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The Horse Lover's Blog

"Do You Remember Your First Fall?"

Someone in the audience at the Burlington Book Festival asked me, apropos of Bramble and Maggie, Spooky Season, if I remembered my first fall off a horse.
Yes. I don't remember why I fell; probably the saddle slipped, because that horse, Scamper, was a master at bloating. I remember exactly where it happened, in the hayfield, and I remember that jolt, and being afraid for the first time of getting on a horse. And I remember learning, that day, that "if you fall off a horse, you have to get right back on." It was startling to a six-year-old. When had I ever been told something like that before? Who made up that rule? Was I brave enough to really do it? I didn't think so, but of course, because I had parents telling me I had to, I did. I remember the shaky triumph, the sense that I'd just overcome one of life's hurdles. It might have been the first time I ever felt that way.
Now I run my own riding life. I give myself permission to get off if I feel scared, but I think I over-use this privilege. I narrow my horizons, and periodically have to expand them, for myself and my horse. It's a constant dance--and I'm so sympathetic with Maggie, sitting there on the ground, and so grateful to the Brambles in my life who have gently persuaded me that they'll take care of both of us.
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