We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for… PICTURES!
Surely I’ve mentioned in spite of riding for 15 years, I have… not very much evidence of it. There are ribbons, an old saddle that never fit me, a dusty groom box, but photos and video? Sorely lacking. So imagine my excitement Wednesday when I received pictures from the horse-mom who followed her daughter, trainer and I that morning while we played cross country.
I’m off on Tuesdays, and this week I managed to pack the day full of activities. I walked my neighbor’s dog, went to therapy, stopped at the library, made a casserole, and then helped with a leadline lesson prior to my own that evening. The lesson went fantastically. It was a group including my close friend M, one of the young riders on the adorable Sugar, and myself on Rain (who’s in these pictures). We worked on grids in a figure eight pattern, one diagonal line of four jumps and on the opposite diagonal a bounce line of three jumps. Rain did better the higher they got, stayed quiet and balanced through the turn, and wasn’t pulling like she had been in the outdoor (although… yes, just being in the indoor helped).
Trainer asked if I wanted to come out the next morning to ride some cross country, which I quickly agreed to. Wednesday morning however, I felt a little off in terms of energy. I acknowledged it (better than my usual ignoring it!) and reminded myself to take a nap when I got home.
We started off with some baby jumps behind the barn so that S could help her mare Charlotte build up some confidence before heading to the big pastures. This was Charlotte’s first time doing any cross country, so she wanted it to be as positive an experience as possible. I’d say S accomplished that and by the end both were calm and happy moseying over some baby jumps.
Being only the second time I’ve done cross country, this went, for the most part, very well. We went through the woods, took some little logs outside of the woods, and then went to the pond pasture where we trotted a lap. I kind of felt like a limp noodle after this, not being used to riding two days in a row and all, but caught my breath while going back and forth through a mini ravine not far from the pond. Once trainer M asked if we were ready to do some cantering. I was thinking “OK, I’ve had plenty of rest, this should be fine.”
Famous last words.
The Fall did not happen immediately. We started off heading toward the fenceline on the road, Rain behind Charlotte and my trainer’s speedy pony Nora, and then hairy-mare decided she wanted to be ahead. We zoomed past, but Rain was easily settled and allowed the other two to catch up. When we had finished the sweeping turn to face the barn, Rain was still going along with an ear turned toward me. Before I realized it, we were flying, though it didn’t feel out of control or like she had the bit in her mouth – she just wanted to go. We left the other two in the dust and I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Perhaps too much. Honestly, I’m not sure whether to blame my fall on pure lack of fitness or if my friend Narcolepsy also had it’s clumsy little hands in this.
Regardless, Rain threw in a couple of happy bucks and I for whatever reason had zero reaction to this. Forward I went on her right shoulder and quickly surmised my next stop was the ground. I tried to push off her and did a sideways-tumble-slide onto thankfully soft footing and popped up to watch my steed hightail it to the drylot on the other side of the barn where her buddies were
trapped waiting to be turned out in the field she had just exited. Thankfully, she waited there and was quickly caught by S’s mom.
What I had mostly missed was Charlotte taking off a bit after my premature dismount and trainer following behind some distance to help if need be. After a big circle she calmed down and was peachy while I got tossed back up on Rain after a quick assessment that I was none the worse for wear.
Following this excitement we went to the front pasture where the majority of these pictures were taken. I only did four or five jumps and stayed with the short guys, while M and Nora took some of the higher stuff. Charlotte and S went around several times and after the first few go’s where Charlotte was rushing after the jumps, M suggested she give Charlotte the rein to figure herself out and try not to assume she would zoom off. While not perfect, there was considerable improvement and by the last jump she had a very content TB mare (miracles!).
I, meanwhile, am still a bit sore between the shoulder blades, but considering I haven’t had a fall in over eight years I’m relieved it wasn’t worse. I haven’t ridden since, though I proceeded to have two nights of harmless horse-related dreams, so we’ll see how my confidence is actually doing come next ride.