Well, what turned out to be my last day riding at the United States Pony Club Festival did not go as planned. After the thrill of championships competition, and a Saturday spent eating and sleeping, my daughter and I woke on Sunday raring to go learn stuff. Our horses were up for it, too, especially my mare Sarah, who was beginning to wonder just exactly why I’d stuck her in a box for six days.
Sunday morning we both got dressage instruction, mine a semi-private lesson with Susanne Winslade for 90 minutes. Probably the best dressage instruction I’ve ever gotten, but unfortunately I now have to sit differently in the saddle for the rest of my life and also go back to taking Pilates. It rained during the lesson, and I didn’t even notice, to the extent that later in the day I found myself wondering how exactly my shirt got so wet (and that was before I hit my head!).
My parents had come to watch my daughter and I ride, so I was tickled when my daughter and I got the same cross-country instructor for the afternoon. We were with Erika Adams, and our group had been assigned the water complex first. We tromped through the water, then jumped an easy jump a few strides from the water, then jumped a cross rail on the edge of the water, cantered through, and jumped a Novice jump about 6 strides away.
The Novice jump had been used going in the opposite direction for Championships and so had a pony club banner on what was now the near side. My ordinarily fearless mare either spooked at the banner, or paused to read it. I told her to jump it, and she did, only bigger than usual, so that I got jumped out of the tack.
You’ve been there. We all have. That “Oh Crap” moment when you realize you’re coming off, followed by a remount, some ribbing from your companions, and a do over. Easy-peasy. In fact, whereas I was furious with myself for my near-fall at O’Connor camp, I haven’t been able to muster even a twinge of annoyance for myself or Sarah over this one. It was One Of Those Things. A bounce. Wishful thinking that you could have stuck it.
Except that I apparently landed first on my head. I don’t know for sure, because I got knocked out, and that was followed by a rather confusing time in which my daughter, who’d galloped to my side, insisted firmly that I not try to get up, some EMTs put me on a backboard, and eventually I got a nice ride in an ambulance, sirens and lights full bore, to the University of Kentucky Hospital’s ER.
My mom went with me in the ambulance. I don’t care how old you are, when you’re hurt it’s nice to have your mom nearby. My dad brought my daughter after they’d gotten the horses put away, and he made the nurses bring him a washcloth so he could wash the blood off my face.
I cut the inside of my mouth way down in the crease between my gums and the bottom of my lip. It’s anyone’s guess how that happened. A lovely judge from Midsouth untacked and unstudded my mare (thank you!) and our wonderful partners in crime, the Campbell family, took care of all our gear and brought dinner and ice cream to our hotel room. And after a CT scan to prove I hadn’t really messed with my head, I was discharged with a concussion. No riding for three weeks. Goodbye, River Glen.
But hey. Good thing I was minding my melon, eh? The picture shows my helmet with the brim broken off. Wear your helmets, gentle readers. Accidents happen to us all, usually at the stupidest of times.
For my regular blog readers, #mindyourmelon is Evention TV’s helmet awareness campaign tag. For my Eventing Nation readers, you can check out my regular block here.