Wednesday, December 7, 2011

All of a Sudden

It seems like 99% of all horse accident stories begin with the wondrous phrase “all of a sudden.”

We hear it everyday. The ride was going perfect until “all of a sudden” the horse; kicked, bucked, reared, bit, etc.

One of my favorite examples of this phenomenon was on a quiet trail ride where I meet a grandmother and her granddaughter both on well broke horses. I was riding behind both them when mid way through the ride I see the granddaughter's gelding slowly start riding up the rear of the grandmother's mare. The mare from the moment it started was obviously pissed.

I warn them to back off, but they ignore my comments. So the mares starts pinning her ears, and wringing her tail.

I warn them again that they need to pay attention and get off the mare's rear, I guess they didn't hear me or the mare. So Mare adds chomping the bit, and begins glancing back with road rage to the already pinned ears and wringing tail.

I tell them to back off, that the mare is on her way to blowing a gasket, and of course they didn't listen. So Mare adds pissed off jig to the pinned ears, wringing tail, etc.

This goes on for about 15 minutes........

when “ALL OF A SUDDEN” the mare kicked!

Suddenly the mare was bad, she was wrong, by the words of the grandmother, “a terrible horse.” She just couldn't believe that that mare would do such a thing.

It never crossed their minds that the whole incident was their fault. Even after I explained the situation play by play.

You mean I can't just sit back and enjoy the scenery while riding like when I'm a passenger in a car? That I actually have to pay attention to what my horse and the horses around me are doing when riding. What did you think was happening when your mare pinned her ears and started acting up? Do you do the same thing with your car? That check engine light comes on for a reason you know.

After the ride as I walk past their trailer to hear the Grandmother exclaim over the phone, “Then all of a sudden (insert name) kicked!”

If you happen to experience “all of a sudden” stories regularly in your horse life, chances are you the one are causing the problems or ignoring them, especially if you are riding a well seasoned horse. Riding is just like driving you can never fall asleep at the wheel. I've had plenty of interesting moments on green horses, but as a rider I expect green horses to freak over anything and everything.

In my riding life I have only experienced one true “all of a sudden” moment. It happened when I was a kid riding in the woods with my Mom. My horse was quiet and on a loose rein, when “All OF A SUDDEN” a tree fell about 30 yards away, and my horse took off like a bolt of lightning. I regained control about 50 yards later, and circled until my horse was ready to continue once again on a loose rein.

Maybe it should be changed it to, “Suddenly I wasn't paying attention when.....”

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