I still bounce. I know this because I got the opportunity yesterday to find out.
I realize that what I experience in a day is not common in the world outside of the horse industry. Sometimes the large animals knock me around. Yesterday Laddy got spooked at the gate as the farrier tried to shoo the other horses away, so he made a move. Over me. I have this thing about not letting go of the rope, so I got dragged a little and then I got a good case of rope burn. I really should have let go, as he got loose anyway. But I never let go. So I should get back into the habit of gloves.
I also know better than to let people help me, as it usually goes wrong. But he insisted I needed help and would not be dissuaded. Unfortunately, my horses lead a sheltered life. This is a private farm, so there is not a lot of outside activity for my horses. There is routine and all things familiar. A man at the gate flapping a cap was too much for spooky Laddy. And there was that truck parked right there.
This is for those who don't know horses. They are prey animals, they are dinner for predators. This gives them a flight instinct; those with the strong instinct are more likely to survive than those without it. Except for one like Laddy. He stops thinking when he is frightened, leading to mindless reaction. In the wild, if he didn't end up dinner, he would surely end up committing suicide. For humans dealing with horses, the lack of survival tendency is not necessarily a bad thing. The 'dead heads' may not survive the mountain lion, but the human will survive life with the horse!
I have bred many mares and raised lots of foals. Sometimes the way the genes work surprises you. Laddy is the product of two wonderful horses. His sire is one of the nicest, most even tempered horses I have ever known. The mare will do anything I ask of her. Laddy cannot trust. A horse which is incapable of trust can never be trusted. So you are left scratching your head. It's called a nick, and these two bloodlines don't nick. I'm also left taking care of a horse that is of no use. But I caused him to be, so I care for him. And for two others that did not nick well.
Lest I leave an impression that horses are dangerous I want to say that this is not so. Of course they are large and they can think, which means they can have an idea different from your own. But they don't want to hurt you and most never do. It is the business of raising them and the number of them which sometimes puts me on the ground. The vast majority of horse owners never experience what I do. And since I stopped raising foals, I don't experience what it feels like to be hit by a linebacker much anymore. Except when nervous Laddy is overwhelmed by the guy with the cap and needs to exit. We'll blame it on the cap and let Laddy off the hook. If you have ever spent time with crazy horse people you know it's never the horse's fault.
I learned I still bounce. I got up, kept the horse from leaving and got him safely into the paddock. I was sore last night, but feel alright this morning. My hand is a bit of a mess, but it will be OK. How's that for a glimpse into the life.
This is the reason why I did it. And why I still do.