Thankfully, I did.
I went on a nonchalant trail ride with some barn friends this afternoon. It was very windy and I requested that we keep it slow, because this would only be Harley's second ride since being well. And we did keep it slow. The ride was uneventful with minimal trotting and mostly walking along very familiar terrain. Harley led for most of the trip and did a cute, little trail trot. I could sit it like a cowgirl and pick our way around trees and puddles. I did not want to foster an exciting atmosphere since the wind was kicking up and some horses find this tempting for naughtiness. Somewhere in the second half of the ride, we switched position and a different horse was in the lead. We all decided to trot and before we really got anywhere there was a thunder of hooves and a yell to stop. Just as we halted I heard the characteristic thud of someone biting the dust. Although I do not hear that sound very often, it always makes my hairs stand on end. Is the rider okay? Who fell?
I turned around to see that my friend behind us had fallen and this was a surprise, because she has the calmest trail horse in the bunch. He is absolutely reliable and steadfast. She was probably the last one that I expected to see on the ground. Thankfully, all of us stopped our horses right away, so there was no danger of her getting run over and she was wearing a helmet (We ALL do, EVERY ride.). Another friend was already off her horse and crouching over the fallen rider. Meanwhile, I turned my horse to block her mount and grabbed his reins.
My friend on the ground was mostly okay, but reported that her ankle was hurt almost immediately. I suggested that she just be still for a moment and rest before she moved. You always want to take it slow, just in case something else is hurt. After we all stood our horses and chilled out for a minute, she sat up and found that she could not put weight on her ankle. Something was definitely wrong.
I have a nice little inside pocket in my riding jacket that is perfect for a cell phone. I try to remember to always keep my phone in this pocket when I am working in the barn, riding in the ring, and especially out trail riding. My previous riding jacket actually had the label "phone" on the same inside pocket. I thought that this was a nice safety hint for anyone purchasing the jacket.
I handed my friend's mount to the dismounted rider who was assisting her and I pulled out my cell phone and thumbed through the contacts as quickly as I could. I called the barn owner and, thankfully, she was still home. We told her we were going out, so she knew that a call from me was probably an emergency. After a quick explanation of our location, she drove the Gator out and picked up our friend, towing her naughty mount alongside the motorized vehicle. We were fortunate to have been in a vehicle-accessible part of the trail and to only have to report a "minor" injury. Of course, my friend did injure her right foot, which means that she cannot drive. Let's hope that she suffered a bad bruise, rather than the other options. Her family came to pick her up and take her to the doctor as soon as they made it back to the farm.
I highly recommend always bringing a cell phone when riding out on the trail. I have heard a few things about the dangers of falling on one's cell phone or the horse being spooked by a ring tone, but I feel that both of these warnings are rare or avoidable: make like the movies and put your phone on vibrate! It is important to have a means to call for help, whether it be from the trail or from the barn, because accidents can happen there, too. Despite our careful, non-yahoo intentions, a fall still happened even on a relaxed trail outing. There have been so many more exciting rides, with lots of trotting and cantering in a big group, that have ended without incident, so you never know when the unexpected could happen. And sometimes the unexpected includes the quietest horse in the bunch kicking up his heels!
I usually ride alone, but I always, always, ALWAYS carry my cell phone. Whether I stick it in a zippered pocket, the top of my half chap (not recommended, but mine are broken-in well enough that if the phone slides down it only ends up stuck on my ankle), or a special case that clips to my belt/boot -- NEVER the saddle, because if you fall off and your horse takes off you're out of luck!ReplyDelete
Now That's A Trot- You make a very good point! The phone should be on the person.ReplyDelete
I'm intermittent with my phone, but mostly because the places we ride don't usually have cell service. Thankfully, the few times I've needed to make a call, I've had the phone, or a friend has had hers. I should probably carry mine more frequently, but it's a habit that I need to make habitual! :0)ReplyDelete
I hope your riding pal is okay and that it's nothing serious!
Thanks! Me, too.ReplyDelete
Scarey. I hope your friend hasn't broken anything.ReplyDelete
Happy New Year!
There is an app you can use called Find My Phone. I think it works sorta like a GPS tracker, and my husband can check up on us online when we ride out. Keeps him happy, and if we don't come back when we say we will and he can't get us on the mobile (because it is on silent) he can come check on us. Pretty nifty.ReplyDelete
boy, I think it's appropriate to say "better to be safe than sorry". I'm glad you had the phone and were able to notify for help, and I hope your friend will heal up quick.ReplyDelete
That also looks and sounds like a pretty neat area for trail riding.
Carol- My friend thought that it did not hurt bad enough for a break, so hopefully she is right. Happy New Year!ReplyDelete
Lisa- That is neat! Maybe my husband should get that one, too.
Thanks, Mary, and a very appropriate saying for any horse outing! It is very pretty here and flat, which is fine. I do not like riding down steep hills. ;)
Carrying your cell phone is always a good idea. Around here we have such spotty reception that I hope if we ever need it that we get a useable signal.ReplyDelete
Isn't that always the way accidents happen. I've been there recently. Hadn't fallen off in about eleven years and then on the quietest safest horse in the barn, he spooks just when I was about to stop and for the first time in my life wound up in the emergency room. Hope your friend isn't seriously hurt and doesn't have a break. Glad all the horses were so well behaved during the excitement.
Grey Horse Matters- I hope you are on the mend (or mended) now. Thanks for your comment!ReplyDelete
Yep I always take my phone although I've learnt not to leave it on my horse . I used to put it in my saddle blanket pocket in case I fell off and broke it ....but one day the horse slipped and fell on her side squashing the phone. When I told the insurance man he was like 'yeah right'. It sounded a far fetched story but was true. Another phone got ruined in the saddle blanket pocket from all the sweat. So I now keep it on me!ReplyDelete
My current phone is on me mostly for the camera. All my blog photos are off it. My blog wouldn't be without it.
Hi Sally- I do not have a nice camera with my phone, but that is another very good reason to carry a cell phone!ReplyDelete
Hope your friend is okay. She's lucky you had your thinking cap on. What did we do before cell phones?!ReplyDelete
I always ride with mine on trail rides, and in the arena too now, since I mostly ride alone there... Definitely in pocket, not on saddle :)
Happy New Year!
Good thing, Calm, Forward, Straight.ReplyDelete
A Happy New Year to you, too!
Cell phones, boots or heeled shoes, and helmets should always be used when riding horses.ReplyDelete
It's been almost a year since Scout fell over on me and broke my ankle. Here's hoping your friend has a less serious injury and heals quickly.
Whoa. That is serious. Horses can fall, too, and with us on them the dangers are exponential.ReplyDelete
Amen to that.
Good point, I've been lax about taking a phone along when I ride Coriander, but now that Gwen is in work I won't ride without it. Accidents happen, especially when you're on a mega greenie!ReplyDelete