Gilly Fraser, Farmer equestrian columnist catalogues her mishaps as a horse rider.

IT is a truth universally acknowledged – the equestrian universe obviously - that riders, horse-owners and anyone involved in the care of equines, will inevitably amass a catalogue of ridiculous mishaps. It goes with the territory.

Admittedly I am singularly spectacular at being a clumsy klutz, but somehow I doubt I’m alone.

Normally, the said mishaps result in nothing more than minor injury, but even if they wound the pride more than the person, they still deserve their place in the litany.

I started off my life with horses by notching up all the standards – like being bitten, stood on, sent flying by an over-enthusiastic head rub and losing a few layers of skin by having my leg caught betwixt horse and gatepost.

I then moved up a level, to achieve faceplanting in a midden, losing my wellies in a sea of squelching mud and being towed round the arena by a 12.2 whose determination not to be loaded into the trailer proved far superior to my ability to make him.

I faceplanted on that occasion as well and did a bit of body-surfing just for maximum points.

I also once got lifted clean off the ground by the extremely well-aimed hind hooves of a New Forest pony called Heather. These things are kinda like a rite of passage.

You’ve got to tick them off the list before you can even remotely claim to be a horseperson.

I was actually foolish enough to think I’d experienced all the possible permutations, but have managed – once again - to prove myself wrong. And in doing so, have realised I owe my left hand an apology.

Round about fifteen years ago-ish, I broke my right wrist and a few ribs when my horse decided I was excess baggage and unceremoniously gave me the heave-ho.

I spent the next few weeks with my arm in plaster, trying desperately hard to neither laugh nor sneeze.

I’m right-handed so I really needed Leftie to step up to the plate and temporarily take charge. The little blighter failed miserably.

Writing proved impossible, getting dressed became an exercise in ingenuity, and I had to resort to eating mush because using both fork and knife was beyond the pale, especially in polite company.

Even something as basic as cleaning my teeth proved tricksy and on more than one occasion I ended up with toothpaste up my nose.

I was not impressed with Leftie’s utter ineptitude.

Spool forward to the present day and I am discovering that my poor old mitt was much maligned.

I established this fact accidentally after climbing on top of two haylage bales stacked double-decker, in order to open the neighbouring bale.

All was going well until I misjudged the dismount. I took a step backward but instead of touching down on a solid surface, my foot met only air and I clattered ignominiously earthward.

Without a parachute. Leftie saw a chance for reputation-redemption and shot out to break my fall. A bolt of lightning coursed up my arm and for a dizzy, am-I-about-to-pass-out-or-throw-up moment, I thought I’d broken another wrist.

Happily Leftie proved to be made of pretty stern stuff and stayed intact, but swelled up like a barrage balloon along with the rest of my arm. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but at least it was all in one piece.

A pretty painful piece, which clearly wasn’t going to appreciate being asked to do anything for a while other than lounge about, wrapped in a bag of frozen sweetcorn.

Which is how I came to realise I had been doing Leftie an injustice all these years, because quite frankly his oppo Righty isn’t that hot on the solo front either.

My 16.3 steed clearly thinks it’s hilarious when I attempt to bridle him one-handed, while attempting to buckle girths from the ground and coping with rug fastenings inevitably brings forth swear words I didn’t even know were in my vocabulary.

Fortunately riding hasn’t been a problem, but I’ve had to revert to the sliding-down backwards method of dismounting.

I fear the BHS might not approve, but hey – a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do!

Gilly Fraser is a writer, a reader, a horse-rider, a music-lover and a freelance journalist.