Nightmare at the pumpkin patch

Posted by on October 13, 2008

We were so excited to go to the pumpkin patch on Friday Oct. 10th. We waited for Jim to get off work and decided to visit the pumpkin patch on Jeffrey and Walnut near the 5 freeway… Every year we buy tickets for the various attractions. Marissa picked tickets for the big inflatable slide, the little boat shaped cars that hang from chains and go around in circles, and her favorite — the pony rides. Every year since Marissa was 3 years old, she’d go on the pony rides at least once a year. We even went horse back riding in Bryce Canyon, Utah during a camping trip and that was so much fun!

But this year would be the first bad experience we’ve ever had with the pony rides…

We watched Marissa smile and wave at us and she rode the pony around the circle, just like we have every year… the woman who was in charge of the animals told her employee to “fix it” because Marissa was sort of leaning to the side. We didn’t think much of it at the time. The guy adjusted her and the pony continued around the circle. Everything seemed fine.

I have Jessie strapped on me in the Bjorn, facing forward so she can watch her sister on the the pony. I look away for a second, look back at Marissa… and she is HANGING UPSIDE DOWN ON HER HORSE SCREAMING AND CRYING FOR HELP. The employee rushes to pick her up, she is still attached to the horse so now she is in a horizontal position, and a natural response if something were dangling on a horse.. THE HORSE IS BUCKING AND IRRITATED.

Jim rushes to help the employee hold Marissa while they try to unbuckle Marissa’s strap. I scream the loudest horror movie type scream at the top of my lungs, hysterically. Jessie is crying, unaware of what is going on. Oh my God, I don’t think I have ever been more afraid, ever. I am imagining Marissa falling to the ground and getting trampled by this horse, resulting in the un-thinkable. They could not get her away from the horse fast enough. It was the longest few seconds of my life.

Finally, they get her away from the horse… I’m already on the phone calling 911 on my cell phone, not knowing if Marissa sustained any injuries.

Thankfully, Marissa was not harmed. She was just horrified. Mommy and Daddy too. The firemen and paramedics arrive a few minutes later. After we do a full inspection and question Marissa if she’s okay, we realize with MUCH RELIEF that she is fine. We tell the paramedics she’s fine and they briefly interview her and tell us that she looks okay to go home with us.

That lady who was in charge of the horses kept her distance, would not look at us, and I’m sure was very nervous that we would place blame on her. Something went really wrong that night, and I’m certain something was not fastened properly. We were just thankful that Marissa was not harmed.

Marissa has been on sooo many pony rides and rode a good size horse on a trail at Bryce Canyon with no seat belt! She WAS comfortable on horses, I’m not going to push her to ride for a while. We know it wasn’t the horse’s fault, so maybe one day she’ll ride again.

We just don’t trust those pony rides at the pumpkin patch anymore. After looking at past photos for the rides, there is a difference in the straps and seat belt systems for the ponies. So just ALWAYS CHECK and make sure an employee is walking the ponies around and is nearby all the time!!!

All I can say is, we had a lot to be thankful for that night. Before Marissa went to bed, she said “I love Jesus, he’s great.” A little angel was on her shoulder watching after her for sure!

Here are a few photos from our last ride… I just love horses, I hope that Marissa will enjoy them again someday!

Riding at Bryce Canyon, May 2007

  • pam

    OMG – that’s scary!!! i’m glad to hear marissa is alright. they are very lucky that nothing more serious happened.

  • Ann

    I’m relieved that Marissa is okay and wasn’t phased by the pony ride. I’ve let my kids go on those rides with a little knot in my stomach. Thank you for sharing your experience and again I’m happy that everything was okay in the end!

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  • Jade

    The photo you took of the loose looking strap is not essential to the riding of the horse. And is not supposed to be tight either. It’s called a billet strap it’s like a spare tire, used also to keep the saddle from tipping forward on heavy rides. Like if you are roping something or it’s a bid saddle on a big horse. What looks to be the problem is her feet and the way she is sitting. Toes should be pointed upwards and you should always sit back on your rump. If one rides incorrectly it can cause the saddle to tilt or rub the wrong way. Causing accidents.

    I have been a horse owner, rider and trainer for many a decade.