The First Time I Fell (Well, Not Really)

By Travis Blink ************************************************************************** I've been riding for a while now, and I've seen some falls. One time, one of my best friend's stepfather took a good nosedive off a horse and went right into a fence. Needless to say, my mom won't let me ride that horse, even though I've ridden her before. Another one would have to be when a fellow classmate fell off a horse named Boomer while cantering. Actually, Boomer was involved in another fall with one of my old classmates. Boomer actually stepped on her in the process. In Boomer's defense, he's actually a very good horse to fall off of. He doesn't run off like other horses, and, according to Maria, he only stepped on her because he had no where else to go. He did it lightly, too. Trail rides are also good places to see falls. Some riders spend so much time to avoid branches and other stuff on the trail, which they end up falling off anyway. I was watching TV the other day and saw a jumper go right over the jump - without his horse. Half of these people had never fallen before. All of my riding teachers had told me that you're not a true rider until you have fallen. Most people I know who ride horses can't forget their first fall. Some speak proudly of it while others shake their heads when they remember the stupid mistakes that caused them to fall to begin with. Mine is different. Most people's stories are meet with laughs or sympathize "Ouch!"s. People debate mine. It happened on a warm fall day. I was about 13 and had been riding for a couple of months now. I considered myself to be good. Not great, but good. At least at the level I should have been at. That Saturday, I was assigned to a horse named Samson. He was rightly named too. He had a long black mane and thick legs. Ever seen a Clydesdale? Samson was a bay Clydesdale. In other words, Samson was huge! I had ridden Samson before and it was always a challenge to mount him. You couldn't mount him from the ground and you can't even mount him from a block. Mounting Samson was involved a balancing act on one of the block jumps. It had rained the night before and the ground was super muddy. I remember coming home with my boots caked in mud. Samson was already tacked up when I got there. The teacher held him while I mounted. I went over to the block jump and put my left foot in the stirrup. I then moved to swing my right leg over. That's as far as I got. As soon as I proceed to swing my leg over, my left foot slides out of the stirrup. I hit the ground hard thanks to my boot being covered in mud. So there you have it, boys and girls. My first fall. Or was it? Sure I fell out of a stirrup, but does it count as falling off a horse? It's a debate for the ages. All I know is, the fall hurt. I remember staring up at Samson's huge legs connected to his huge hoofs and praying to God that he doesn't decide to move. Or pee. After forever (about a minute or so) I got up and after many false starts, I finally got on. And so started my fear of mounting. That, and the fact I wipe my boots off before I mount now.