Written & Illustrated by Melanie Eberhardt
I fell off my horse. I hurt. Worse than the pain – I won’t be riding anytime soon. My doctor made me pinky swear to stay off horses for 6-8 weeks, then for good measure, wait 4 more weeks. So… I find myself with a lot of free time.
I’m making good use of it! I am getting really good at killing zombies on my phone. I have mastered the art of cooking paper-thin crepes (yummy with fresh strawberries). I clean every dish immediately after use, much to the dismay of my bad cats who troll the sink to lick scraps off the plates. I’ve watched all my DVD’s from A to Z, then Z to A. I heaped all my socks on the bed and matched pairs. Oddly, I still have half a heap of singles, but that’s a problem for another day. I’ve thrown my dog’s tennis ball a million times – he never gets tired of it. You get the idea, I have plenty of time to take care of mundane things and to think. I spend an inordinate amount of time on a particular topic, the one that has most affected my routine – that fall off my horse.
I’ve replayed my fall over and over. Actually, I’ve replayed every fall I’ve ever taken off a horse, repeatedly trying to identify a common cause (sadly, me). My life time of spills have helped me devise the following theories about horse falls, most specifically the after affects. To best explain them I draw parallels from every day objects.
Object: Tennis Ball
Condition: Horse Fall
I started falling off horses when I was a kid. I fell off a big bay when I started taking riding lessons. Apparently he didn’t approve of my technique – everyone’s got an opinion! Then there was the red roan mare from overnight camp who scraped me against a tree then ran off down the trail. She never even looked back.
Though the horses were much bigger back then (relatively speaking) and I had farther to fall, I never really got hurt. I hit the ground and bounced like my dog’s tennis ball. Maybe I needed a Band-Aid but most damage was confined to my young ego because of course I always fell in front of a bunch friends who laughed and laughed.
Object: TV Remote
Condition: Another Horse Fall
Age: Adult (25 to 49)
As an adult, the horse falls continued but now I fell off my own horses. (like that makes a difference?) My first fall off my gelding was a header when he refused to jump a tiny creek. He refused UNTIL all the horses in front of us disappeared around a bend in the trail at which point he leapt that creek like someone lit a firecracker under his A##. He ran to catch up with his friends. Déjà vu, I was abandoned once again on a trail.
Like the TV remote I dropped on the floor last week, I hit the ground a little harder as an adult. I chipped a corner and my batteries fell out. But a little duct tape, a couple stitches and I was good to go.
Object: An Egg
Condition: The Final Horse Fall (I hope)
I’m now over 50 and not yet done falling off horses. My recent folly resulted from an embarrassingly, inconsequential happy buck. My horse loves ground poles and at the end of a successful trot over about seven, he gleefully gave a teeny, tiny happy buck. I shot straight up in the air about 60 feet. By the time I came back down, he had already finished his ride, untacked himself, had a carrot and gone back out in his pasture. You guessed it – my horse was not under me and I landed on wet sand. (wet sand = cement).
Falling after 50 brings a whole new perspective to pain and recovery. The act of falling is the same, but how our older bodies react is completely different. Even a small fall hurts more. Our older bodies are less resilient and slower to recover. My parallel is simple and true. I am the egg I dropped on my kitchen floor this morning. The egg that went SPLAT!