5.18.2011

not part of the plan

We had two rides planned this week, the first included trying a new trail saddle during our lesson at Iron Horse. I was happy with what I saw, and more importantly felt. I currently ride in a suede seat, but found the glove leather to be equally as comfy and not remotely slippery. The skirt and tree were shorter, and saddle overall lighter. Both our trainer and saddle fitter were pleased with how I sat in it, my legs wrapped around Koda much better. We all thought it was the perfect saddle. However when I asked for a lope, instead I got a - whoa, a couple of bucks from Koda, the horse that has never offered a buck. Something is not right. 

No big deal, I sat it fine but Trainer Patty asked me to get off regardless. She rode him around before letting me get back on. They both thought the new strings on the saddle may have surprised him. I didn't think so, he's the type of horse you shake a bag at and he looks at you with "so what or can I play with it" but who knows, maybe? She reassured me they would work with the saddle & string tomorrow. In the interim, we tied the strings up and finished out a nice outdoor arena ride on a beautiful day. That made me super excited for the second planned ride - our first trail ride of the season! A golden opportunity to try the trail saddle again, before deciding on purchase.

We were invited for a three hour ride on a mutual friends property, whom we have to thank for introducing us to Trainer Patty. We hauled Koda & Nemo, Knight (her Arab), and a Fjord pony named Saunder, all in training. It was a gorgeous spring day, something we have had a shortage of this season.

We were greeted by Sue and her friend Shari, along with her seasoned Arab named Chance. All five of us tacked and warmed up our horses before heading out. Shortly after we came upon a steep sandy hill, great for working the horses. All of us went up and decided it was so much fun, we should do a repeat before we head out on the flat trail. What happened next, I'm still trying to come to grips with...

When I rode Koda down, he started to slide and the new saddle rolled forward and flipped up. I fell forward, and bumped my head on the horn (or something?). He got scared, started to buck and I lost my balance. I tried to get oriented and pull myself up, but once sideways on a strange saddle...I let go with a thud! All I could think of was please don't step on me, and thank god for the sand. Ouch. Eventually I caught my breath, and signaled that I was okay. Just stunned. What just happened? I was sitting way back, and have ridden many hills. After several "are you okay" and "thought you had it"...so did I, but...not sure who was more upset, me or Patty. She wasn't happy. They work hard to prevent things like this from happening. She was checking Koda, and easily rolled the saddle forward and the back of it lifted way up, no wonder... 

We switched saddles and horses. I walked back to the arena with Saunder sporting the new saddle. Patty walked Koda to help him work out his fear. Poor Koda, he really really scared himself. I couldn't convince them to go on the trail ride without me. I felt terrible that I had ruined our plans.

Eventually Patty & Brad went back to ride the hill with Koda & Nemo, and Sue and her friend stayed with me. I was surrounded by really kind hearts. They had been in my position, and didn't make me feel stupid. Even Saunder, who I had never met, was kind and gave me "feel better" muzzle kisses. What a sweet guy.  Once we all regrouped, I got back on Koda (with Patty's saddle) and rode a little in the arena before we all headed out on the trail. In all the years I've ridden, I've never fallen off a horse. Needless to say, it was not part of the plan. 
  
My back was really sore, not on the side I landed but instead on the other side. Not surprised, I twisted my back as my legs were flung over the saddle. I was worried about Koda, he was one big knot. We tried to enjoy the beautiful paths, but instead of soaking it up and snapping pics I was watching for another explosion, while he was tenderly walking and watching. I did get a couple minor spooks, but he did great on the bridge. Pretty sure we were both happy to get back to the trailer.

It was a tough nights sleep, and morning, but I am slowly feeling better. Still can't get it out of my mind. I look forward to hearing what our local experts find when they re-evaluate Koda, the saddle, and his odd behavior. It was no one's fault, stuff happens.

7 comments:

fernvalley01 said...

That sucks! Glad you were not too badly hurt and able to ride Koda again. Too bad but it sounds like thgat sadddle and Koda are maybe not a match

Shirley said...

Glad you and Koda aren't too much the worse for wear. My rule of thumb for saddles is that it has to fit the horse first, and me second.

Dreaming said...

Ouch! That's no fun!
I will have to say that Pippin did a few bucks the first time he wore my new saddle with long strings. But... it sounds like the saddle had more things going wrong for it than just some long strings!
I hope you feel better and that you only suffered a few sore muscles.

C-ingspots said...

Glad you weren't seriously hurt, or Koda either. I agree with everyone else, sounds like the saddle is to blame and is probably not the right fit for your horse. There are many, many saddles out there to try...you'll find the perfect one. Keep looking.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Sorry about your fall. Glad you weren't hurt badly. I posted on another blog this morning that saddle fit is very perplexing to me. It does sound like it isn't a good fit. I hope you let us know what your local experts think of it after they do their evaluation. I'd love to see a picture of the saddle where it flips up in the back like you described. I think I have that same problem on Misty's saddle because it is a little too big for her.

Jeni said...

wow really glad you both are ok, or will be. Saddle hunting/fitting sucks but in time you'll find the one.

aurora said...

Thanks everyone, for your kindness. I am turning pretty colors and feeling less sore everyday. I am very thankful to be okay, it sure makes a person think...

Once Upon, I wish I could get that picture for you - but the saddle is long gone. Hopefully our saddle fitter didn't drag it down the interstate (like she mentioned)! Visualize lifting the back toward the horses head, while rolling the saddle onto the fork (the horn is resting on the horse). That saddle went up really far, maybe 70 (out of 90) degrees?

More in my next post, it wasn't just the saddle.