One sunny morning in August, everywhere was so quiet, so peaceful, an absolutely perfect morning for our regular ride out. I loaded my car with saddles and bridles and called to pick my friend up, Sundays were the day we looked forward to, we had decided weeks before to start out early in the morning to avoid busy traffic.
The aim was to have a quiet ride out to help my horses get used to traffic, the road directly from my stables is a very busy road, but with starting out early in the morning we had many lovely rides, having a chat along the way and laughing at the cheeky antics of my boys. We always had ourselves and my horses kitted out with all the hi vis kit that we could wear, I am a firm believer that this is a priority for every horse and rider when out and about. In fact I think this should be made a legal requirement to always wear hi vis when hacking, as a rider and a driver on the road I have noticed the difference this makes with regard to the visibility aspect and I feel you do get more respect and consideration from drivers if you make the effort to be more visible.
There seems to be many opinions about roads today and horses being ridden on them, I can see this from both sides really, the roads are so busy nowadays that the level of stress that horses are expected to cope with is really quite extreme, but very few riders have the opportunity to ride without using the roads. In an ideal world I would love to live near to bridle paths and farm rides galore, but as with the majority of horse owners this is not the case. As a driver I can see how horses on the roads is a concern, the unpredictability of a potentially scared animal having to cope with often huge amounts of traffic, coupled with the sometimes inconsiderate drivers that don’t slow down is a cause for concern, especially if you are confronted with a horse that is reacting badly to traffic and even bolting. I have experienced both sides of the coin and can understand the different view points from riders and drivers alike.
My Sunday morning ride in the sunshine turned out to be not at all the sort of ride I would like to repeat, we were happily hacking along a quiet country road when all of a sudden what felt like a nightmare started to happen. Alpacas ran at the hedge, trying to throw themselves over into the road and spitting at the horses, my boys have never encountered anything like them before and they were honestly terrified, they both bolted full force down the road away from the Alpacas, my horse that I was riding cut my other horse up into the hedge and luckily my friend managed to dismount safely, I on the other hand did not. We were racing down the road, I was doing my best to keep him in on the left side of the road in case we encountered any traffic, something else caused him to shoot across the other side of the road towards a stone wall, somehow my rein broke and I flew off backwards, somersaulted through the air landed on my head and smashed my back and left leg up, I was unconscious for four minutes and for the next few days I didn’t know who I was or who anyone else was either, life had been turned upside down.
My friend Emily called an ambulance, looked after me the whole time and caught my boys, kept them safe and took them back to the stables for me. My story could of been so different if I didn’t have such an amazing friend with me on that day, please do not underestimate the importance of having a great friend with you while out riding, you look after one another, that’s what friends are for. I can only hope that Emily knows I would of done the same for her without hesitation and seriously Em if you ever read this, I can never thank you enough, My boys and I owe you so much xx
I am now recovered, I had a fractured skull and couldn’t walk for around two weeks, my family were amazing looking after me and my boys, I am now back riding and enjoying life again.
The title to this page is ONE IN A MILLION… and basically that is what I think of my friend xxx
I hope you all have many, many lovely rides and I am sure you will, but please always try to be safe, wear Hi Vis for yourself and your horses and ride out with a friend, you will then be able to look after each other and have fun together. xx