Thursday, April 7, 2011

My day of living dangerously

I fell off a horse for the first time in thirty years today. And I'm feeling achy and miserable this evening. But here's the irony - I am not at all achy and miserable from falling off the horse, it's because after I got home I tripped on a step on our front walk and fell with a hard smack onto the pebbled asphalt. So, my right palm and my left knee are achy and stingy and painful enough to make me want to whine where I skinned them pretty badly. The rest of me is suprisingly fine including my whole left side where I landed when I fell of Rolls-the-scary-Arabian.

It was one of those things that just happens and seems so ridiculously unfair. Rolls was in great spirits today. He seemed calm with me and happy and relaxed while I was grooming him. He even decided he wanted to play with me and leaned his neck way over at me to get me scratch it, and tried to take stuff out of my non-existant pockets when I cleaned his feet and was just generally being a fun, snuggly kid. I took him out to lunge him before my lesson and my instructor left to go take care of her ponies saying she knew I'd do fine with him, and I did! He listened to me really well and was incredibly easy to lunge. After I lunged him he was once again really relaxed and snuggly and goofy and happy.

S. was early for her lesson and I was late so we were going to ride together in the lesson with her on Gabi who is younger than Rolls, but generally much calmer. I was feeling confident and wanted to walk for a bit off the lunge line (even though I'm still not ready to be riding a spooky Rolls off the lunge line because my seat isn't good enough for his spooks). But it was sunny and calm and he was in a great mood so it seemed fine. And he was listening to me really well and I was proud of how well I was doing.

Until some dumbass up the street decided to rev the motor on his muffler-less car. I'm not completely sure what happened. I heard the noise but figured it wasn't that big of a deal, but then a split second later what I remember was Rolls was moving to the right really fast and kind of leaned over to the left as he did and it felt like I was literally just poured right off his back to the left. I think I yelled, "Damnit!" as soon as I realized I was falling, and then landed on my side and exclaimed, "Ouch! Shit!" then I heard my instructor yell something that led me to believe that S. might not be ok, so I sat up and looked to my left just in time to see S. laying on her back in the fetal position with Gabi bucking right above her. Luckily, he took off and she rolled away. I think my instructor was asking if I was ok, and I was surprised at how ok I was and was saying in surprise, "I'm fine. I'm totally fine," and watching to see if S. was ok.

Rolls is such a spooky, dainty guy that he danced off away from me as soon as I went thud on the ground - because that was probably scary to him too having someone "fly out of the sky" and land next to him. But then he stopped, but Gabi flipped out and was bucking like crazy and racing around the arena. Our instructor was trying to hold Rolls and calling to Gabi, so I grabbed Rolls for her and she caught up with Gabi and was able to calm her down. Gabi was freaking out for a minute or so longer which started to make Rolls freak out, but finally they calmed down. Luckily, S.'s mom was there making sure she was ok. Poor girl fell on her chest. Ouch! If I were her I would've had to be driven home and put to bed but these kids just bounce right back. Apparently Gabi started doing the bucking bronco act and S. tried to ride it out but as she put it "was being bucked up his neck and ran out of neck and just flew off" Poor girl definitely got the worst of it and I'm positive that Gabi would've been fine if Rolls hadn't been there and panicked and set him off.

But S. got right back up on Gabrielle and finished her lesson after I left the arena with Rolls so both of them could calm down and stop feeding off each other and our instructor lunged Gabi. I tried to do my lesson on the lunge line but it just wasn't working because Rolls wanted to chase Gabi and we had to keep making the lunge circle smaller and smaller until I was too dizzy to really ride correctly. But at least I got back on. The amazing part was it was not as scary once it was happening as I'd feared the last couple years. No matter how much I remind myself I have fallen off of plenty of horses when I was a kid and a teen, it still sounded really scary now as an achy old grown-up. But thankfully I had that experience riding the mechanical bull and falling off because it helped me not be so scared this time. In fact, it seemed a bit familiar.

What I need to practice though is letting go of the reins. Our instructor said I held on too long and could've taken Rolls down with me - which would've been horrible for both him and me - we both could've gotten seriously injured if that happened. I have a right mind to sit on the back of the couch and practice rolling off and letting go of some extra reins I have, just to get the body memory of letting go of the reins if I fall. I'm getting better at letting go of the lead rope if the horse spooks, but now I need to make it a body memory to let go of the reins.

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