put the phone back in the saddle bag. Dirt and I continued to the end of the treed trail and came out where we always do at the end of a dead end road. We rode past the immaculate acreages and a guy building a rail fence around his huge outdoor arena. The dead end comes out at a township road where you can go right or left. I usually ride to the right, the ditch there is mowed and it leads up to a beautiful stable where Dirt and I usually say hi to a pretty mare and foal. I have been left once before and it was crappy riding, the grass in the ditch is long and there is a lot of gravel sprayed in the grass which Dirt finds hard on his feet. Today I was feeling adventurous so we went left. Often I talk outloud to myself while riding, usually bragging to the birds about how lucky I am to have a horse like Dirt. Today's conversation was outloud like usual and I had barely gotten out these exact words, "I am so glad I am not afraid to ride Dirt by myself. I am not scared of him. He does get scared sometimes, but I know he won't do anything crazy," when all hell broke loose! Everything happened so fast, one minute we were plodding along and the next minute Dirt was loosing his mind, kicking and shying and bucking sideways all at once. I had no idea what had him sooo freaked out so I grabbed a rein and tried to turn him in a circle, and just when I thought i had him calmed down, he let out one last big kick or buck and I went flying off into the grass flat on my back. I could hear Dirt run away. I rolled over onto all fours, but the wind had been knocked out of me and I couldn't breath. I felt panicked, here I was, all alone, my versace sunglasses missing from my face, struggling to breath! I wanted to cry, but I couldn't breath, I just kneeled there trying to get my breath. I saw my glasses, unbroken laying in the grass, thank God! Marty had warned me several times about riding in those! I stood up, picked up the sun glasses and felt like I was going to pass out. I needed to let someone know where I was! Luckily I had brought my phone with me, unluckily it was in the saddle bags on the saddle on the horse, the one that I had heard running away. I looked around and saw Dirt standing only a few feet from me, his head was cocked, one rein still over his neck, looking just as confused as I was. I walked slowly over to him, got my phone out, called Marty and just cried. I think I was sooo scared and unsure about how my physical condition. He offered to come get me, but I decided just to sit down in the grass, calm down and try to ride back to the barn. I noticed Dirt had a couple of really good cuts on his legs and I remembered seeing a random, loose wire sticking out of the weeds when I grabbed my glasses. I figured Dirt must have stepped on the end of a hidden wire and when it flung up out of the weeds it must have wrapped around his legs, spooking him! I felt sooo bad for him, how could I blame him? His reaction wasn't stupid, he wasn't being irrational, he was sincerely scared! The ride back to the barn was a quiet one, I did not have one word to brag outloud!
I sit here tonight with a bag of frozen mixed veggies strapped to my back, thinking about tomorrow's trip to the tack store and the wound dressing and fly spray I need to pick up for my poor Dirt. The lesson here is: never stop riding, never stop paying attention and being alert, no matter how damn good your horse is! Horses are unpredictable, even the good ones!