Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lesson 100: an Epic Fall

The definition of "lesson 100" gets a little bit fuzzy because I went with the group on a long hack/trail ride on Friday and then I had my formal lesson on Sunday. I consider hacks lessons since you still need to pull yourself together enough to ride but might not need to pay as much attention to the specific technical details a lesson would. But, again, it's a bit fuzzy since last week was a pretty intense week in terms of other stuff that was going on and my official lesson 100 was supposed to be on Thursday but something came up that had me cancel the lesson.

The hack was... an adventure, to say the least! We did have to rush out to the stable right after work and the traffic was a challenge on a Friday evening but that was mostly the boring/annoying part. Good thing our horses were already tacked up so that we could just get moving. The weather was amazing and the sunset was perfect... it was such a stunning view of the fields and the hills and forest/bush. The only issue I have with Ariel is her dominant-mare-ness. She insists on being at the front of the group and makes every effort to get as close as possible, often times with her nose in the other horse's butt. And in open space, she took every opportunity to speed up to sneakily bounce past the other horses... and eventually, I'd be at the front of the pack and I'd have to ask J where to go. 

As the hack was wrapping up, we were trotting through some bush that I've been through before, near the stable. Most of us were on larger horses with the exception of one of the girls who was on a pony... the pony had trouble keeping up at a trot with the other horses so he took off in a gallop but when we turned, he realized it too late and his poor rider fell off as he deeked the turn. It wasn't a pretty picture... the pony took off and so did the lead horse (both without riders). Then Ariel got it in her head that something bad must be making its way over so she best get going to lead the others out of there too. I've rarely had too much trouble with her but she was giving me A LOT of trouble and was low rearing and bucking when I tried to turn her around towards the group. I knew she wouldn't throw me but she was certainly trying to tell me she wanted to get the heck outta there to find the others. I'm lucky she didn't throw me in the bush... the disagreements weren't getting better and I eventually let her move forward towards home a few steps so that she'd calm down. I thought I'd give her her head and space and then try to turn her back but every time she's rearing and bucking. Eventually I knew it wasn't going to get better so I stopped fighting her and went with her. But that was a mistake because once she broke into the field, she just made a beeline for home. At this point I lost my left stirrup and while struggling to get my foot back in, I couldn't keep my balance and toppled over... BAM. I'm lucky I landed on my back in the field and I had my helmet on. I knew that I had to get up quickly though, because who knows where Ariel's horse brain told her to go.... but when I turned around, she was standing a couple steps away, eating... REALLY? ARGH.

I didn't feel the pain right away but boy was I sore the next few days...

Of course, the trooper that I am, I confirmed with +ADW that all was well and that Sunday was good to have me return to my regular scheduled lesson. We rode in the outside arena and worked on the usual trot (sitting and posting) and canter to solidify those gaits. We moved to jumping some low jumps too and I have to admit, these were challenging to get the turn just right. Esp since my crazy left wing and my loopy right side are causing issues with directing Ariel appropriately. In comparison to the Friday hack, this lesson was pretty low key and we just worked on some jumping and getting our gaits right. I do have to admit though, I'd much rather ride indoors when the sun is hot like that.

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