Falling off the horse sucks. People like to tell me that it’s so much worse for them because their horse is taller than my horse. Ya know what? It sucks when your butt parts ways with your saddle no matter the size of the horse. Especially if you are moving forward with any speed at all. Like we were, at the canter, when I decided flying was preferable to riding. It turns out that I cannot fly.
So what happened to make me fly? I am pretty sure that I was trying to grip with my thighs as well as hunching over and just threw our balance way off which may have caused Sox to trip and stumble. When he stumbled, I was pretty sure we were both going down. He must have thought the same thing too because he then popped up real quick – he did a jump up – to save his butt from hitting the dirt – and that down and then up movement, so fast, just sent me flying off into the dirt.
I landed pretty hard on my side. Well, mostly my side. I know the side of my helmet was covered in sand and my neck and shoulders hurt a lot now (several hours later). When I first went to get up, I couldn’t, so I hobbled over to the mounting block and just sat there for a few. I could see that Sox was fine, waiting by the gate, the reins weren’t hanging too long or over his head, so I sat on the block for a few. Had to catch my breath because the wind got knocked out of me in the fall. I was about to cool Sox down when I fell off, but there was no way I could get back on – I was too dizzy – so I walked him into the barn and gave his reins to my trainer. I told her I just fell pretty hard and he needed to be cooled down. Trainer was cool with it. She untacked him for me too. After a while, I was feeling better and my trainer suggested that I try hosing Sox down and see how I felt. So I did, and things were fine. I did hang around the barn an extra hour or so to make sure I was ok before heading home.
Non-lesson rides this week: 2
Tuesday I also came out to ride. It was one of the first times I was pretty frustrated. My trainer laughed and told me that “frustrated” and “horses” are two words often used together in the same sentences. Sox was certainly being frustrating. I am sure I was frustrating him too, but he’s always been rather forgiving of my faults; that is part of the reason I decided to lease him. My trainer said today that Sox probably is looking at me differently now – my role has changed. I went from being the once-a-week-silly-lesson-human he let ride to his new stand-in mommy. I am now worthy of ALL his fun (And not so fun) behaviors, including pushing the limits and boundaries and not listening to me unless I ask correctly.
I could not get Sox to do anything yesterday. He didn’t want to trot, he didn’t like the trot poles, he refused to canter. It was very annoying. And I take full credit for not being a stellar rider myself. I know I need a lot of practice. But he has responded to my shitty aids before – and yesterday was no different from any other day!! So we didn’t get much done really, I spent more time walking around yesterday than anything else. (So i practiced holding my two-point position in the walk). Afterwards, he got a hosing down and then I let him graze for a bit. I took a couple of good pictures of him. After I was done with Sox, I took Lily out and groomed her too, and then I took pictures of all the other horses and shared my treats with them.
Today started off MUCH better. He was responsive and forward. He had a good trot going, he was willing to canter – too willing actually. He kept trying to break into the canter when I was trotting around in circles between canter laps. We did some basic stuff: posting trot, two-point at the trot all the way around the ring a few times and over some poles, sitting trot, all the trots in circles, and a few laps of canter in both directions, both sitting and in two-point. Then I took off my stirrups to do the same without stirrups. It’s hard work, but I enjoy it. It helps my seat a lot. Everything was fine. I was having a bit of trouble keeping the canter going though. Both with and without stirrups. It’s probably me leaning forward or pinching my legs. I was actually quite conscious of this fact going into that last canter lap. I was telling myself to put my shoulders back and to breath….and then BAM. Out of the saddle!
Surprisingly, I am not freaked out by my fall. The last time I fell (like a year ago), it really shook my confidence. It helped in some ways – it relaxed me a lot on the horse because I had that big scary first fall out of the way. But it took a while for me to not have all that adrenaline pumping when I would get on the horse. Of course, I rode once a week then and had literally just started cantering and only on the lunge line at that point. I know falling is a part of riding. I hope to do it as little as possible. I am not as resilient at these young girls at the barn. I am only 34, so I am still sort of young myself, but I’m not bouncy and bendy like these teens. I also have RA and that doesn’t help either. My confidence has increased a whole lot since that first fall. I still need to work on my confidence in other areas, probably I will be a little nervous the next time I canter, but not to get on Sox.
I am taking tomorrow off. Originally, I planned to ride tomorrow as well but I am going to go to the beach instead with my mom, my son and my nephew. Plus, I think I will be pretty sore tomorrow. I am riding on Friday though – I have a lesson. I should be even more sore then. I was already going to be sore in the “i worked out” sense because I rode pretty hard today.
Well, happy riding to you. I am off to soak in the bath. I have some epson salts laying around somewhere….
~Auntie Chi Chi~
ps. Here are those other pictures I took this week: