When I was twenty-three, on vacation in New Zealand, I was thrown from a horse. Not thrown, actually. I fell off. Slid off. But it sounds better to say thrown. More badass and athletic.
We’d decided to go on a guided horseback ride, my sister and brother-in-law and I. Our other choice for the day’s activity was to swim with seals, but that was more expensive, or all booked up, I can’t remember. The horseback ride was pretty, the horses walking and trotting and cantering, just for a quick minute, on trails through low hills in countryside that looked a lot like the Pacific Northwestern United States, where I would move four months later, though I didn’t know it yet. Despite my general fear of horses, I had a good time.
At the end of the ride, the guide’s horse walked over to a field by the little hay barn where we’d started, and stopped. My sister’s horse did the same, and then Andy’s, with mine bringing up the rear. Only mine didn’t stop at the field like the other horses. He steered left, aiming for the pile of hay outside the barn. I was hungry after our long ride, so it made sense that the horse was too, given that he’d done all the work. I let him walk over to the hay pile, where I figured I’d dismount with the same grace the guide had dismounted from hers.
Only he didn’t stop. There was another horse over by the stable, eating her own hay, and my horse, due to a horse-crush or the desire to have the hay piles all to himself or I-don’t-know-what, ran at the other horse. A short chase ensued, the pursued horse bolting for the little hay barn, and my horse following at a gallop. Continue reading