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Horsing Around

 

During 2014, my husband and I went for riding lessons in the suburb of Box Hill, some 42 kilometres (approx. 26 miles) north-west of Sydney in the Hills District region. Once a month, we would pack up our riding gear into the boot of our SUV and make the 2-hour drive from home to the rural outskirts of Sydney.

Our riding instructor, Sandy was a trim, agile woman in her late sixties. She still competed in the local gymkhanas and was sometimes called upon to be a competition judge herself. One of my work colleagues, who was learning the finer points of dressage from her, had directed us her way. Lessons with Sandy included the benefit of her dry wit, keen eye for detail, patience and a no-nonsense approach to horses. "Be firm, but kind", that was her motto.

Sandy was well-respected in the local equestrian community and stabled several horses for other owners on her property. They would let her use their horses for the occasional lesson as it kept their horses exercised and accustomed to being ridden. We learnt the correct way to approach a horse that was several times our size without startling it, adjust the length of the stirrups, the proper way to put a bridle onto a horse and to check if the girth is secure on the saddle. On windy days, when the horses were a bit skittish at every fluttering leaf, we practiced tying knots to secure a horse to the railing, how to get a horse to raise its hoof so we could check for stones and use a currycomb to groom a horse (the horses loved this part).

We loved our monthly hour-long sessions. Shoulders down, back straight, eyes front, heels down, toes pointed straight-and-forward in the stirrups. Sandy would laugh at how I found it easier to keep my seat without stirrups. She made us do that at the start of each lesson to ensure that we focused on our balance. I usually rode Jessie, a pretty red chestnut mare about fifteen hands high. She was easy to mount with the help of a tree stump. But I found her trotting rather choppy and it took a few tries before I could get into sync with her gait. I just wasn't very good at trotting.

Ellie was my husband's regular mount and she was a sweet-natured Aussie draught (draft) horse. I think she had some Clydesdale (like the Budweiser ad) or Shire, crossbred with a bit of Thoroughbred thrown in. She was a big beautiful girl, with a dark glossy bay coat, about 19 hands and taller than his 6' 2" build.

One day, while Jessie was away with her owner, my husband and I had to share Ellie for the day. After dainty little Jessie, Ellie was HUGE to me. As I'm only 5'1", she towered high above me. I needed to climb up the 2 steps on a proper mounting block just to get into the saddle.

It was strange at first sitting astride Ellie; I felt very, very far from the ground. Her back was much broader than I was used to and my legs didn't quite wrap around her sides. Still, Sandy insisted I had to do my usual circuit around the paddock, hands on head, feet out of stirrups. Sandy held the lunge rope to lead the horse around - it was safe enough.

After a while, I felt really comfortable on Ellie and began to enjoy myself. Her stride was long, flowing and smooth. It was like sitting in an armchair, while being moved around. I closed my eyes and let myself settle into an easy rhythm, moving with the swaying gait of the horse.

Sandy was quite pleased with my progress that day. She said that my seat had improved and my back was nice and straight. I preened a little at that. Our riding instructor doled out praise with a sparing hand. If she was happy - that was rare and good.

When my lesson ended for the day, Sandy asked my husband to stand next to Ellie and help me dismount. It is the usual practice to dismount from the left. But for some reason, he stationed himself on the right side of the horse. I hadn't heard what Sandy said, so I didn't realise that he was meant to be there for me.

Before either of them could stop me, I swung my right leg over Ellie's rump, took my left foot out from the stirrup iron and promptly released my hold from the pommel of the saddle -

It was a long, loong, looong way down.

A strange calm settled over me and I heard a quiet voice in my head reminding me to stay calm and relax. I breathed in deeply, exhaled again slowly and a curious melting sensation went over my limbs. It was as if my body suddenly went "boneless".

Remember the expression: "Time seemed to stand still"? Those seconds felt as if they stretched like a rubber band into several minutes. It seemed to take a fair while to touch the ground.

At length, I landed on the hard-packed sand of the riding paddock. My right shoulder took the main impact of my bone-jarring fall.

Two pairs of dark hairy hooves as large as saucers appeared right in front of my startled eyes. I distinctly heard the urgent command: "MOVE!"

Without thinking twice about it, I tucked my arms and legs into a ball and immediately rolled away. A moment later, those great iron-shod hooves stamped restlessly with a resounding thud-THUMP.

