When Things Go Wrong: Lessons in Horsemanship - Kate Wensley's Experience


In a candid account, Kate Wensley, an accomplished equestrian, opens up about a recent incident that led to her reevaluating her perspective on horsemanship. Learn from her journey and gain valuable insights on resilience and growth within the world of horses.

Air Ambulance Horse Accident




Kate Wensley, an experienced horsewoman with over three decades of teaching and training under her belt, found herself in an unexpected and challenging situation. In this article, Kate recounts her journey of returning to horses after a hiatus, the joy of forming a partnership with a new horse, and the pivotal moment that led to a redefinition of her horsemanship philosophy.


The Incident


After a year-long break from riding due to personal circumstances, Kate rekindled her passion for horses. Her life had taken on a new direction, and she embraced it with excitement. Her newfound horse, Teddy, brought a renewed sense of joy and partnership into her equestrian journey. However, as Kate narrates, even experienced professionals like her aren't immune to mishaps.


Lessons Learned


Kate's incident wasn't just a setback; it was an opportunity for reflection and growth. She emphasizes the importance of acknowledging that mistakes and accidents are part of the equestrian journey, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran. Kate shares her insight that, while you can't control every variable, you can prepare yourself and your horse to handle unexpected situations with the right mindset and support.


Resilience and Moving Forward


As Kate recovered from the incident, she delved into introspection. She reminds us that a setback doesn't define your identity as a horseman or horsewoman. Instead, it's how you respond and grow from these experiences that truly matters. Kate encourages riders to use adversity as a catalyst for learning and improvement, highlighting the importance of continuous education and seeking the right guidance.



Kate Wensley's journey reminds us that horsemanship is a dynamic and evolving pursuit. Her story exemplifies the resilience and determination that equestrians need to navigate the highs and lows of their equestrian endeavours. Whether you're a novice or an expert, Kate's experiences and insights serve as a reminder that setbacks are stepping stones to becoming a better rider and a more empathetic horse person.


Kate Wensley Editor

Recently, I found myself flat on my back in an air ambulance with four broken ribs and a small puncture in my lung. How I got there was not exactly in my schooling plan for that day.

I have recently returned to horses following a year break. I sold Archie and hung up my boots. Covid, being a single parent at the time, and my health meant that my riding and teaching needed to go on hiatus for a while. How long that would be, I didn’t exactly know - and it wasn’t a decision I took lightly. I’ve taught people how to ride for over three decades, and I have been developing myself as a horse trainer for almost two of those. Chances are I was burnt out. Doing something you love can take its toll, and when the whole of you goes into horse training, it sometimes doesn’t leave much for anything else.

Fast forward a year or so and my life looked rather different. International travel, busy with editorial work and almost finishing my first book - mentally I was in a different place. But along with my new husband and a few other changes, a new horse entered my life and from the moment I saw him, I remembered why I loved being a horsewoman so much.

I think it’s fair to say that if you spend enough time around horses, stuff can and will go wrong, and you run the risk of being hurt. Personally, I don’t think professionals talk about it enough outside the world of eventing. We are human and sometimes we get stuff wrong, other times it's purely an accident. In my case it was a combination of the two.

Teddy, my golden Palomino Quarter horse seems to know a few tricks. He clearly has had a decent foundation put on him in his youth, and quite honestly, I have enjoyed the last four months just falling in love with riding and being in a partnership again - exploring what we both can do, despite being older and stiffer. He is a joy to ride and we have been having a ball - until I decided to film a vlog charting our preparations for a ranch horse class. We were filming our warm up, transitions, extensions and some of the requirements for the class, and frankly, Teddy had never gone better - until my ego rose from the depths and thought ‘I wonder if we can just do…’ just before we concluded our session. It may have only been a simple manoeuvre, but it was one too much for both of us - it was something new but Teddy anticipated a lead change, I corrected and he wasn’t supple enough, tripped and down we went. I was still filming and upon review of the footage, it was over in a second. At the time, for me it was slow motion as I felt my poor boy scramble to stay upright and then I felt gravity bodyslam us both to the left. As I lay there winded, I knew I’d broken my ribs. Ted looked as shocked as I did, and thanks to some wonderful people and the emergency services, off I went to hospital. It was not my horse’s fault.

What I want you to know is that when you are learning how to ride, or developing your groundwork, etc., stuff will go wrong. It doesn’t matter if you have been around horses for five months or fifty years, you cannot control all the variables - all you can do is set things up the best you can to prepare for the worst, but expect the best. It happens to everyone.

Personally, I have had a lot of time to reflect upon what has happened. I have been very lucky that both Teddy and I, are on the whole, ok. Now, I am not suggesting you have to fling yourself off your horse to be a horseman, what I am saying is that when things go wrong, it doesn’t mean you aren’t one. Reflect, educate yourself, and move forward with the right support.