With horseback riding, it’s not a question of “if” you will fall off the horse. The only question is “when” are you going to fall off the horse. Some horse people even say that if you haven’t fallen off a horse, you haven’t been riding long enough! In my almost-seven-years of being an equestrian, I’ve had my share of falls. Thankfully, most of them have been pretty minor- like falling off a horse at the mounting block (which I have done multiple times…), but there are two times so far where I had a pretty dramatic horse-related accident. The one that did the worst damage to me and to equipment was the great cart crash of 2014, where I managed to destroy an entire breaking cart and make my forehead bleed.
I want to preface this by saying that I believe EVERYONE who is doing something around horses should be wearing a helmet. We wear helmets whenever we ride or drive. I can make an entire blog post about the arguments against helmets that I’ve heard, and maybe I will one day, but I personally believe that a helmet is important whenever a horse is being ridden or driven. In the two accidents I’m about to write about, a helmet saved my noggin from being hurt even worse than it was. Okay, now that I’ve been on my Helmet Soapbox, let’s get into the story.
The Great Cart Crash – October 5, 2014
It was a beautiful Fall morning, and I was in a pretty bad mood. I decided to go to the barn and drive Glory, even though I would have no one to drive with and that makes it a little boring for me. I hadn’t been around horses for very long, but I’d been working with Glory for several months now and had been cleared to drive the cart on my own. So, believing that some horse time would cheer me up, I headed for the barn. After grooming and hitching up the cart, I headed down the fields.
Back behind the arena is a pretty steep hill, but if you stay toward the left side of the property and go through the ditch between the hill and the arena, you will get to a decent-sized flat area that is great fun to ride and drive in. At the time I didn’t like driving in the arena much because I felt like I would crash into the fence all the time, so I preferred to drive out in the fields where I had a bit more space. Despite being with Glory, I still wasn’t out of my bad mood, but I decided to stick with it and work the horse.
We got warmed up in the little red wooden breaking cart, and a little bit into our drive I decided to work Glory at the canter on the flat bit of land behind the arena. We were going around to the right, at a lovely even canter, and suddenly everything went in slow-motion. I don’t know if we hit a gopher hill, or if the tires were too full and bouncy and we just hit a bump in the ground, but suddenly the cart was airborne. The cart, with me in it, bumped and then rolled to the left in mid-air. Both shafts snapped away from the body of the cart and came away as Glory kept cantering on for a few more yards. The cart flipped and dumped me out onto the grass, face-first. I hit the front of my helmet on the ground first before rolling a few feet.
I didn’t lay in the grass for long, got up almost right away because I was worried about Glory. Thankfully, my rock-star driving horse had stopped only a few yards away and was standing there, looking back at me as though to say “Why did we stop? I was starting to have fun!” The only reason why she wasn’t eating the grass, I believe, is because the overchecks were keeping her from doing so. I stumbled over and grabbed her, then took stock of the cart, which was in pieces all over the field. I believe that Kennedy was out of town this day, but her parents were home and we up at the house, so I pulled out my cellphone and called the house to tell them what had happened. I called Kennedy too while I waited for help to come down, and she actually thought I was joking!
In the midst of my frantic phone calls, I noticed blood dripping down above my left eye. I took off my helmet and realized that when I hit my helmet into the ground, the helmet lining had scraped open a spot of skin on my forehead. After Kennedy’s parents got down the field to me, we took the broken cart shafts off the harness and gathered up the rest of the parts, and we all walked up the field together. Below is a photo of what was left of the poor little red cart…
All things considered, this entire accident could have been a LOT worse. Glory wasn’t hurt, and I was only minorly injured. I was sore and had a scrape on my forehead that hurt like hell for about a week, but it would have been a lot worse if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet. The breaking cart did exactly what it was supposed to do- breaking apart if something happens. I got off really lucky. And I’ve been pretty lucky with riding as well, since I’ve only had one really bad fall while riding and one semi-bad fall… but those are stories for another blog post!
Have you seen my merch on Amazon yet?
Birthstone horse shirts are available on Amazon! You can get February-October’s designs on a variety of fits and colors, while taking advantage of your Amazon Prime benefits! I got to see one of these shirts in person just yesterday and I am BLOWN AWAY by the quality. The print looks amazing and the shirt itself is high-quality. Definitely recommend getting a shirt for yourself or someone you know who loves horses through my Amazon shop if you want the best feeling shirt ever!
I will be adding more shirts to Amazon as I can, however the way that this program works is different from other t-shirt storefronts I have. With Amazon, you have only so many design “slots”, and as you sell more shirts you rank up and get more slots. I am currently on the lowest level and only have 10 design slots, so I can’t put up all the months until I open up more slots. This means I have to get more people to buy shirts on Amazon! So if you know someone who would love one of these designs, please share the link with them! I need to sell 7 more shirts before I can get to the next tier, so there’s still a ways to go but I know we can do it.