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Fear of riding after my horse tripped

Hi Franklin,

My mare Molly is 18 years old and she is the best horse we have ever owned! I have never been afraid to do anything with her because I trust her completely! I recently started showing her in 4-H and at my last show I was in the ring warming her up at a lope when she stumbled and fell to her knees. She then rolled onto her side and my legs and hips were pinned underneath her. Miraculously, the second she felt my body underneath hers she pulled herself up for just enough time for me to roll out from under her. An ambulance was called because I could not feel my legs.

It turns out I just pulled a few muscles in my leg, and Molly was fine, too. (Luckily she hadn't rolled on top of the saddle!) But Molly has never fallen before; she's always been the most surefooted horse in the world! My Dad thinks she just tripped like people do, but I was wondering what you thought? I'm almost afraid to lope her again. I know that you have to get back in the saddle and I love riding so much! But I'm kind-of afraid that it will happen again.

Before Molly tripped, she had just been taken away from our other horse Jack because I wasn't riding him until later in the day. The two have lived together for 3 + years and they are getting quite "buddy sour." Molly didn't stop whinnying from the second we took Jack to the trailer and she seemed upset. Do you think that had anything to do with it? What can we do to fix it?

Lauren 12 Kansas

Hi Lauren,

You know, the same thing happened to me last summer when I was loping an easy going, experienced reining horse around an arena. She stumbled went down on her knees and rolled over forward nearing putting me right under her roll. It was a potentially dangerous fall. My saddle did not fair up as well as I did. I had some hefty bruises (as did the mare) and she had a very twisted neck. We checked her out and the vet said she would be fine. I was quite banged up and sore for a few weeks. At nearly 60 years of age, I don't heal as fast nor bounce as well as I used to. It was not my horse.

It would be normal for you to have some apprehension. Please don't be hard on yourself for having these feelings. However, just if you are ever in a car accident, God forbid, you might feel apprehensive about driving a car again. But eventually, you will decide to drive. Overcoming a scary and dangerous accident might take a bit of time. But, if you love horses and riding, you will overcome it. Accidents happen all the time. They are inevitable and occasionally unavoidable. I would suggest you ride soon, but take it easy for a while. Don't lope or canter for a while until your confidence comes back strongly. Nothing wrong with trotting and, in fact, it is a better gait to work a horse at anyway. You Dad is probably right that the horse just tripped. It is possible the upset of being removed from her 'buddy' may have distracted her just enough to be a contributing factor in the stumble. But that is really difficult to say for sure. You will get over this and so will the horse. Take it slow and steady for a little while and you will see your confidence in yourself and your wonderful horse emerge in full force again soon.

Thank you for this question. I know others will be inspired to read it.

Sincerely, Franklin

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