A few months ago, I went to a local hunter/jumper show with my trainer, Beth. I was signed up to ride her Quarter Horse gelding Amigo in the 2ft division later that day. Everyone at the barn knows Amigo has an attitude and he can be pretty opinionated, and unfortunately he decided to demonstrate this while I was schooling him over some 2ft fences soon after we arrived at the showgrounds.
I jumped the outside line with no issues, but as I cantered past the in-gate, Amigo suddenly lunged forward and started bucking like a rodeo bronc! I leaned back in the saddle and frantically tried to get his head up from between his knees. I stayed on for the first few bucks, but then he added his back end to the equation and kicked his back feet up. I fell forward and with another hop, I went over his head.
According to my best friend, who was watching from the fence, I did a gymnast flip over his head, and then I landed smack head first in the sand. I do remember feeling my head hit first, and then I kind of somersaulted and heard my neck/upper back pop. I sat there in the sand for a few seconds, stunned as to what had just happened. Then my trainer was there and she helped me up and asked if I was okay. I said I was fine and turned to look at Amigo, who was standing behind me and looking exceeding pleased with himself.
I grabbed his reins and led him from the ring. I was still pretty confused as to what had caused him to react the way he did, so I asked my trainer, and she chalked it up to him landing the last jump too fast, and then getting mad when I half-halted and told him to slow down. I ended up scratching both my over fences classes and opted for Pleasure Horse and Student Eq on the Flat instead. Thankfully, the only thing wounded was my ego. I truly feel that having my helmet on saved my life, or at least saved me from a concussion or other head injury, and I will make sure to always wear my helmet from now on, even if I'm just trail riding my mare.