The Fall
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   26th Sep 2010   •   6,134 views   •   11 comments
On 22 August 2010 I attended a small practice jumping show. After entering my young horse, Moonfire, in the 60cm and 70cm class I took him home to fetch my brilliant little pony, Tempest, for a friend of mine to ride. The theory behind this decision was that I planned to have her enter Tempy in graded jumping, under my supervision of course, since I am now too old to legally be allowed to compete in the 'children' division. I do intend to take Tempy into Junior jumping at some stage, since I'm confident he can hold his own against the horses, but I also don't want to see a top pony go to waste when he could be raking in the ribbons in top-grade pony jumping.

Unfortunately, Tempy is a little less than sane, and there are very few people he will actually jump nicely for. Of those people, there are very few crazy enough to actually try to stay on board my crazy pony when he throws all his weird and wonderful tests at them.

My little friend rode out all of Tempy's nonsense over a long period of time, and the end result is that she can now jump him extremely well, and as such I feel it is time she began competing him.

Tempest jumping a 1,05m parallel
Tempest jumping a 1,05m parallel

The Show

So we took Tempy up to the show, and I let her enter him in the 80cm class. He was very good considering he hasn't been to a show in a while, and had a lovely smooth round. They had one run-out at a big parallel when Tempy spooked at something on the side of the arena, but I feel she handled him pretty well all the same, and I was pleased with the round. After that, I was going to take Tempy back home while my friend jumped her own pony in the 90cm and 1m classes. However, it seemed there were no other entries in these classes, so we decided that for a spot of fun I should enter Tempy and we could have a little showdown. So, having not jumped my pony in weeks, let alone competed on him, I rode my beloved pony into the ring to jump the 90cm course. I didn't have time to jump him in the warm-up beforehand, but my friend had already warmed him up properly and I was completely confident in our partnership, so I figured we would be just fine despite being out of practice. I was right. Tempy flowed round that 90cm course brilliantly! A little excitable, a little fast, but without his hints of insanity he wouldn't be my Tempy. He loved every minute of it! I felt him scuttle slightly at the same jump he refused with my friend, but I held him straight and he took me over. Overall, it was a wonderful course and I came out grinning from ear-to-ear and with a very happy pony strutting his stuff beneath me. Of course, the jumps were nothing to my little superstar and he managed to come away with a win when my friend's pony refused that same jump that had been giving all of us trouble all day.

Tempest jumping a 1,15m parallel
Tempest jumping a 1,15m parallel

The Big Fall

Next was the 1m class. My friend went in first on her pony, but it seems she was feeling a little under-motivated and never got past that awful jump. After watching their performance, Tempy and I rode into the arena. The pony was eager, and I was confident that we were going to have a good round. It started brilliantly! I still remember every moment. The power in his stride, the effortless spring in his jump, and of course, the absolute enjoyment with which he took each step. Tempy was back in his element, and I could not have been happier to be jumping my pony again - and at a more substantial height, too.

Everything was going brilliantly, and even when he dropped a stride at the 4th jump, he still sailed over effortlessly as I had expected.

We were both having such fun out on that course, when suddenly it all took a turn for the worse. Nobody expected it, and nobody could have seen it coming. We approached the jump from a good, powerful canter. We were straight. We had a slightly long stride, but nowhere near as long as the one we'd had into the 4th when he'd jumped perfectly. As Tempy was about to leave the ground, I could feel the beginnings of a perfect jump and I was actually thinking that it would be our best jump on the course. It is truly amazing how many thoughts can go through a person's mind in so short a time. As Tempy left the ground, I became aware that something wasn't right. Then, when he became airborne, I remember thinking "Oh shoot, we're going to fall." Then the ground rushed toward us, and my mind unhelpfully informed me that we were, in fact, falling. I remember hitting the ground, but I was hardly aware of the impact. I felt my face sliding along the arena ground, and I was aware of Tempy still near me. Then everything was still, perfectly still, and I felt nothing but waves of dizziness crashing over me. My thoughts were hazy, and all I remember thinking was that I was so tired, so dizzy, and I didn't want to move. I considered getting up, but it just seemed like too much effort, so I decided to stay still.

Where Am I

I lay there for a minute, feeling like I was dreaming, and then a voice broke through my thoughts and, as though waking up, I grudgingly got to my feet. My memory was hazy then, and I don't even remember leaving the arena. There are steps leading out of it, and I certainly don't remember climbing those. I just remember somebody holding my arm, leading me, and the conversation we were having. In a typical display of lack of logic, I began to stubbornly insist that they let me remount and finish the course. The woman leading me insisted, just as stubbornly, that she had trained as a nurse, and that she did not think it was a good idea. Undeterred I attempted again, calmly explaining how I had to take Tempy over the jump again to make sure his confidence wasn't ruined. Everybody knew that, so why weren't they listening to me? At the time I didn't know. Then they changed tact, and told me that I shouldn't jump Tempy because he was probably sore.

