A couple of weeks ago, I had a disastrous trail ride on John. After a good ride on Remi, I had a bit of time left before heading back to work. I decided to take John on a quick trail ride.
Before I went, I took the Mylar combination bit that had been working so well out of his bridle and put a D-ring snaffle back in. He had been reluctant to take the bit lately. If you have never met John, you need to know he is a mouthy horse, and while he doesn’t bite people, he loves to put things in his mouth. The fact that he did not want to take his bit confirmed my suspicion that I could not fit the Mylar bit properly in any of my bridles. I took the Mylar out at the hold of the NEATO 25 mile CTR for this reason and used the snaffle. A new bridle was coming, and I decided to use the snaffle until it arrived.
The other important thing to note is that I was overtired, which is not a surprising revelation, but proved to be a problem on this day.
We rode up over the top of the hill and as we were trotting in a field along the corn, a six-ounce sparrow flew out of the corn. John hates these sparrows, even though I keep telling him that he could kill the sparrow by swishing his tail. John did his normal spook – leap to the side, spin and run the other way. I was overtired so he caught me unaware and I was leaning to the wrong side. When I tried to stop him with my hands as a last ditch effort, it was as if I had no bit in his mouth at all. I was in the dirt and John was gone. I watched him gallop across the field toward home.
We have ridden this trail so many times; I just assumed he would go home. We weren’t farm from home when I fell. My biggest fear, as I walked back to the barn, was that he would get hit crossing the street.