Saturday, November 30, 2013

The One Where I Fall Without Falling

I'm by no means to the point that I'm anywhere near running out of new experiences to have with horses. Nevertheless, it's not that often now that I encounter a scenario entirely beyond my experience.

But today I had one, and I hope it's the only one of its kind I'll have for a good long while. Today, Steen fell over while I was riding him. And it wasn't a 'fall to the knees and get up again' kind of fall. I've experienced those a handful of times. This was a fully fledged tumble, and it happened at the lope. One minute we were cantering along, the next we were both on the ground.

I'm not clear on what happened. We are both pretty ok. He has a sore rump, I have a sore rib-cage/shoulder girdle. Brian was off down the strip, so he didn't see. I know it was fast. I felt Steen's inside hind foot slip, and then we were down. Then Steen was up again and I could feel the get-down pulling through my belt, so I got up too. By the time Brian loped back up, I'd unlooped the get-down and was standing there with Steen while we both tried to recover from the shock.

Up until the fall, we'd had a great day. We rode Laredo and Zoey first. It was a beautiful November afternoon, sunny and in the 40s. We were all basking in the mild temps. The first ride was good except both Laredo and Zoey are struggling with minor offness. Laredo gets tight on and off in his left haunch. We can't figure out what causes it, and it's not anywhere near making him lame, he just doesn't bend as well when he has to support himself on that hind leg. Zoey has this pseudo-favoring on the right front that comes and goes seemingly at random. And they were both hot, and potentially tired from our longish ride yesterday. We rode  for 45 minutes, mostly walking and keeping things quiet.

Then we got Bear and Steen and headed out. There was a big tractor on the horizon working along the fenceline, and Steen watched it from time to time as we did our jaunt around the fields. Hunting season is just around the corner, and there were people out doing target practice on some of the surrounding land. I am not a fan of the sound of gunshots, and neither is Steen. He stayed with me the whole time in spite of being a tad edgy. At the end of the ride we had to pass a truck and some people. I could feel his nerves. Still, he held it together. A minute later, we loped up the strip he was balanced and soft in my hands. In spite of his uncertainty, he never did anything other than what I asked.

We made it back to the strip, and it was there I thought I'd canter a few easy circles. Over the years, I have ridden my share of unbalanced, sloppy canters. This was not one of them. Steen was balanced and moving nicely. He didn't spook. The footing was fine. We did a few straightaways. I nudged him into a circle. We did one full circle and then boom.

So, I don't know what to think. I'm not sure there's much I could have done to prevent the fall. I wish Brian had seen, or we had it on video, because I feel the only real benefit of having wrecks on horseback is what you learn from them. I'm not sure what my take-home lesson on this one should be.

At least we are both ok. That is the important thing.


Ride Time: 0:45
Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback Hours YTD: 188:40

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