A sober post today. Last Saturday we had an accident in trick class. One of the rider started a trick, stirrup over the horn, and it started well. The trick involves hooking a stirrup over the horn of a saddle such that the fender wraps around the riders leg. The rider then leans backwards and to the inside of horse as the horse slowly lopes around the arena. As they went around a corner the rider fell out of the trick. The rider ended up head down, very near and slightly under the horses back legs which spooked the horse causing it to break into a run. From where I was standing, in the opposite corner, I could the exact moment when things went wrong. And there was nothing I could do. I watched as the horse started to run and the rider, hanging from a foot trapped in the fender, was dragged more under the horse. I heard the impact of a hoof against bone and was too far away to do anything.
I, along with the others holding the trick tape, dropped the tape and started running for the horse. Instructors and first aid people started running to the gate end of the arena where the horse was headed. There is no way to catch it so I started running to a point where I could intercept the horse. The arena was recently redone to provide a better surface for the horses to run on. While its great for horses, it is really hard to run across when you are wearing boots. I stumbled a couple of times but myself and one of the instructors did manage to get in front of the horse. The horse, who had come off the rail, spun back towards the rail. We watched as the rider swung out from the side of the horse and then fly towards the rail as their foot finally came lose from the fender. The horse was far enough off the rail to allow the rider hit the dirt near the rail and roll under the rail without hitting the rail or its posts. The instructor ran to the fallen rider and I ran to the horse who stopped once the rider had come free.
First aid was there immediately and 911 was called. We got word the next day that the rider was okay. They suffered a head injury, looks like the get hit twice by the horses hoof, and some bad bumps, bruises and abrasions but was in good spirits.
It is a frustrating position to be in when you see something has gone wrong and you know that have no way to get there in time to prevent things from going bad to worse. I thank God for the small miracle that prevented the rider from being much more seriously injured.