To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Apparently I still bounce

Yesterday I saw this and put "ride Horton" first on today's to-do list:

Unfortunately, the forecast got one small detail wrong. Make that "AM Light Rain" on Friday. :-/

But by the time I finished morning chores, the light rain had slacked off to a barely noticeably mist, so I tacked up. (After 23 years here, I know I have to take advantage of any break in the weather in order to  ride during the rainy season!) I was well into warming up Horton when my right foot, aided by wet sand on the bottom of my boot, slipped forcefully off the stirrup pad. Horton spooked sideways, I reacted, he jumped again and threw in a buck (I think; it all happened so fast), and I came off. I'm not even sure how I landed as I cannot remember the impact and nothing hurts except the tendons in my right hand and wrist from hanging onto the rein too long. I was on my feet in a flash, growling and chasing Horton around the arena like an angry she-bear. After making a believer out of him (and a good cardio workout on my part), I got him galloping around me in a circle free-lunging. When I finally asked him to walk and then halt, he obeyed promptly and politely. He stood like a rock while I walked up to him, lead him to the arena fence, and remounted.

Wow, what a transformation! We went from Intro to First Level in one fell (heh) swoop! Horton was focused, forward, round and on the bit, executing sharp shoulder-ins, leg yields and canter departs (well, except for one – and a deep growl and volte from me got a quick "Yes, Ma'am!" from him). When we finished, he gave me excellent stretchy trot circles on a long rein followed by lots of good free walk on a long rein – which he needed. In spite of the 50 degree temp and increased precipitation (by now dripping steadily off my helmet), Horton's neck was lathered from his largely self-imposed workout. There might have even been a little lather "between his ears" in that little brain of his. I do believe this morning's incident may have been "one jump backwards, three jumps forward" in his training and behavior modification; hard to feel bad about that. :-)

Now, where was that camera crew? I want to see the instant replays during a post-game analysis!


sylkan said...

Oh, my. I'm so sorry you got a bum hand, but so glad it was not worse. Sounds like you had great presence of mind to turn into a she-bear and make sure he did not think he had gotten away with a fast one. I know what you mean about comming off fast. I was never quite sure about the process, either. He sure is quick.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Well done!

Marie said...

Always good when something that could have ruined the day really makes the day! So glad it turned out for the good. And it sounds like it did really good! Will be anxious to see how your next ride is, if he remembers his p's and q's then. I hope so!

Michelle said...

Sylvia, since the incident didn't start with a bad attitude or balkiness, I don't think my coming off should be held against him. And if it brings a net gain in his training without injury to me, I'll take it!

Strange; I've played the whole thing over and over again in my mind and I cannot remember hitting the ground OR landing on my feet. I'm beginning to believe that all my prayers for safety while working with Horton were answered in a very real way, and I was held by angels!

Mama Pea said...

Ooof! So glad to hear you weren't hurt (and can still bounce) and that it turned out to be a good training lesson for Horton. All's well that ends well, huh?

Once I was trying to make small talk with a steeplechase rider I had just met. I (innocently but naively) asked him if he'd ever fallen off a horse. He looked down his nose at me and said, "Good riders don't fall off; they get thrown off." Allll-righty then.