Nov 5, 2009

The Fear Factor (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my recent post, The Fear Factor, no incident triggered my fears other than the thought that the horse might rear, buck or bolt and I might die. Thinking back, I’m not sure I’ve ever fallen off Ginger (knocking wood as I type this). I fell off the back of Windy when she did a “sit and spin” when a donkey “hee-hawed” in her face! True story! And my first attempt at riding in an English saddle found me sliding down Daisy’s neck and landing spread-eagle in front of her – reins still in my hand. I took a tumble off Blue when riding him bareback and couldn’t sit his spook. And yet again while bareback, I fell off Butter in front of a school bus full of kids. Most recently and once again bareback, Windy zigged and I zagged and I am still sporting an unhealed tailbone injury from the cold winter ground. I’m pretty sure western saddles were invented for people like me!

The first bad wreck I had was a few years into our horse endeavor. We went on our first organized trail ride and we were such amateurs! John was on a three-year-old and I was on an OTT thoroughbred, Nick. There were a lot of horses – close to 200, if I recall. Nick got very nervous when a buckboard wagon passed us with the chains rattling. I kept him still as best I could until they were out of sight. Then someone (other than me) had an accident. Ribs, shoulder … who knows what, but they couldn’t get back on their horse. So the safety riders radioed for the buckboard wagon to come fetch them. (Big sigh).

Nick heard the chains on the buckboard before he saw it. He started to prance, to spin, and to resist. I pushed him to move forward. Ah, location, location, location…. I was on the side of a hill when I popped him with the reins. He reared up & went over on me, landing on my hip and right leg. And to add insult to injury, he ran off! Although I was stiff and sore for weeks, nothing was broken but my pride. Nick got a new zip code shortly thereafter.

In 2005, I got my first horse related broken bone while I was on the ground. We had ridden that morning & tied the horses to the trailer while we ate lunch. Before the next ride, I approached Blue with fly spray. The same fly spray I had used that morning. The same fly spray we use season after season. But Blue gets funny about things sometime and he took exception to it then. You’d have thought the devil had his tail as he jumped away from the trailer. He hit the end of his rope and all 1,340 pounds of him was coming back down fast. In my scramble to get out of his way, I fell on Ginger, who was tied next to him. She jumped away from me, hit the end of her rope and came back down on my ankle. It was broken. And it was May – the beginning of ride season.

I’ve had other spills at other times. None really memorable until someone reminds me of it. The worst spill I took happened last fall when I took a head dive off the Black Colt. I took a break from riding him afterwards, but eventually got back on him and had some good rides before he went to his new home.

Although the fear has been there and always will to some extent, my desire to ride is and has been stronger than the fear.


  1. My fear is the same but unfortunately I have a very hard time going out to my own horses and riding! I go to the bosses stable and ride their lesson horses just to get time in the saddle and get over the fear. I have only been riding off and on for the last 10 years. My first horse was green and I had a bad back injury that kept me out of the saddle for 3 months then it has just been so hard to ride because I seem to never get a horse that is so to speak bomb proof to get my experience in the saddle. But I have been thrown, bucked and dumped off over 4 times in that 10 year period and last year I ended up in the hospital with a very serious hip bruise that left me using crutches for over 4 weeks and then my siatica nerve on the other side at the same time started up! Not good. I am over 40 and I don't bounce like I would 10 years ago! It is very hard to get past the fear and just ride my own horses! I love them dearly and will not give up so, I go and take lessons and just ride, ride, ride!

  2. Shoofly9:31 AM

    I've been there, too, and truly, your OWN horses are the one hardest to get on. Maybe it's because we have a "history" with them, or because we watch them run and buck and rear in the pasture and envision ourselves on that.

    In the eight and a half years I've owned horses this time around I have had three incidents. I've fallen in a spook once (broken rib), fell during a dismount once, and been bucked off once, all on the horses I currently own. The one I no longer have, who PUT the fear in me, I never got hurt on... but had some close calls.

    There was a time when I would go out to ride and get so anxious I would turn around and go back in the house.

    I still have fear that rears its ugly head every now and again, don't know that I'll ever get rid of it altogether. And maybe that's a good thing, at my age (50's).

  3. Gypsy Girl9:43 AM

    I have been riding sence I was 5 years old. I am now 54. I break my own horses. The fear is called being smart. I have been hurt alot. One time I was breaking a older horse for someone that could not do the job. Me thinking I was {the queen} started.. I had him going so good in 6 weeks I was proud of my self. I was at the local area with a bunch of 4-Hers that I ride with. He started bucking and bucking hard. His head and my head hit. When I came to I had 4 broken ribs and a head aic for 2 weeks. The story is you can never stop thinking about what is going on. I ride every day and will untill I can't anymore. I have broken two horses sence, and love every mimite of riding, but I and always thinking of What could happen. Buy the way I love this website.

  4. I enjoyed your Fear posts, Tammy, but have not felt up to commenting. Sometimes it's so complicated and easier to just slip it all under the rug for a while. I have no answers still, though I do finally have a doable option which I may blog about soon.
    I still want to ride, but know in my heart I need to downsize the possibilities of me getting hurt. If that means finding a new hom for Baby Doll I may have to, but I'm not quite there yet. I don't believe she's a lost case just yet.

    As for me, I just don't feel strong enough to be able to stay on a horse, especially if it spooks.
    I would have been better off with broken bones that a stupid ripped ACL. I had no idea it would take so long to get muscle mass back and to have my knee back to normal. It creaks and pops, and slips around when I walk. And it swells up if I use it too much. So frustrating.

    Time will tell. But I'm still willing to try.


  5. Is it an age thing? Seems like we're all middle-aged. I'm 49.

    My little girl is riding a horse I'm afraid to ride. And the only reason I'm afraid to ride him is because of something that happened 7 years ago. 7 years! And it didn't even happen to me! We had just gotten him. He was a three-year-old with thirty days on him. We had a big round pen but no arena so my husband and I were riding together in the round pen. Just walking and jogging around. My husband was on the three-year-old and I was on my horse. These horses didn't know each other. I don't know what happened because we were yakking but I somehow blocked my husband's horse between me and the round pen fence. I bumped him with my horse and he was caught and couldn't get away and got scared. He started bucking. About a half dozen times, bent in half. I don't know how hubby stayed on. Anyway, that was it. In the beginning, during training, when he was a colt, the horse bucked a couple of times if we didn't lunge him first, normal stuff, but in the last few years I don't think he's ever done it. And I still have that vision in my head of him breaking in half in that round pen. And I'm always scared when I'm riding him!


I am so glad you stopped by and look forward to hearing from you! Do come again.