CATALOGUE OF FALLS Thursday night lesson, outdoor arena. Beautiful evening, spring is sprung, golden light. Six are in the lesson. I’m on Delilah, Charlie is first, then Rebel, then us. Emma is making us trot large in jumping position. I’m trying to break the mane-grabbing habit, and we come around F and I’m shortening the reins a bit, holding the reins and only the reins, and I see Charlie’s ears perk up, see him glance left, and Rebel, who has a boy crush on Charlie, looks and— is he slowing down?— and CRASH! And Charlie and Rebel and Delilah all leap right, Delilah has the farthest to go without disappearing entirely up Rebel’s behind, and I have a split-millisecond to recover—

But I’m going down, I can feel it, I’m going down, I see my left foot slip out of the stirrup, and under Delilah’s neck and between the reins I see the back of the ride, stopped, still, and a horrified look on the face of the girl on Mercury— and bang on the top of my head, smack on my lower back dammit!

Emma checks me out. I know I’m okay. She leads Delilah and I into the centre of the arena, I sit on a block, Delilah nudges my shoulder. ‘Not your fault,’ and I pat her nose. Not her fault, not mine— the fault lay with the abysmally stupid jackass who tossed an empty wheelbarrow into an empty trailer and then laughed— !— calling, ‘Alright?’ Wanker.

I get back up. I feel stupid. I need to work on my balance.

Everyone is solicitious.

We continue.

Delilah and I jump 50 cms.

Ha!

Next day I feel a bit like a cartoon character whose head got stuck in a ringing bell, I’m bonging, but it goes away.

I fell.

The first fall.

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