We often trail rode on logging roads with our neighbor, the one who gave us lessons and taught us how to ride. To access these trails we had to ride through the neighbor's pasture, up a long driveway, cross a two-lane paved road, and then into the logged land. My childhood friend also took lessons occasionally, but did not own a horse. One weekend afternoon, the four of us went out on a trail ride. The neighbor rode her Arab/Quarter horse gelding Ringo, my friend rode the neighbor's Morgan mare Maggie, my sister rode her pony Angel, and I rode my Appy/Welsh pony gelding, Shannon.
On the way home from the trails, we were riding down the steep dirt driveway towards the pasture. Maggie and Ringo were side by side in the lead, with Shannon and Angel walking side by side a few feet behind.
We were just walking along when out of nowhere a black dog came running down the hill behind the horses. We were completely caught off guard. Shannon and Angel spooked, and literally rammed themselves right into the hindquarters of the horses in front of us. Then, somehow, the ponies just kept on going. I have no idea where the other two went, I think they were pushed off to the side. I remember Angel and Shannon running side by side down that streep grade like they were racin' down the homestretch of the Kentucky Derby, all the way until they got to the bottom of the road, where we were finally able to pull them up. The insides of my knees were scraped from riding perched up on my saddle and rubbing against the conchos. I have no idea how we stayed on those ponies, except we were kids that still had great centers of gravity.
We turned around to see Ringo and Maggie come running down the hill behind us- riderless. I think we were still shaking as we dismounted and fearfully walked our ponies back up that hill. As we rounded the slight bend, we saw one body laying near the ditch and another sitting up in the road. I think we were almost too terrified to find out if they were okay (we were only around 10 and 12 years old at the time.) Other than a bit bruised and scraped, our neighbor and friend were relatively unharmed. Ringo had fallen on top our neighbor but luckily she had landed in the ditch so his body weight was over her, not pressing down on her. My friend had lost her balance and fallen off, and unfortunately, she had not let go of the reins and was dragged along the road for several yards before letting go.
Luckily, nobody was hurt that frightful day (and nobody was wearing a helmet, to my recollection. I know my sister and I did not own helmets back then.) We did find out after the fact that our neighbor was newly pregnant with her first child at the time. The fall did not affect her pregnancy and she went on to give birth to a lovely little girl that grew up to adore horses as much as her mommy and became a great little rider.
My friend never took many more horseback riding lesson after that. My sister and I went on to continue our trail riding and crazy pony escapades- still helmet-less, I'm afraid to say.