Monday, August 4, 2008

After visiting with my mom Sunday night, Teresa and I mounted Lady and prepared to leave. We said our goodbyes and started down the gravel driveway.

Teresa hollered, “Oh look!” and two large white tailed deer took off along the wood line parallel to the road, headed the same direction we intended.

There are always deer on Mom’s property. She lives about 10 miles from the city in a rural area. I swear she puts out a block of salt for them to lick but she swears not. Anyway, it was that time of the evening when the deer start moving around and extra caution has to be taken by both motorcycles and cars.

I’m always cautious at this time in her neck of the county and so I kept our speed down until we passed the same deer again about 300 yards away. Near the bottom on the hill, they turned into the woods and I gave Lady some throttle going up the other side.

We crested the next hill and what I saw immediately caused me to move to the right side of my lane: Two riders on horse back, staggered side by side, galloping up the hill on their side of the road.

I slowed and engaged the clutch to quiet an already quiet engine but the horses were spooked and put out all fours in an effort to stop. They probably were shod with shoes and we were on brand new asphalt pavement.
The horses lost the footing and went down, falling on their sides toward the center of the road, spilling the riders.

I came to a stop and Teresa jumped off so I could make a “U” turn on the narrow road. We met the equestrian riders, a mom in her late 30’s and a teenage girl I assumed was her daughter.

They said they were fine, but I could see differently. Mom was bleeding from a bump on the forehead and the girl had some nasty bruising or road rash near her waist and hip.

I opened a packet of Windex paper towels and tried to clean the mom’s wound. It must have stung like the dickens but it was the only clean cloths I had. The mom said they only lived around the corner and would walk the horses back.

I’m sure this was not how they expected their evening ride to end.

As we left them to continue our journey home, I couldn't help but feel responsible for their injuries. My head says, “It’s not my fault. They weren't wearing any headgear and I couldn't control the actions of the horses.” My heart says, “We should've picked another way home.”

Would've. Should've. Could've.

In the end, the equestrian riders were a little banged up. The horses, while a little skittish, were uninjured. And this rider was reminded of the importance of wearing safety gear.


irondad said...

If you moved over, slowed down, and pulled the clutch in, then relax. Good on you for feeling for the riders, but it was their thing. Whether mechanical horsepower or the real thing, there's three rules for managing risk.

Know your limits.
Know your mount's limits
Know the limits of the environment

Stay within them.

Apparently, rule number two was violated by the riders.

You stopped to help. Not much more can be asked. Except that Windex thing. Ouch!

Doug C said...

That's what my head says, but I bet mom still has a headache.

Thanks Dan.