The first time I went horseriding with school, my mother warned me not to wrap the reins around my wrist or hand. The warning came with a story about her uncle, who had been killed as a child when a horse he was leading had bolted, dragging him behind.
Years later I found this uncle easily enough. He was my mother's great-uncle. His name was Leslie Miller COUPER, born 8 June 1887 and died 2 March 1897 aged just nine years old. He shares a grave in Oakleigh Pioneer Cemetery (Victoria, Australia) with his parents who died many years later. His headstone says that he was accidentally killed.
I have known what happened to Leslie (in general terms) for a long time. I always thought, theoretically, "how terrible" but it has never affected me that much. I did take my mother's advice about holding the reins though...
A few weeks ago I was playing with the National Library of Australia's Historic Australian Newspapers site. The site is very well done, and worth a look even if you don't have relatives in Australia. I found a newspaper article relating to the death of Leslie Miller COUPER, but it was still undergoing quality checks so I couldn't see it right away.
I was thrilled when I searched again and could read the short article. I wasn't prepared for how I would react to reading it though.
Perhaps it was the graphic description of the injuries. Perhaps it was the fact that the dying boy was taken back to his family home, prompted me to think of him as part of a loving family. Whatever the reason, suddenly I found myself in tears for someone who had died over 100 years ago.
Here's a link to the article.