As our second trail ride of the summer approached, I couldn't find any open trails within reasonable distance. All the State and County park trails were closed due to excessive rain. Just as we were about to cancel our plans, an opportunity to ride on private trails came up. It was further then we normally drive for day trips, but we agreed to meet up.
It took us longer then expected to get there. By the time we arrived, the group of 5 we were meeting were chomping at the bit to head out. We quickly tacked up and headed out, onto a road. I must add, I hate road riding! On a horse, on a bike, walking - doesn't matter. If I am not in my truck, I don't want to travel on any roads. Too many unsafe drivers. I was forewarned we had to cross a highway to get to the trails. The farm we were visiting is on a County Hwy. I assumed that was the road, it would be no big deal to cross. I was wrong. I had NO idea the road we had to cross was an extremely busy four lane highway *gulp* with a median strip, and speeding vehicles approaching from around blind curves on both sides! We stuck together, and made it across safely.
It wasn't too much longer and we found ourselves on trails in an area of WI with terrain that had a hint of Colorado, especially the crystal clear long streams. It was stunning and beautiful, until it wasn't.
There were rock bed water crossing around every bend. We had only been riding in the woods around 15 minutes when the third water crossing we came upon had a wide waterfall type drop off (5"?) that you couldn't get around. Five riders before me navigated it just fine. They went across the low 1-2" stream, took one step down, crossed more stream, and back up onto the wooded path. The horses before me went one by one. Koda stopped at the top of the step down, and dropped his head to look. I gave a gentle encouraging bump with my legs, he did what I asked and stepped off...the rest, is nothing but a blur.
In a nano second I found my self vertical with the horn inches from my face. I tried to reach for it, but after a brief suspended moment realized "uh oh, I am going to fall". I slid 'er fell off to the right, into the stream. Landing hard onto the rock bed, shoulder first. I heard someone scream. I remember yelling whoa! Think Brad did too, and then called Koda. I instantly stood up and said "I am okay". I didn't hit my (helmet-less) head. There I was stunned, standing in a running stream with one sock foot, soaked from shoulder on down. My boot had fallen off to the left of Koda. I watched my petrified boy as he walked back up the drop off, to Cierra. Thank god Koda went to the left, or he would have crushed me.
No one saw what happened, until we were mid air. The gal two horses in front of me heard scrambling, turned and saw Koda do what she called "a lippizanner jump". Brad was behind me working with Cierra in the stream, and looked up to see us in mid air. He thought I had it when Koda jumped. Me too. Clearly I didn't. I was completely stunned. What the hell just happened?? My shoulder hurt, but I hurt much worse for my horse. Who willingly did what I asked, and now his lower legs were cut up. Two of them were bleeding, one more then the other.
Brad & I switched horses. He splashed cold clear water on Koda's legs. It took Brad a lot of coaxing to get Koda to step down that drop off again, this time in hand. He didn't appear lame, so we continue on with the group.
My heart was in my soggy boots. I wanted to go back, and be done with this ride - but I kept my mouth shut & sucked it up. We rode on for around 3 more hours. After a few more in hand water crossings, Koda was able to get his mind back and ride through them. I should have, and wanted to be the one to help Koda through this. But I was injured, and did what I felt was best for my horse. Brad rode him the rest of the ride.
Cierra took good care of my broken self. I was worried sick about Koda, the entire ride. We kept a close eye on him. He never showed any lameness. Brad & I rode side-by-side most of the remaining way. I love my hubby so much! Such a good guy, he knew I was hurting. Our friend also stuck nearby much of the ride, trying to cheer things up. Meanwhile the others loped their horses silly, back-n-forth. I will keep my opinion to myself for now on that subject. Especially considering we had young minds on the trail, both horse & human. I'll just say, to each his own.
I tried to enjoy the beauty that surrounded us, as I came to grips that things could have been much much worse. I am thankful to be alive. We made it back across the busy highway, to the trailer. Rinsed & wrapped Koda's right front and headed home.
The trails we traveled on last Sunday are ridden frequently by area riders with permission from the farmers that own the combined acreage, including the rock bed stream. We rode just a tiny portion of these beautiful hidden trails. The prairie paths were mowed, the huge oak pastures had worn paths, and the beautiful wooded area trails were cleared. On hot days, the host said they ride the length of the winding varied stream. I would too.
To this day, I cannot figure out what I could have done differently to prevent the accident (other then not fall). Am I that bad of a rider? I know I am not. I must have bad luck? I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but why is it always me?? Our trainer reassured me, sometimes things just happen. For no reason.
...to be continued...
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