can't believe it happened again

Our first trail ride of the season was in April, right off our trainers farm, with a group of eight riders. We knew our trainer, and assistant trainer Stephanie, the other four riders and all six horses were new to us.

As we headed out the driveway, and rode past all the scary mailboxes, barking dogs and rushing horses, we were thankful to have a nice man named Fred and his trusty 20 year old quarter horse in the lead.

Our trainers mount was unexpectedly wired. She was really surprised, he's been in training for a while now. He has trail ridden, but she has never taken him. We progressed onto a neighboring friends farm, riding towards the dykes. I was right behind Patty when her horse pulled a lone ranger, spooking at something beyond the trees. She hung on, and wasn't happy that Mr. Showhorse was acting like a nut. She proceeded to ride him off and on, but ended up dismounted much of the way.

We finally arrived. Up the sand hills we rode, through the grassy meadow, and out towards the water. It was pretty exciting, wasn't sure what to expect. Brad & I rode across a large pile of blue slate rock pieces that bridged the path, with water seeping underneath. Others dismounted, it was scary if your a horse. We rounded the corner and wow, are we really riding out there?

Heading out to the water

It was beautiful. I've never seen anything like it. We were about to be surrounded by water, as far as the eye can see on either side of a narrow strip of grassy land.

the strip
On the strip, surrounded by water

Patty warned us about the water rushing underneath one particular area on the strip. The water exchange makes a weird noise that scares some horses. Koda and Nemo wondered, but walked over it. Good horses, maybe they knew it was that or swim?!

We gave the horses a well deserved break after we all made it across safely. Not much water fowl to be found, but it was a breathtaking view.

taking it in
Brad & Nemo taking in the view

We left the serene area and headed back on the road encountering unusually heavy traffic, taking to the ditches, where ever we could. We were almost back to the farm when an oncoming white van that was going really fast decided to move back over, even tho there was no other traffic on the road. It swooshed over right next to Koda & I, and Stephanie and her mount, who were right behind us. Not sure if the horses had not seen the van, or more likely it was the energy it created - all I saw was a flash of white heading right towards us. Simultaneously both horses abruptly turned away towards a short steep dipped ditch. Stephanie and her horse stopped, Koda and I didn't. He went down, immediately up and I lost my balance - thud! I can't believe it happened again...I almost stayed on (famous last words) but was so off balance - I just let go. Koda was scared. 

I am very thankful that farmer tilled me a soft landing spot, my shoulder would have otherwise been in bad shape. After I caught my wind, I opted to walk back. Patty wanted to ride Koda, so Brad handed me Nemo, and he walked her spun up mount appropriately named Hottie. When we returned to the farm, Koda jumped scared as Patty got off him.  Poor baby.

I had no energy left to remount, and needed a mounting block, but I got back on and rode. We walked and trotted around in the arena. I'm not mad at him, it wasn't his fault. I simply lost my balance. It's just ironic, we rode all the scary stuff with flying colors - to fall off so close to the barn. I know I didn't stop riding, not with my current saddle.

I can't help but wonder, am I going to fall every first Spring ride from now on? I just feel so bad this keeps happening. I reminded our trainer how I have felt perched since day one in my saddle, it certainly doesn't help. It wasn't as bad of a fall this time, and I landed in a soft spot, but still...I fell off, again. It's only twice, but it's two times I would rather have stayed on. I know it's a risk we take, but something is not right.

The following week in our lesson, I rode in Patty's saddle, and also tried another. We briefly worked on auto-shifting weight after pretending to be off balance. I'm not sure where to go from here, but I'm too damn old to be hitting the ground. I have to figure something out...I might not be so lucky next time.


allhorsestuff said...

No sir, you're not going to fall every spring ! I'm sorry that happened, it was such a cool ride. But traffic is unpredictable and so is the horse's reaction to it! I may be a baby but, I would have walked that stretch, not wanting to risk it. Roads are precarious at best with horses.

I'm very happy you weren't hurt and Koda too.

Jeni said...

Rushing cars are very scary to horses. It's the flight instinct. I'm glad you're not hurt.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That is a beautiful place to ride. Sorry you had to contend with the road, and I'm glad you were able to make it back without further incident.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I'm just glad it wasn't worse. That's a beautiful stretch with the water on both sides.

juliette said...

So sorry you fell and glad you and your sweet Koda are ok. Traffic is so dangerous. The photos of your ride are fabulous - very pretty.

Shirley said...

Except for the ending, sounds like you enjoyed your ride- sure is pretty.
When I came off Gussie last fall, it was the same thing- I lost my balance when she was having a hissy fit and since I was riding my new Wade saddle with the slick fork, there wasn't anything to keep me anchored- do I baled.
Hope you find a saddle that suits your needs as well as fitting your horse.

fernvalley01 said...

You are doing well, and no you wont fall off every first spring ride, you will both just keep getting better. Hang in there, the right saddle will help, but look at all the ride you have had that went well, not just the ones that you fell

Wolfie said...

"... but I'm too damn old to be hitting the ground...." I hear ya. I fell twice a couple of years ago. My 53 year old body (at that time), seemed to take forever to recover. Glad that you weren't hurt.

aurora said...

Thanks much for all the kind encouraging words. I do try to focus on all the good stuff Koda & I accomplish together. There are riders that refuse to ride that stretch of road, I may join them. I'm hopeful my first spring ride next year won't make it three in a row!