My last instructor had a single Thoroughbred, in her sea of Quarter Horses and PoAs and miscellaneous whatsits. I actually rode him for quite a while, fell off of him once, and always kind of felt bad for him, sweet horse that he was. I’m not a gelding person, but he was generally a nice guy, and I always felt like he deserved better than being a lesson horse; he needed a little girl of his own to love on him all the time.

We called him Bear. I haven’t the slightest clue what his registered name was, but I know he had one; he was tattooed with the Jockey Club and had a three-race record. I don’t remember if he won any of them, and I never got confirmation on whether his bum leg was why he didn’t race more, but it seems like a reasonable guess.

I can never remember which leg it was that he’d limp on – and he was a clever limper; sometimes he really hurt and sometimes he was clearly just trying to get out of work – but I’m guessing by the funkiness of his left knee, it was probably that one. He was usually a bit thin in comparison to the horses around him, and I think I only saw him get “up” and put on speed once. The rest of the time, he was more than happy to stand around or plod around.

As for the fall – it was more hilarious than anything else, especially in comparison to previous falls I’d had. He spooked at something – neither my instructor nor I saw what it was, but talking later, we figured it was probably a rock thrown up by a passing car – and did a teeny buck and half-bolted.

The funny part? It wasn’t that bad, but for some reason, I just kind of stopped riding, tried to wrap my arms around his neck, and just kind of came off. Whoops. I landed on my right hip/thigh, with one arm on the fence; either he accidentally nicked me on the way by, or I whacked my shin pretty hard with my other foot. I think my first words to my instructor after I landed were, “Well, that was stupid.”

The best (worst?) part was, this was while I was in college – and in the morning before a full afternoon of classes. The fall was around 9 or 10. By the time I got home around 5:30 that night, the outside of my right thigh looked like I’d had an unfortunate encounter with an usually large eggplant: purple from knee to hip. It didn’t hurt that badly, but damn, did it look ugly. My shin and upper arm weren’t too much prettier, but had vastly smaller bruises.

Poor Bear seemed quite embarrassed about the whole thing, to be honest.

  • He has a kind face.

    I have not yet met a mare whose personality clicked with mine. Not even close. More mares for you, more geldings for me 😉