Why I should probably be dead. Tales of “Crash n’ Burns”

5 years old

I was playing Chop, chop, TIMBER! on my parents bed. As I trust fell backwards over and over again, I didn’t realize how close I was to the headboard on the bed. The last time was a doozy and I cracked my head and neck on the edge of that wooden piece of pain. Though I never went to the emergency room, looking back, it might explain my terrible short term memory.

I never played chop, chop, TIMBER! again.

7 years old

The first car I ever crashed was a riding lawnmower. My brother was letting me drive the lawnmower that my dad had proudly just bought. He wanted to teach me how to drive it with his new, and profound operating skills. As I was aimed straight at a tree, my legs were not long enough to push the brake pedal… WHAM! Into a tree I went. I’m pretty sure I blacked out after that from the sheer terror of what was going to happen when my dad found out. For real though, can’t remember my dad’s reaction to this day.

8 years old

I am cruising down a steep hill on a family vacation about a 1/2 mile from where my mom was visiting with my aunt. No one knew I was there, my mom just knew I was out riding my bike. As I was flying down a steep hill, my handle bars jostled a little. “Ohhh!” I thought “That as kind of cool! I should do it again.” You can see where this is going, right? But wait, it gets better.

I climb the hill and started on my decent. Long story short, my handlebars jostled out of control and like cheese on a cracker, I smeared the asphalt with my body. As I lay in the middle of the street, bleeding from head to toe, a car comes. “Shit!” I thought. ” I need to get out of the way before they hit me.” (It was a 25 MPH zone) Keeping my 8 year old wits about me, my brain registered I was still laying in the middle of the street and had to move out of the way for the car. I grab my bike and stumble to the curb to get out of the way. I sat on the curb dazed and bleeding, waiting for the car to pass. Note: The people in the car never got out, never checked to see if I was ok, nothing. They turned on the next street and went on their merry way. I am still a little confused by how someone could do that. BUT ANYWAY…

I collected myself enough to get back on my bike and ride to my Aunt’s house.

No go. The chain has fallen off my bike and I have no clue how to get it back on. I have to walk back. I finally get back to the house (a half mile later), and my mom sees me and FREAKS! Hurting, covered in blood, I burst into tears. I tell her the whole story. Even the part about the car and how the jerks didn’t even bother using their blinker when they turned on the next street.

It’s weird the details you do happen to remember from things like that.

9 years old

My brother gets a brilliant idea to ride double on a single seat bike around the block. He promises he will stand/pedal the entire time and I can sit o the seat. I concede and we head out to go around the block. He starts to fatigue and asks to sit/perch on the seat about half way through. No problem. I’m just a little thing and there’s plenty of room.

He doesn’t realize it at the time but as we get closer to the home, he is scooting back a little further, and a little further, and a little further. BAM!!! I fall off the back and hit my skull square onto the asphalt. My brother, immediately terrified, horrified, and feeling bad helps me up off the road. My first thought once I was back on my feet was “I can’t find one sandal! Why can’t I find my other sandal?!” Well, I couldn’t find my stupid sandal because I temporarily went blind.

I kid you not. I was as blind as a bat for what I estimate to be about 30-ish minutes. I vividly remember the first thing I saw when my sight finally came back. It was our dog. He stayed by me the whole time as I was trying not to panic outside of the house, waiting for the right time to tell my mom what had happened. I never told her the full story. I only told her I took a tumble off my bike.

She finally found out the extent of my injuries about 5 years ago. She was horrified, and rightfully so.

14 years old

The neighbor girl and I are riding double on a well-trained horse. He gets sick of it and launches us both into midair, over the fence and onto the ground. Both of us get the wind knocked out of us. In the midst of me hawing like a donkey as I try to catch my breath, my mom threatens to murder me if she has to explain to the neighbors how I could’ve killed their daughter. That was only the second time I had the wind knocked out of me in my life.

We never rode double on that horse again.

17 Years Old

I am training a young horse. She rears up so high she nearly falls completely backwards. Her legs give out and she sits down like a dog. I quickly get my feet out of the stirrups and move away as she gets back up. Had she gone all the way back, the saddle horn would have crushed me, right in the sternum, and I am pretty sure I would have been killed instantly. I had a new appreciation for life after that.

21 years old

I am training a young horse for a client. The ride goes great. I attempt to slow her down to cool her out and she takes a little trip. (You should know, this horse was tiny. She was super petite and not very smooth.) She trips and like it was nothing at all, I tip right over and fall off in front of her shoulder. She stops on a dime. I land on my butt in soft sand. No big deal. Not a bad fall at all if we were going to rank all the “tosses” I had received in my time as a horse trainer.

What I hadn’t realized though is that I still had the connected reins in my hands. The horse panics and immediately begins to back up. The reins catch around my neck and she drags me back about 6-10 feet with her as she flies backwards trying to get away from the pressure of my body against the reins. She freaks a little more, tosses her head, and the reins go flying from my jaw. I’m free.

Though I am shaken from everything, I get up and check on her. She was so sweet. She put her head down and looked up at me as if to say “I am soooo sorry! I just didn’t know what to do.” I gave her a few soft pets and told her it was ok before climbing back on and finishing our cool out. Everything was fine.

I walk into the barn after the ride and my best friend (we worked at the same barn at that time) rushes up to me and says “Holy shit, dude! What happened to your neck?!” Panicked again, I ask ” WHAT?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY NECK!?” She says “Go look at it!”. I run to the closest mirror and check out the damage. My neck is covered in blood blisters from the force of the reins and pressure. My jawline has a purple bruise forming from when she finally flipped her head and released. Th intense pressure from “rein flip” was beginning to show.

My mom cried when I told her the story about 2 days later.

I’ve got more.

Good grief, do I have more stories. But, maybe I will save those for another day. Most of my ‘near misses’ have happened on a horse. Training horses takes a lot of bravery, especially for young horses. The only thing that really saved me was having kids. I dialed down after that and quit training for the most part.

Now, I just get to look forward to all the crazy crap my kids will do.

Shit, which is worse? Them or me?

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