Seeing as how my muffin man still is lacking 2 shoes, I'm going to step away from him for a second. As y'all may or may not know, I am the assistant trainer for a local big name trainer. I run her lesson program, coach the IEA team, and do summer camps every summer.
The light of my life, my 9 year old son Kody, is my entire world. He is the reason I get up in the mornings. He is bright, funny, outgoing, and talented. He is more of an artistic/performer type kid as opposed to an athletic kid. He hasn't shown a HUGE interest in horses ... he's enjoyed the few times he's ridden, but the walking down to get the horse, lead them up through the grass, groom, tack up, etc. hasn't been his thing. I haven't pushed him because horses are MY thing, and I refuse to push my dreams/desires etc. onto him.
So, that said, Kody participated in camp this past week. I decided that since he'd been asking to ride again that it was high time I make him learn to do some things instead of the "playing" around with it he had been doing. This week has been great. Monday, he started out hanging onto the front of the saddle at the trot and leaning over like he was in 2 point. By Friday, he was sitting up, hands low on the withers, posting with his heels down and looking pretty darn good! I even had him try a little canter down the long side of the ring; Red is a saint with a canter that feels not too much different than his trot:) Kody told me "No, no, no!" but I convinced him to try, and he nailed it.
Later that afternoon, the kids hopped on bareback. I put Kody on Ducky because he's a pony and has a trot that's smooth as glass. Long story short, I pressured Kody to trot; I ran with him down the long side, he did GREAT, and that was that. As Kody walked away from me, he was trying to fix where he'd slid off to the side a little bit, and started getting panicky. It escalated to him screeching, Ducky trotting, him screaming, and Ducky getting up to a canter than yanking his head down.
I knew he was going off. I steeled myself for it. He was crying and screaming, and then he hit the ground with a sickening CRACK! When he hit the ground with that much of a noise and then complete and utter silence, I sprinted to his side; I've been teaching for 14 years and made the journey many times. But I have NEVER in my life felt like I did in that moment. I'm crying as I type this. By the time I got to his side, he was writing in pain, saying, "MY HEAD, MY HEAD! OWW, THAT REALLY REALLY HURT". I kept a level head, knowing that he's my dramatic child, and assessed his condition. He was really knocked for a loop. I calmed him down, wiped his tears, removed his helmet, and checked him out. I felt reasonably sure he was just fine, so I once again forced him to do something he didn't want to; I put him up on Red and led him a lap around the ring. His instincts took over and he sat up, still weeping as I led him around, and then I let him off.
After he recovered his wits about him and calmed down, we were finally able to go home after the other campers left. He took a shower, and it was like instant transformation. I had my baby back. I have been beating myself up since it happened. I had a nightmare about it last night. Kids fall; it happens. I KNEW that if he was to continue to ride, he would eventually fall off. I'm kicking myself for pushing him to trot. It was NOT my fault that he ultimately fell; it WAS my fault that I made him trot, then he lost his position. It was then just complete and utter panic that escalated into him coming off. I will never push him like that physically, ever again. In the long run, why did I CARE if he trotted right then? He doesn't love horses; he will never ride for the Team in any discipline. I should have just let him do his thing, and I wouldn't be watching him like a hawk right now. I learned a lesson, that's for sure.
Anyway, I'm sorry! Just had to get the incident out of my mind by getting it on the computer screen. I'm so incredibly grateful he wasn't hurt. I'm so grateful I made sure his helmet fit him perfectly. He is taking it easy for a few weeks and not being too adventurous. I love my child more than I love my self, and I will do anything for him. I'm sure I will stop beating myself up soon.