My answer is "Only when she falls". And yes, she does sometimes fall. Her coach calls it "Buying real estate". After practice I am sometimes greeted with: "Well, she bought a little real estate tonight, but she's OK."
I am not a worrier by nature, and I ride a little myself, so I have a pretty high level of tolerance for falling off. In fact, when it happens at our home barn, during lessons, it really doesn't phase me. I know she is fine, and since most falls don't incur injury, my biggest concern is that she hops back up and can finish the lesson on a positive note.
But at the horse shows, I am a mess on the inside.Things move faster at shows. The pony and the girl are more excited, and nerves are elevated. And while things move faster, when they go wrong, it feels like everything is in slow motion.
So, this is where Pony Mama begins to sweat. Pony Girl is lying flat on her back in the ring. Coach runs out. Is Pony Mama supposed to go out there? What are the rules? Pony Mama doesn't know. We never went over this part. There isn't a Pony Mama manual that lists this stuff. I have seen other riders come off, but have not seen other Pony Mamas enter the ring. The Clash song flashes through my brain- "Should I stay or should I go?" Pony girl still lying flat on her back. EMT comes out. Crap. The EMT came out. Pony Mama still ringside, can hear and see daughter talking and moving, but still wondering what protocol is here. EMT starts tapping Pony Girl's feet. Pony Mama decides hell with it and goes out into the ring. It is HER Pony Girl lying flat on her back, and it is time to be there with her. When Pony Mama gets there Pony Coach says "Good. It is time for Mom to be here". Whew.
Anyone who is concerned about his dignity would be well advised to keep away from horses.
-Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh