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For one moment all four feet leave the ground, for one moment we’re flying. Then the first foot touches the ground, then the second, the third, and finally the fourth. Then the moment returns, all four feet leave the ground, and for that moment we are flying. How many times this happens, I can’t say. What I can say is when all four feet touch the ground and then there you flying you feel free from everything, the stress, emotions, burdens, they all seem to disappear, at that moment. To feel the wind ripping through your hair, hearing the horse’s hooves steps as they hit the ground. This is what I look forward to when I ride, this is what I look forward to all day.
Now not all moments can be like this, I wish they were but that’s not the way it works. Maybe for a moment, only two legs leave the ground, the front stays planted to the ground while the rear rises, trying to drive away the threat with its powerful legs. Maybe for that moment the rear stays planted to the earth, while the front rises, the horse pawing at the invisible enemy in front of them. When the horse bolts, you can be going from zero to thirty five mpg in a matter of seconds, dropping the reins and losing all control, hoping that the horse you put so much trust in will stop. About two seconds, that’s all it takes, about two seconds for a horse to stop, that’s as fast as a car, maybe even faster. Many times resulting in you being flung over your horse head. Horses trip just like us. But unlike us, they can be carrying a rider. This is when the fear takes over. This is what I worry about, not just for me, but everyone who rides a horse.
I saddle up my horse, these thoughts rushing through my head good and bad. I don’t know why I am thinking about it I just have a feeling that something bad is about to happen. So I’m not really paying attention to what I’m doing but I’ve done this so many times I’m on autopilot. I put my left leg in the stirrup, swung my right leg over put it in the stirrup on the opposite side. Put the reins in my left hand, and pat the midnight black filly beneath me.
It was a normal day everyone was getting ready for a trail ride, we are in a single file line, some of the horses grow restless tired of looking at the rear of the horse in front of them. Conversation is everywhere covering a wide variety of topics, from politics to recent competitions people have gone to.
“Hey guys, I think we should have a race, I think Pepper will beat all of you today!” Sarah piped up from behind me. Some people groan, she is constantly trying to race everyone, and you can tell that they are tired of hearing it.
“Don’t kid yourself Sarah, we all know Sam’s got the fastest horse around! Even on a good day when our horses are running faster than they ever have, they still won’t catch that fiery filly! That horse is a fat track bully, how she got her name to,” Ben chuckled. He is riding the horse right in front of me.
“I don’t think even Ruffian could catch Pepper today!” Sarah argued.
“Sarah, the matter is not if Ruffian, can catch Pepper, it’s if Pepper can catch Ruffian.” Ben said.
“I still want to try,” Sarah groaned.
“I’ll race you Sarah,” I chuckled. Sarah pumps her fist in the air. We all made are way to a field behind the ranch it is flat completely flat, and there are trees surrounding the perimeter of the field. The grass is about knee length, and there are wild flowers scattering the area. Ruffian whinnies in happiness, I bring her here often so she can stretch her legs when she is still restless.
“To the other side of the field?” I question
“Yeah!” Sarah exclaimed. Ben lines up close to us and counts down
“Okay, ready, set, go!” Ben hollered I kiss at Ruffian and she takes off, Pepper right beside her, their neck and neck. It’s not long before Pepper has left my peripheral vision I turn and see her about three lengths behind us, and the gap continues to grow. Before I know it we have reached the end of the field, I turn around when I was met with the sight of Pepper standing there about three fourths of the way across the field. She is riderless and favoring her front right leg. A few feet away Sarah was lying on the ground unmoving. Without second thought I rush to where Sarah lay.
“Sarah! Sarah! Come on say something!” I holler at her, but she did not respond. I quickly try and find her pulse I find it after a minute, it is slow, and faint.
“BEN!” I cry fear. He looks at me and immediately rushes over.
“She has a pulse. But she needs to get to a hospital! I’ll call you get her back to the ranch now!” Ben helped me put Sarah on Ruffian and me behind her so she is between my arms. Ben nods at me. I squeeze my legs and once again she takes off.
We are rushing back to the ranch it’s a little less than a mile away. I cluck at Ruffian, urging her faster, she listens running faster and faster. Finally, I see the ranch in view, the paramedics where they are waiting for us, so are Sarah’s parents and a couple other people who were around. As Ruffian reaches the medics she pulls up to a stop, the medics race up to us, and carefully pull Sarah off of Ruffian. After a few minutes of them working frantically, I finally speak up.
“Is she going to be okay?” I ask afraid of the answer. One of the medics turns around and address the group waiting behind them, murmuring to one another.
“I don’t know, we won’t know till we get her to the hospital, but it doesn’t look good,” the medic said gravely. At that moment my heart shattered, as I watched them put Sarah in the ambulance and drive off. I turned around my head down I led Ruffian to the stable to un-tack her. The rest of the night was a blur. We all went to the hospital and waited. After three days staying in the hospital, Sarah’s doctor came out into the waiting area they put us in, he simply said.
“She is awake.”