My husband and Sandy frantically rushed up. Sandy quickly secured Ellie while I took my husband's offered hand. I got to my wobbly feet and gingerly checked that all my parts were still in one piece. A fall like that, when a person's on the wrong side of 50 years, was not to be taken lightly.

My right shoulder ached. I carefully rotated the joint. To my relief, there seemed to be no problem with movement. Sandy and my husband were fully expecting that I would have suffered a sprained or fractured limb.

'It's a miracle,' they both declared to me.

As I rubbed my sore shoulder, I ruefully thought of the proverb warning us that pride and a haughty spirit go before a fall. But still, I was fortunate that a caring spirit had been watching out for me.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Jubeele, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
 
18 hours ago (2017-12-11)
Oh no, Fergie! How awful that you were hurt. That was my fear when I fell from Ellie. Strange how quickly the thoughts flashed through my mind at the time. This makes me appreciate my fortunate save even more.

I hope those injuries are completely healed now and they don't give you any trouble. Do take care and thanks for your good wishes. ❤
Fergie (37 stories) (1116 posts)
+1
1 day ago (2017-12-11)
Jubeele, I loved this account.

I am so glad you never suffered any damage; you are luckier than I. I think my guardian angel was AWOL the times I came off our horse. A broken arm the first time, then two fractured ribs (at the back) with two vertebrae displaced.

You were so lucky to have a caring spirit guide and protect you. May it continue to do so. ❤
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
 
5 days ago (2017-12-07)
Hi RedWolf, that poem from Val is truly something special. You should try reading it aloud too. 😊

I'm so sorry to hear about the trouble with your back and its impact on your lifestyle. It sounds like you've got a terribly painful condition. Do take care of yourself.

Health woes have slowed me down quite a bit too in recent years. Not sure when (or if) I can risk riding again. My doctor still wants me to lose more weight. I suppose that means I'll have to eat a few less pot stickers (noooo)...

Thanks for sharing your lovely, funny memory about your mother's beach ride. A photo would have been priceless. I bet that sand got showered everywhere! 😁
RedWolf (28 stories) (1257 posts)
+1
5 days ago (2017-12-07)
val
I loved your poem, it was awesome.

I haven't been on a horse in years. Because of my back needing fusion repair I may never be able to ride again.

I do have a very funny story about my mother when she went riding with my youngest sister on a beach. I had advised her to make sure to keep the horse's head up because they love to roll in sand. Well when they got home my mother said to me you b!tch the horse did exactly what you said it would do. My sister starts laughing as she says you should have been there when mom jumped off of the horse. At that point my mother starts laughing and said that someone should have had a camera to take a picture of her trail guides face. She was asked how she knew to jump if the horse got it's head down and my mother just said another daughter told her.

Red
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
 
6 days ago (2017-12-06)
Hi Bart, riding is great fun, but when dealing with animals bigger and a lot heavier than ourselves, there's always the element of risk.

The height of a horse is measured in "hands", a hand is about 4 inches. So Jessie at 15 hands was about 5 feet tall, when measured from the ground to the withers. That's about 1.52 metres. Close to my own height. So Ellie at 19 hands was 6' 3" or 1.93m. A very big horse. I enjoyed riding her but it was getting off that was the problem!

Thanks for reading my account. 😊
BART43 (2 stories) (9 posts)
+1
6 days ago (2017-12-06)
What an experience. I never rode a horse before. Never get close to one infact. Never knew the danger like that. Luckily nothing bad happen. Lucky for that warning also.
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
+1
1 week ago (2017-12-04)
Wow, that's some amazing ride, BGP. Glad your adventure ended with thrills and no spill. Thanks for sharing your experience too. ❤

Val sure has some great stories on her website. 😁
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (384 posts)
 
1 week ago (2017-12-04)
Val- That is an awesome poem! It gave me goosebumps and I felt like I was watching the whole scene play out! Thank you so much for sharing it! ❤ 😊
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (384 posts)
+1
1 week ago (2017-12-04)
Jubeele- This is a great read. It took me back to my first time on a horse. My brother had a friend that invited him to go riding and he took me along. I'd never been on a horse and the closest I'd come to one was passing by them in their pastures as we my mom drove down the rode.

We get there and his friend asked if I'd ever been riding before and I told her no. So she goes in the barn and leads out the biggest horse she had. My little 10 year old mind is thinking, "what the hell!". I almost didn't get on him but she said. "he's very gentle".

So we start down the trail, fairly flat with lots of oaks and dried up pasture land. Out of the blue, I hear "HANG ON" and my horse bolts! I hunkered down, squeezed my legs tight and grabbed his mane, which of course only made him go faster, but how was I to know that!

