My Bucking Horse

I got bucked off today. Hard. The two year old I was riding didn’t appreciate having to work BEFORE breakfast. She let me know just how hard and efficiently she can buck.

Normally, she is a doll. I’ve been riding her for several weeks. And sometimes I forget that she’s young and green. Today, she reminded me.

I wanted to ride before the heat settled in like it’s been doing in the afternoons. So, I climbed on the first horse shortly after eight. He did fine. And the two year old, Remy, watched from the fence. She seemed calm where she was tied, waiting for her turn.

I could tell she wanted to go to the grass, so I just kept trotting her until her head dropped and I felt her body relax. When I asked her for a lope, she kicked up a bit, but that didn’t worry me. I got after her, and boy did she bury her head. The jumps got bigger and stronger.

I stayed on for about six jumps, but by the time the reins were out of my hands, I was way out of the saddle. I hit my tail bone on the horn twice. My legs are covered in bruises and welts from slamming against the saddle, which happens to be my dad’s old saddle, from about 1960.

My biggest worry was getting kicked by her on my way down. I landed face first, wrenching my back and shoulders, and I think I hit my head. I’m still spitting sand out of my mouth, 12 hours later.

When I caught my breath, I looked at the corner of the arena, and Remy was calmly eating grass. She got what she wanted, so she was happy. I wasn’t.

I crawled over to my hat, picked it up, then slowly stood up. My hands shook. My legs screamed. And my pride was gone. Not to mention, my courage. When I thought about it, I realized that had I gotten severely hurt, no one would have looked for me until Sunday, when Garris gets back to my house. I could have laid in that arena for days and no one would have known.

The last time I got dumped by a horse was several years ago, a few months after back surgery. Cy’s calf horse decided to test me, and I ended up breaking a couple of ribs. It was a couple of years before I climbed back on a horse after that one.

Today, I’m more disappointed than mad. I’ve been working toward a goal: trying to get myself ready to compete in breakaway next summer. This feels like a sign that I need to step aside. Quit riding the horses and just be happy being mom.

I’m not sure I want to ride by myself anymore. And I won’t be riding the young horses. I’ll leave them for the boys to deal with. I may even get a couple ready to sell.

It was a long, slow walk to the corner of the arena. I grabbed Remy’s reins, gave her a couple of good smacks with the ends, then walked back to Fritz. I didn’t try to get back on. I could barely walk. Did I mention I think I broke my thumb? Even if I could have gotten back in that saddle, I’m afraid if she had bucked again, I would have gotten hurt.

I texted Garris and Cyris and let them know. Then I tied Remy up, saddled, inside the barn. She stood there the rest of the day. She didn’t get turned out when the other horses did. She went without food all day, and I turned her into a pen about four o’clock so she could drink.

As the day has gone on, my body has stiffened up and ached more each hour. The bruises on my legs are getting more purple and bigger. The welts are turning into hard lumps.

I am thankful that all I have are some bumps and bruises. But now my confidence with the horses is gone again. I had been building it up all summer. I felt good on Remy, and the other horses. I felt like some of the old ‘me’ was returning. Now, I’m ready to accept being a spectator.


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