I knew I was out-kicking my coverage…
I won’t pussyfoot around- I fell off the little red mare during my lesson last week.
Here’s how it all went down:
After a pretty lackluster lesson last Sunday with Louie, I pretty much knew my trainer was going to have me ride the red mare during my lesson. My hunch was confirmed when I arrived to the barn and Louie’s owner was halfway tacked to take him out on a hack. The barn was busy and the lesson before mine was already running late. I grabbed the mare-rrari and started to prep. In the short span of getting tacked for my lesson, the vet arrived to look at a couple of the horses and the ladies who ride after me (they trailer in) arrived early in order to get one of their horses looked at by the vet as well.
I don’t know if this was a time-saving maneuver or what but my trainer told me to come on into the arena as soon as I was ready and join the lesson that was going on. The mare-rrari is best buddies with the mare who gets ridden in the lesson before mine so my trainer thought it would be a good fit just to join in.
The mare-rrari was a little keyed-up with everything that was going on but I wasn’t too concerned. I mounted and began a relaxing warm-up around the arena. My goal was to just stay out of the way of the on-going lesson because they were working on canter departs. The arena is pretty small and there were jumps scattered around so it made it a bit interesting to try and stay out of the way. My trainer was verbally encouraging the other mare to pick up her canter promptly and the mare-rrari tried to trot at the sound. I settled her back into a walk and we continued around. I crossed the arena diagonally and threaded a couple of the jumps, meanwhile my trainer asked the other rider for another upward transition. The mare–rrari broke into a trot, I started to post, and then she just BOLTED. She was scooting underneath me in a panicked gallop around the arena. I tried to sit up and relax hoping she would find her brain again and come back to me. We darted a lap, taking each turn at breakneck speeds. We took the turns so tight at the rails that the thought crossed my mind “this mare wouldn’t think about trying to jump these fences, would she?!” she didn’t, but after six tight right-hand turns, the saddle finally slipped around her side and off I went. I landed on my left hip/butt and then left shoulder and face.
I was able to hop up right away and nothing was seriously injured. The poor little red mare was still galloping around the arena with a dressage saddle hanging underneath her. After making sure I wasn’t injured, my trainer caught her and removed the saddle. I grabbed the mare who was still wild-eyed and blowing and just talked to her, stroking her shoulder to remind her she was okay.
We were all baffled over what had occurred. Thankfully, the other mare behaved like a champ and only spooked once when the little red mare first started bolting. My trainer asked me again if I was ok. Once she was convinced that I was in one piece, she re-saddled the mare-rrari and started to lunge her letting the stirrups hang loose on the saddle to remind the mare that those noises and bumps on her sides won’t hurt her. After she started to calm down on the lunge, my trainer got on and rode her. She makes it look so easy. After a couple laps she told me she thought it may have been the “clucking” to the other horse that set her off because as she was riding around, the mare was still getting startled by a small noise her boots were making on the saddle.
Whatever it was, it sucked- like falling off a horse always does. Painful; publicly humiliating; loads of unwanted attention; unanswered questions; etc. I was glad I was able to stay on until I lost the saddle; I’m glad the mare is short; I’m glad we were in an arena with soft sand; I’m glad I always wear a well-fitting helmet; and I’m very glad I wasn’t hurt.
I’m not the type to be hesitant to ride again after a non-injury causing fall. I can write-off what happened to the circumstances of that moment and move on. Now, that’s not to say that I’m not hard on myself about it. I spent the whole hour and a half drive home stewing and fretting that I could have done something differently or that I had now ruined the red mare and/or any chance of me getting to ride her ever again. I will say that, in hindsight, the conditions were not ideal for me to ride the mare-rrari last wednesday. The barn was too busy, the schedule too rushed and crowded, and best believe I won’t use that particular worn-out schooling girth ever again.
I ate my big serving of humble pie and luckily, I am no worse for wear. Sorry, mom, if you’re reading this- I didn’t tell you before because, well, you know. I am fine, not even sore anymore.
In other news, I rode Sunny last night and he was well-behaved but still slightly off.
Hopefully this week includes less sand up my nose.