I could hear the five riders behind me yelling and their horses running after me but for some reason, I wasn't afraid. Then I heard, "left-left-left". I pulled his mane to the left and he starts heading for an oak tree and just as I thought we about to crash into it, he slows and comes to a dead stop.

The "friend" catches up and starts yelling at me about everything I had done wrong and I looked at her and said, "I told you I'd never been on a horse!" She was so mad and ended the excursion.

Strangely, the next time I got on a horse, about 5 years ago, it was like I'd been riding all my life. Guess I knew what NOT to do! 😜
MrRiggs (4 stories) (30 posts)
+1
1 week ago (2017-12-04)
Jubeele,

Thank you for your gracious and informative response to my question.

I lived and worked in Asia for years, from Turkey in the west to Bali in the East, with many stops in between. It was also my lot to spend considerable time in Central and South America, Africa and Europe. The Middle East and the Caribbean were also home at times. I have been exposed to many cultures and belief systems.

In short, I agree with you that there is not a global "one-size-fits-most" answer to the question I asked. I was, however, curious regarding your own opinion about who came to your aid.

Nearly 50 years ago I encountered an entity who sought to warn me when I was on a fool's errand. I resisted and paid a high price for my folly. I will publish my own account on YGS soon, so that readers can better understand what is possible.

One thing I am certain of is that there is someone, or some thing, that may provide help when danger arises. I may never find Truth about anything, but I will continue to look for credible answers about who steps in to help people in urgent need.

Jubeele, thank you once again for your well considered response. I do appreciate your words of wisdom.

MrRiggs
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
+1
1 week ago (2017-12-03)
Dear MrRiggs

"Who is it that watches over us constantly, or at least in times of danger?" I do not feel there is a succinct 'one-size-fits-most' homily that can answer your question.

I feel that every person's spiritual path is unique. We all seek the Truth in our own way. As individuals, our needs differ, which is why there are so many interpretations of the truth. Our abilities and gifts are different as well; that is why some individuals have spirit guides whose voices they clearly hear, others have the sight and can "see" their guardian spirits. Others simply choose to close their hearts and minds.

I grew up in SE Asia in the 1960s, amid a mix of cultures and religious beliefs that are somewhat closer to the elemental spirit world. My parents, despite their Western education, still retained many Chinese/Malay/Thai traditional beliefs about the spirit world and how to co-exist with them. It may well be that my guardian spirit or spirits could be my father, paternal grandmother, mother-in-law or a friend. I've had vivid dream visitations from each of them over the years.

My experience in "Horsing Around" was unusual for me as I've never before or since heard a Voice so clearly telling me what to do. I can't remember whether it was male or female. I've always sensed emotions more clearly than I can "hear" or "see". Some may say God or some divine presence was watching over me at the time, others may say it was inituition or simply a hyperactive imagination. Whatever the reason, I'm grateful and feel fortunate not to be seriously injured. I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth (pardon the pun).

Perhaps you might find something that will resonate with you in some of the experiences from valkricry, rookdygin, Manafon1, RedWolf, Tweed, Fergie etc. These are but a few of the many YGS members who have shared with us over the years.

Thank you for your kind comments on my experience. I wish you well on your search and your personal journey.
MrRiggs (4 stories) (30 posts)
 
1 week ago (2017-12-03)
Jubeele,

What you have described - the helpful intercession of a spiritual being - is troublesome to me. I too have experienced help from beyond and that phenomenon is one of the reasons I joined YGS.

Who is it that watches over us constantly, or at least in times of danger? A random, helpful passing spirit seems unlikely, as that would simply be good fortune or luck. More likely there is someone who watches over us. But who? Is there truly a guardian angel, a spiritual overseer or helpmate? Or is it a so-called spirit guide that helps us along as we make our way through the trials of our lives?

Not that I expect you to have the answers to these questions. Perhaps someone here has a bit of helpful insight.

Thank you for taking the time to tell us your story. It is a sterling example of help from beyond.

MrRiggs
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
 
1 week ago (2017-12-02)
Ow,ow,ow...<wincing> Val, that's a looong way down for a 9-year old.

Charlie the Wonder Horse! He made it all an awesome adventure for you. I think I'd have loved riding him too (just the right height).

