Monday, September 6, 2010

The One Where I Fall Off

Yup, I took my first fall off a horse today. Like most falls, it wasn't as bad as you think they're going to be. Of course, falls and crashes could always be horrible, but most often they are just a pain in the ass. This one was literally a pain in the ass, as that is the first place I hit the ground.

It was a beautiful Labor Day afternoon at the barn, but it was super windy. We were planning on a nice, long, relaxing trail ride. The boys were a tad jittery in the beginning. Perhaps due to the wind, also partly due to a big rottweiler that was a ways down the road from us. All in all, no biggie, though.

We did our brief warm-up on the second strip and had plans of venturing over to the west side of Wapsi rd. When we head down a little section of double track, the horses can look left and see the barn. Bear always wants to go back at that point. On another ride he gave me a lot of trouble there, but this time he walked down the track pretty willingly. Steen was up ahead, doing his fast walk. Bear kept looking over his shoulder, longing for The Barn.

And then Steen had a medium spook and spun back in our direction. I was thinking more about Steen's silly spook than I was about my own mount. And the next thing I knew, Bear had done a super fast spin and taken off for home. In the spin I lost my right stirrup and felt like I was leaning pretty far back. So I kind of made the decision to just kick my left foot out and scootch off the back of him. That is how it looked in my head. It was probably not nearly that pretty or controlled. And my butt is currently wishing that I came off with a bit more control than I did.

As I was getting up and shaking off the initial stiffness, Bear was trotting off to the barn. He stopped about halfway there, but then he decided to keep going. After making sure I was OK, Robin went after him. He got a few big pops on the mouth when he stepped on his reins, and one of them even broke off.

So after many minutes of walking up to the barn, fixing the rein, and getting back to the spot of the fall, I finally climbed back aboard. I was nervous, but he was fine. We walked up and back on the double track section and then rode back into the big grassy strip. Here I proceeded to work Bear a bit harder than I have so far. The fall was certainly an accident, but I don't want Bear thinking about the barn when he's not supposed to. And he is definitely adjusted to his surroundings by now.

I didn't do anything super hard, but we did a lot of walking, trotting, circles, stops, backs, figure eights, and whatever other pattern I was thinking about at the time. He was paying a lot of attention to me, and he got pretty tired. So it was very productive. Robin snapped a few nice shots of us.

Bear's got a big, floaty trot, plus I was probably a tad nervous, so I'm hanging on to the saddle.


Trotting away from Robin and Steen, things were going pretty good at this point.


Still trotting and hanging on, but I've got a big smile on my face.

I'm blogging a bit out of order here (but I thought the fall was pressing enough to go first), my parents were up this weekend and we all had a good time visiting Bear and Steen. The guys were on their best behavior, and Steen let both my mom and dad have a good ride. Robin's got a nice write up about it, but here are a few more pictures from the day.

Mom and I cruising around the arena.


Bear spends a lot of time walking behind Steen and trying to catch up.


In a previous post I joked about Bear "falling asleep" during the tacking, on this day he really did fall asleep. We had to wake him just to feed him a little grain.

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