Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gravity Wins Again . . .

It was a good day with horses, particularly since I had my second fall off of Pie, and it wasn't too bad, although this old lady of almost 60 is going to be a little sore tomorrow.

But before we get to that, I did some experimenting today on offering softness to Dawn and Pie from the start in our rides, and the results were amazing.  In our warm ups, I was careful to offer a relaxed, following hand, and to take up the reins as quietly and softly as I could.  Both Dawn and Pie responded very well to this - I got no bracing at all with either horse in any gait.  Pie has tended to brace in the halt and back early in our rides, and there was none of that today.  I also tried very hard to direct him with my focus and legs rather than the reins, and his straightness was greatly improved.

Also, we had a visit from our excellent dentist, Mike Fragale, today.  Pie had been done earlier this year, but Red had missed Mike's earlier visit and needed to be done.  The last time Mike visited, Dawn had several fractured molars and he removed pieces of them - he checked her out and everything was good - the areas where fragments had been removed had healed, and there were no sharp edges that needed further attention.

As the old man who sold me Pie said, he's still a young horse and there's still a spook in there.  Pie is one of those horses who could care less about things he can see - equipment, flapping plastic bags, it doesn't matter, he's not concerned about it.  But things that appear suddenly, particularly on his left side (or this could be coincidence), can spook him, and when he spooks he makes a big move that often involves a roll back as well as a sideways move.

We were riding in the indoor arena, and a lady was working in the stall that was closest to one of the doors.  Just as we rode by, while she was in the stall, she suddenly stood up.  Pie instantly relocated about 12 feet to the right.  If I'd been sitting the trot (note to self: more sitting trot even though Pie's sitting trot is bone-jarring), I might well have stayed on, but I was posting and his move caught me in the up phase.  At one point in the fall, I had my leg in the left stirrup, Pie was well to my right and my right leg was in the air, and I was still holding the reins - not a very sustainable position.  I landed butt first, then hit my back and finally my head (and yes, I was wearing a helmet - I always wear one - guess it's time for a new one).  I wrenched my right shoulder and neck a bit by holding on to the reins too long - I got some dirt down my clothes since Pie dragged me a few feet until I let go of the reins.  After a few moments, I got back up and got him - he was standing about 20 feet away - got back on, and we did some more trot work in the area of the door.  He was worried about the "dirt angel" I'd made, but got over that fairly quickly.

Unlike my last, very serious fall, this one wasn't too bad.  The arena had just been dragged, so it wasn't too hard - although it felt plenty hard when I hit.  The body protector I always now wear when trail riding would have spared my lower back, but the soft arena surface was pretty good.  Pie wasn't too worried about my fall since I got back up and back on and he was able to do some nice work.

Gravity always wins . . .

27 comments:

  1. "It was a good day with horses, particularly since I had my second fall off of Pie."

    I'm assuming this is sarcasm. Fall off sucks! Glad this wasn't a repeat of last time!

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  2. Mare - not intended as sarcasm - just that I fell and it wasn't too bad, and the rest of the day was pretty good . . .

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    1. You a better person than me, Kate! Falling off RUINS my day...! lol

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  3. Ouch! But good for you for getting back on and having a nice ride!

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  4. Oops! Sorry to hear you separated from your horse. Can we call it an "Emergency Dismount?". At least there weren't a bunch of children watching.I hope there are no major bumps and bruises tomorrow.

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    1. No one was watching - even the lady who spooked Pie didn't notice. I didn't keep to the primary rule of riding - which is to keep the horse between you and the ground . . .

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  5. Ouch! So glad you are fine...and Pie, too. I have no wish to be discouraging, but this is exactly why I don't ride young horses any more. Even the very nicest of them (and I am totally sure that Pie is that) will spook from time to time. Its the nature of the beast. And this 55 year old gal doesn't want to lose that battle with gravity. (Not that Sunny NEVER spooks--but he doesn't spook often and can't spook hard enough to dump me--not athletic enough.) But I applaud your courage and persistence. You have a wonderful attitude! And Pie is quite obviously making a fine horse; glad you both survived this bobble OK.

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    1. Laura - Pie is still young and does have a big spook, and just reacts before he can think. Things that move suddenly seem to be his big bugabear. I may do some work with him to help him learn that he can spook in place without making a big move with his feet - I did some similar work with Dawn.

