Monday, May 21, 2012

The Picture Is a Euphamism

I've always been a keen (if not particularly talented) horseback rider.  Growing up, my family had a very naughty pony whose favorite activities included taking the bit between her teeth and then smearing your leg on the fence while running perpendicular to the direction of her body. 

All new riders should learn on a pony like Star.  It'd have the advantage of culling the easily frightened, and teach the rest that yes, you do have a 800 pound plus animal under you who may be harder-headed than even you.  They would also learn the most important lesson in riding:

Sometimes, it's just you, the quadruped, and almost certain death. 

Sometimes, though, it just hurts like hell.

My first job, as I have mentioned here, was at a summer camp.  Being a mostly useless sort, I assisted in the arts and crafts department and in the stables. 

I wasn't certified to teach English riding (and I certainly didn't have the talent to seek certification), which meant my role was pretty much limited to cleaning tack (a good day) or hauling poop (most days).  One lucky day, though, a group of campers was going on a trail ride, and being particularly short-staffed that afternoon, I was invited to go along for the ride (pun!) to help supervise the girls.

The horses were to the last, hard-mouthed, old, and very accustomed to the camp lifestyle--that is, they knew that all they ever had to do was follow the horse in front of them, nose-to-horsebutt.  These horses had no setting but "autopilot."

Cue the startled rabbit.  It ran away and lived happily ever after.  I, however, didn't think I was going to live that long.  My horse, a brown paint whose name I don't remember but was probably something like "Bear" or "Jerry" skittered in a little half-jump.  Because we hadn't gone faster than a very, very slow nose-to-horsebutt shuffle/walk, I was sitting pretty relaxed and not paying very much attention.

I was not unseated.  That probably would have been better.  Instead, as I started to fly over the horse's neck, I gripped with my legs and returned my weight onto the beast--but not the saddle.  No, I had flown over the pommel and landed hard the neck.  Which, if you don't know, is angular.  You might even say sharp.

Or you could just say, "Oh god, kill me now..."


(True:  This is one of the many reasons I don't like to think of rabbits as being a pet-type animal...)


  1. Oh no! I got a really sad visual from your description. Poor you! And poor Bear (or Jerry)! Your landing must have been a shock especially after being startled by the wascally wabbit! Glad you survived to write about it!

    1. He and I both suffered in dignified silence. Mostly because it was sort of frowned upon to use those words in front of twelve-year-olds. :)