Then I panicked completely, demanding to know what was wrong with him. They assured me that he was fine, but that his neck was probably stiff, so then of course I demanded that they let me see him.

At this time, I found myself suddenly in another room, where they were attempting to clean up my scraped face. When I asked to see Tempy, they told me that somebody had taken him back. This kept me still and silent for a while, since I was trying to puzzle out when there might have been time for somebody to lead my pony back home. After that, my thoughts began to clear again. I remember somebody cleaning the dirt and grit from my face and neck, asking me random questions, and trying to force me to drink a coke. Of course, I was delighted to receive a free coke so I did drink it - despite the fact that it tasted horribly like sand and Savlon. A small crowd had soon gathered in the room, but I mostly ignored them, until I was asked, "How many people are you seeing?" Completely missing the point that they were checking for double vision, I promptly began counting the people in front of me. This brought about a few laughs, and also convinced them that I was near-enough back to normal. So they released me, and I got a lift with my friend's parents back to my plot. When I got there, I went straight off to check on my pony. Typical of Tempy, he had bounced back brilliantly. He had a little scrape on his lip and eye and a very slight swelling on his neck, but he was munching his hay quite happily. I made a big fuss of him, and then I was dragged off back home. It turns out I had a mild concussion, as well as scraping the skin off my chin and throat. I had a swollen lip and a very sore, stiff neck for a couple of days afterward, but overall both the pony and I recovered exceptionally well from a fall that might have ended very badly.

Tempest jumping a 1m parallel
Tempest jumping a 1m parallel on 24 July 2010 - the last time I jumped him before the show.

Back in the Saddle

I went to the horses again the Wednesday after the fall, and of course I insisted on jumping my Tempy pony. Absolutely no harm done. He was bouncy, eager, and leaped over a couple of 1,25m jumps with absolutely no hesitance. So we were both lucky, and we recovered quickly from what small injuries we did have. A few weeks down the line, I was still getting daily headaches, so I was dragged off to see a doctor, who assured me that it was normal to have headaches for up to two months after a mild concussion. As such, I type this now with a rather sore head, not to mention a shortened concentration span - which right now is causing me to want to bring this article to a close so that I can raid the kitchen for cupcakes.

Tempest jumping a 1m upright
Tempest jumping a 1m upright on 24 July 2010 - the last time I jumped him before the show.

My Point

These things happen. Tempy and I were in the middle of a brilliant round, and nobody could have seen this accident coming, yet it happened - and it could have ended badly. Even if you're careful when riding, you are still at risk. This sport is a dangerous one, yet in my opinion, it's worth every minute of it. If you asked me what I'd learned from this fall, all I could say is that I learned that a brain will splatter like jelly if dropped on the floor - and technically I learned that from the doctor, not from the fall. If I were given the chance to ride that course again, I would do the exact same thing. These things cannot always be avoided – such is life.
The Fall
The Fall
The Fall
The Fall
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lifes a risk  
nice story glad u and tempy are ok :)
  20 days ago  •  4,964 views
wow, im glad you are both ok!!! great jumper, both of you!
  20 days ago  •  5,157 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Thanks :)
  20 days ago  •  4,961 views
Dark Star  
You were doing great up to there, did he just not get enough behind the jump? Or what?
  20 days ago  •  4,958 views
Inactive Member  
Wow-really didn't expect that you and tempy would fall!
  20 days ago  •  4,986 views
Castaway Wish  
I had a fall kind-of like that. On my 2nd lesson ever I was riding this advanced horse and near the end of the lesson she spooked and did a side-gallop, then rolled (with me on her!) and rolled on my neck. She rolled again but I had already crawled to saftey. It was amazing that I only had a sore neck.
  20 days ago  •  4,981 views
This looks painful!
Glad to hear you're both okay.
  20 days ago  •  5,054 views
L u n a r  
Tempy is so cute, I love good ponies ( Bad ones... not so much.) Im glad he's okay and you are too, these kinds of things happen in riding though, I once fell off onto my back, on to undrug limestone which resembles cement, when my horse spooked at a golf cart, I don't think I walked the next day. Its just part of what we do.
  20 days ago  •  4,976 views
Wow! Glad both of you were okay! Today I was at a schooling show and the pony I was riding spooked during the jump course, I almost, fell, and was kind-of hanging off his neck, but I got back on and continued...yeah. Hopefully I won't be sore.
  20 days ago  •  4,958 views
Painted Destiny  
Ouch! Glad you both are okay.
  Feb 5, 2011  •  4,965 views
Seven Sins  
o.o your horse is stunning
  Jun 3, 2011  •  4,984 views
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