I loved your poem - it just grabbed me along for the ride. You've got a great mastery of free verse along with the use of mixed rhyme. I read it aloud to my husband - sounds even better that way. Poetry's meant to be read out and shared with others.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us too. 🐎 🏇 🐎
valkricry (39 stories) (2771 posts) mod
+3
1 week ago (2017-12-02)
Jubeele,
Yes, directly under. I was riding double with my kid sister behind me that day, when she decided she'd had enough and wanted off - without warning. Somehow our legs got tangled - I don't remember exactly how she did this or why, but it pulled me off sideways and I landed with my head under Charlie. I must have rolled onto my back on impact. I do recall staring blurry eyed at the bottom of that hoof. I do vaguely remember Charlie reacting to the sudden shift of weight, as horses do. Which is probably how my head got beneath his hoof instead of behind his legs, I remember folks yelling and running to my aid - sort of. I was 9 years old at the time, so it's a really old memory, and you know how those can be. Lol
The wild ride - now that was something! I wrote a poem about it, in a forum I have. If interested, you can take a look; http://threepawssaloon.activeboard.com/t27824159/charlie-and-me/
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
 
1 week ago (2017-12-02)
Val, I still find it incredible that I went home without a bruise. Ellie was a beautiful ride, but a very big girl for us "shorties". 😜

You fell beneath the hooves? How terrifying! I'm glad Charlie was a proper gentleman with you and stopped himself. I hope you weren't hurt on that wild ride.

It's been a while since I last got in the saddle. I love riding but it can be a dangerous activity. ❤
valkricry (39 stories) (2771 posts) mod
+1
1 week ago (2017-12-02)
Jubeele, I too learned to ride on a horse like Ellie, and your story caused memories of Charlie to prance through my mind, especially the time I fell beneath his hooves, and the time he took me for a wild ride. Neither were paranormal, in my case - I don't think. But, I can truly appreciate how you felt up on the back of such a huge beast. (I'm like 4'10", btw, and back then even shorter.) You are so fortunate to have listened to that voice! Intentional or not, head being stepped on? Painful! (Nope, Charlie did not step on me. He actually froze mid-step, somehow sensing I was there, but I well recall how that hoof looked, poised over my face!) I'm so happy you weren't hurt!
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
+1
2 weeks ago (2017-12-01)
Dear Melda and lady-glow, the system has told me I can't vote for either of you at the moment. You'll have to take hugs and kisses in lieu. 👐 💋 🤗
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
 
2 weeks ago (2017-12-01)
Lady-glow, it was such a "Touched By An Angel" moment. I'm happy that the only thing really hurt was my pride. The fall didn't deter me from riding. I did progress to be able to ride without the baby lunge rope. I still think that horses are beautiful animals. They also have very big hooves.

Oh, this is just for you:
"Horses sweat,
Men perspire,
Ladies glow."

So happy I can share this experience with you. 😁
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
 
2 weeks ago (2017-12-01)
Melda, I now know what "preternatural calm" means. That calmness was the strangest thing of all. Maybe because it all happened so quickly I was in a state of semi-shock. I didn't feel frightened until we got home and then I went, yikes!

That still, small voice is quite something. It happens more often than people realise.

Great to share this horsey tale with you. ❤
lady-glow (8 stories) (1621 posts)
+1
2 weeks ago (2017-12-01)
Jubeele - Wow, that was a close call! I'm glad to know it didn't go further than a dusty pride. Thank goodness for guardian angels.

Thanks for sharing this wonderfully written experience. ❤
Melda (9 stories) (717 posts)
+1
2 weeks ago (2017-12-01)
Jubeele - How fortunate you were! Just one knock from one of those hooves to a sensitive spot on your body could have caused a lot of damage.

It's amazing how often people are warned by a voice, a push, or a pull, which are life-saving.

Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your story 😊

Regards, Melda
Jubeele (5 stories) (330 posts)
 
2 weeks ago (2017-12-01)
Emma, by the time we got home, my shoulder had stopped aching. Not even a bruise from the experience. Such a strange, happy save - not to be taken for granted. Thank God for guardian angels and other benign spirits.

Glad you enjoyed it. 😘
EmmalineTexas (8 stories) (109 posts)
+1
2 weeks ago (2017-12-01)
Jubeele - What a wonderful story. I'm glad that your guardian angel was working overtime that day. 19 hands is a huge horse. She sounds beautiful. I'm sure she wouldn't have tried to hurt you but she could have trampled you very badly. It's nice to know you're being looked out for isn't it? Sorry that you took a hard fall, but I'm glad that you were guided to be kept safe from her hooves. ❤

Emma

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