The Hunger Games: A Harrowing Horse Tale

Recently my husband and I had my cousin and her family over to hang out with us here at the ranch.  Of course we had to go horseback riding, so our husbands worked hard to saddle up the horses and get everything ready.  Well they were not ready to get on their horses yet, so Nicolas suggested Bailey and I get on ours.  So we did.  And he did give us fair warning that my horse did not like her horse.  So we stayed away from each other and it was fine.  But I noticed my horse was irritable, and probably hungry, and she wouldn’t cooperate with me.  I stayed on her despite feeling like I couldn’t control her because my husband reassured me it would be fine.  Well… it wasn’t.

Bailey’s horse walked right over to the pasture fence and started kicking the gate.  My horse wanted in the pasture for the fresh hay as well, so she moseyed on over to the gate.  Then Bailey’s horse reared up and kicked the gate so hard a screw popped off and it swung open.  There we went.  Bailey’s horse then mine straight into the pasture.  Knowing my horse didn’t like her horse, I tried to go right while she went left.  Strangely enough both of our horses stopped in easy kicking range, so my horse began trying to back kick her horse.  It was terrible.

But it’s not over.  Nicolas was able to run and grab Bailey’s horse and make her stop moving.  Mine was uncontrollable and because I was tugging on the reigns trying to make her come to a stop, she walked me into a tree.  I grabbed onto a branch, hung on for dear life, and then when the horse walked on I plopped onto the ground (it was a small bendy branch).  So here’s some things I learned from this experience:

  1. When you’re riding a hungry trail horse, be assured she will find some sort of food whether you are on her or not.
  2. When you have that bad gut feeling, don’t ignore it just because your husband said it will be fine.  Go ahead and get off the horse because you may end up in a tree.
  3. If you are between a horse and it’s dinner, choose life.
  4. When you know two horses don’t like each other, for the love of God stay away from those horses.
  5. If you are like me and think horses don’t run/walk and have their rider collide with a tree branch, think again.  They totally do.  But it isn’t a cool huge tree branch or fallen tree in an escape scene like a movie, it’s the only tree in the pasture that has bungee cord branches that when you grab onto it and get pulled off the horse it bounces you hard to the ground on your bum.
  6. When on a horse and presented with the above predicament, check to see if the branch will lift over your head before either being decapitated or bungee bumped to the ground.  That’s the better choice.
  7. When reliving this whole event of your life while watching Heartland, remember that it’s just a TV show and they dramatize a lot with the horses, but hey!  It could happen!

So we ended up OK in the end.  The guys really wanted to go riding so we changed horses and were able to go for a short walk.  It was pleasant enough, except my wounded pride and bum.  As I think about these animals, it gives me a new kind of respect and appreciation for not only them but trainers, experienced riders, and owners who love and take time with their horses.  I think the following scriptures in Job certainly paint a picture of these creatures that I understand better now:

19 Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?

20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.

21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.

22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.

23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.

24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.

25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

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