Sunday, July 10, 2011

Black Wednesday

As usual, people woke within an hour or two of sunrise, stretched their sleepy muscles around camp, and socialised a little over a breakfast table of boiled eggs, olives, fresh tomatoes and cucumber, bread and cheeses, and çay, Turkish tea, before packing up and setting out on the horses.

We rode up through the hillside cobblestones of Bayramhaci and into a spectacular narrow valley flanked by tall straw-coloured stone outcrops atop steep hills of scrub-grass.  It was straight out of a John Ford western.
One of the horses, Megan, was irritated by a saddle sore and had been acting up.  Riding into the last camp she kicked Alexander’s horse as a car was passing him on the road.  Fortunately he’s a well-experienced rider and it was quickly under control.

But on the morning of Black Wednesday it was a different story.  Megan was being ridden behind the lead rider and wrangler, Ercihan, and next to Barbara, one of three inexperienced riders on this trip.  The ride was only an hour old and the horses were fresh, well-spaced and uncrowded, but halfway along the narrow valley Megan suddenly reeled and leapt without any provocation.  Barb, in striking distance, tried to veer away but the cranky mare, out of control of her rider, kicked and landed a shod hoof on Barb’s shin.  With an “oof” we knew she was struck.

Unable to bear weight on her leg to balance herself, she slipped out of the saddle onto the rocky trail and rolled over in pain.  Ercihan and Alexander, the ride organisers, were to her in an instant.  It was a sombre and worried mood in the team as she was assessed for a fractured leg.  Her toes were pointing in the right direction but it looked like there was an eggplant under the skin.

Ercihan squatted atop one of the hills and rang an ambulance with his mobile phone.  The rest of us dismounted and pulled our horses into the shade.  When the ambulance came into his sight, he raced down the hill, swung onto his horse, and galloped back up and over the crest to intercept it and lead it to the group.  Within the hour, Barb was stretchered into the ambulance and, with Alexander along, trundled down the track and whisked away.

1 comment:

Dawn Walker said...

Loving your blog...thanks for the synopsis of our Relief Riders saga! Love reliving it all through your words.....a gift!