The moments I have felt the least safe, are most somewhat related to horses, and the high probability of sudden injury – or death. 20 years spent in the stables, gets you to plenty of not so safe situations. Trust me on this one.
Well, my horse, Hiksu, she was known for being a bit stubborn and mean, my special one. Sometimes trying to get rid of the rider, or at least scare them so hard, they would not dare to ride her again. Just for fun, apparently.
Sometimes she also got really scared herself. One of these times was, when we were returning home from a short cross country ride. We were approaching the road, covered in ice. Just as she stepped onto the road, turning towards home, there was a tractor appearing from behind the corner. A particularly noisy tractor, with chains in the tires, for better grip. That noise my dear mare had never heard before, her solution was to panic. Blinding panic.
The direct outcome of that panic was speed. Quite some of it. Hiksu headed away from that tractor, at full gallop, on the icy and slippery road. I could not see anything, thanks to the snow, flying into my eyes, stinging, cold air biting to me cheeks. There might have been cars, or who knows what, coming from the opposite direction. At this point I think I started to get a bit nervous, afraid for the safety of both hers and mine.
She had lost her ears, no matter what I yelled, no reaction followed. She had taken the bit tightly between her teeth. So I basically had no brakes. At one corner I heard one of the shoes flying off. Not that it seemed to be of any interest to Hiksu, we were just slipping a bit more.
Picture from here.
She pushed on for about 5 km, not showing any signs of slowing down. I had lost all hope of getting her listening to me again, and basically just hoped that nothing too bad was lurking behind the next corner, and holding onto the saddle. The only thing to do for me, was to make sure I would not fall off.
Finally there was an uphill, which ate her speed. The tractor was long gone too. She was foaming from sweat. I was shaking out of exhaustion, too. She turned around, head held high, nostrils wide, ears pointing sharply to the direction we had come from. I was genuinely worried what would happen if the tractor would appear again.
I slid down to the ground. and started to lead Hiksu back home on foot. She was still very nervous, taking a good look at every moving thing. I was talking to her, to make her calm down and to focus on me, rather than on a moving leaf. She was not willing to let me walk too far, but kep her head right next to me arm. Except for a couple of nervous jumps and side steps.
That day I almost became religious. I was so happy to get to home safely, I even found the shoe, we dropped off, hanging on a tree. Long walk had relaxed us both and I was feeling extremely tired. After a good brushing and check up, Hiksu stayed at her pile of hey, and I dragged myself to the house. Just giving mom a yelp to let her know, I was home again.
This was not the first, or the last time, Hiksu arranged some excitement to my life, but this must have been one of the scariest.