Last week I fell off my horse.
Luckily, it’s not something I make a practice of doing. In fact, it’s been several years since I made an unscheduled dismount. What I can report is that the closer you get to age 50, the harder the ground gets! I can only imagine the damage it can do after that. I don’t remember minding so much when I was younger. Heck, I can remember when I used to fall off all the time and I just bounced off the ground and kept on going. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve fallen off horses; it’s an inevitable part of the sport.
It was not a dramatic fall. Yes, I was foxhunting, but I wasn’t trying to jump a four strand wire fence, ford a river or negotiate particularly tricky terrain. Okay, the horse in front of me stopped suddenly from a full gallop and looked like it sat down. While I was watching the horse try to pick itself up my horse stumbled and off I went. It was a spectacular case of paying attention to the wrong thing.
It wasn’t a particularly bad fall. I landed on one of my most padded parts and was on my feet in short order. The tricky part was that I could no longer see more than two feet in front of me; my glasses has broken at the nose piece, leaving both ends on my ears! Given that I am extremely nearsighted, my first thought was that I should walk my horse back to the trailer, retrieve my spare glasses and drive home. But dang it, I was mad. I had driven an hour to the hunt and this fall had taken place less than ten minutes after the first cast of the hounds. I resolutely remounted my horse and — given that he can see far better than I — sent him after the field.
I can’t remember the last time I rode without my glasses. I felt like I was riding through an impressionist painting with lovely soft shapes and no hard edges. I could see well enough to know which horse was in front of me, but that was about it. Footing? Low hanging branches? I’m assuming that my horse was paying attention to the former and I managed to avoid the latter (mostly).
Luckily, this was a territory with no jumps. I’m not sure that I’m brave enough to attempt jumping without my glasses, although it would certainly prevent me from fussing with my horse to find a spot. No, I draw the line at a pell mell gallop through the woods.
I’m glad I finished the hunt. After all, the bruises didn’t show up for another couple of hours (and they were dramatic!) and I didn’t realize I’d pulled a muscle in my shoulder until the next morning. It would have been a shame not to take advantage of the time when I still felt only embarrassment.