      Ah, young horses . . .

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  6. I'm not glad that you came off Pie but I am glad that it was a "routine" type of fall and you weren't hurt. Which isn't to say that you won't be sore tomorrow. We aren't teenagers anymore and even an easy fall hurts. Winston spooks at unseen things as well but fortunately for me he just scoots sideways, no roll back. I love teaching a young horse - when they understand something and you achieve harmony it just makes my heart sing. But, then they act like youngsters too. Sigh.

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  7. Glad you weren't hurt badly with this fall. All horses spook whether they're young or old. Blue is now 15 and got me good back in November. I guess you'll have some bruises tomorrow but at least you got back on, that's a big plus in my book. I find if I don't get right back on I'll build up in my mind all the horrible things that could happen again. I was always taught from the start of my riding that if you weren't in an ambulance with something broken you get right back on. Hope you don't feel too bad tomorrow and can still ride.

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  8. Well done getting back on Kate. Glad you're mostly okay. I know you'll work through this with Pie - you have the dedication and right frame of mind. Epsom salts in a soaking bath are soothing...

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  9. So glad that you are ok. Pie is really a good boy and you are very understanding of what happened. May you feel well enough to get on tomorrow!

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  10. ouch! glad you are ok. Gravity does always win... :-( I think a body protector is a good idea - I've been meaning to get one for trail rides too.

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  11. Eek,maim so relieved you are fine and was able to get right back on, for Pie's sake too!

    Even Woody, steady Eddie, has spooked on me. Pretty big one when some horses and riders "snuck up" on us.

    They are still horses, and it's tough to desensitize to the completely unpredictable ...

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  12. awe nut! Hope you are not too sore tomorrow!

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  13. we call that the "turn left switch" they all have one

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  14. You have such a great attitude! I am glad that your fall was fairly simple and didn't cause too much pain. I totally understand that 'relocation'. Isn't it amazing how quickly and how far they can move sideways?!

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  15. oh ouch but what positivity from you! Good on you and hope you're not too sore today.

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  16. Glad you are okay. It is amazing how fast horses can move. They are downright catlike.

    At 14, Harley pretty much spooks in place and his spooks are rare (I have ridden him with chainsaws and tree surgeons working all summer long with no worries from him), but he did a classic spin-and-run spook a little while back that took me by surprise (Work men were throwing bags of shingles off of a neighbors roof). You just never know, which is why it is always good to be prepared with a balanced position and a helmet!

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  17. Glad your okay, and kudos to you for getting back on right away.

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  18. Oh yeah, been there done that- love the way you described it with one foot in the stirrup and the other in the air and still hanging on to the reins- I can picture at least twice the occasions I've done that.... Glad it wasn't too bad and that you got on and rode again, I think it's just as important for the horse as it is for you. Spook in place training sounds like a good idea. I remember John Lyons mentioning that in one of his books- Communicating With Cues, book 2

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  19. I hope you're not too sore today! Some days I really do dislike gravity. Of course I did want to be an astronaut as a kid.

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  20. It happens, but I love your get-back-on attitude. Glad you landed safely.

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  21. I'm so glad you are okay. Even in a soft arena, the ground feels a bit harder than it used to - bravo for getting back on Pie! Take it easy though. I hope you won't be sore tomorrow. I'm sure you and Pie will work this out together.

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  22. Take some Tylenol or Advil and try to do a little light exercise. You may be more sore on Saturday, actually.

    Still, kudos for getting on again and not getting that fear back. Well done.

    Spooks are always hard to ride. But we must all remember the rule, "Keep one leg on each side of the horse and the horse in between you and the ground." Yeah, like it's really that easy. *G*

    Take care of yourself.

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  23. Sorry to hear about the fall, Kate, but so very glad that you are doing fine. Good for you for getting back up and on and working again. Tough to do, but perfect for Pie's psyche and really the very thing for your body. The more you can move the less bruising and soreness the next day and the day after. Spooks are the worst because they are so tough to anticipate. Especially big ones!

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  24. Kate, So sorry to hear about your fall! I chuckle at the word "relocation!" but that's what it was, and a big one - no one could have probably stuck on that one. I'm glad that you are doing well- good for you!! I hope the soreness doesn't last long.

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