Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The little girl fell off...

I don't have a lot of time as usual but I definitely wanted to write a brief report just to have a record of our progress - I'm trying to at least jot down anything even slightly resembling a milestone.  So on Sunday I fell off again which is a milestone in itself, but the important part to me is that Sunday was also the first day I rode Starbuck without longeing or roundpenning her first.  Ok, Ok, so in the morning we played with the ball for about 30 minutes and then I showered her and stuck her in the roundpen to eat lunch in a place where she could roll without getting covered in poo.  I mean, it wasn't like I took her straight from her paddock to tack up or anything.  But she had a good few hours between any exercise she might have had in the morning and when I rode her, so I think it counts.

At any rate I was riding her in the big arena and there was lots of crazy going on - little girls shrieking and shaking the arena fence, the retirees running around outside, the lesson horses whinnying to their buddies in the paddock, the kids in the jump class all amped up since it's show season... you get the idea.  When we were on the scary side I apparently thought it was the perfect moment to ask Marina about something completely unrelated.   And surprise, surprise - the second I was no longer focussing on Starbuck, she stopped focussing on me and started focussing on the big scary monsters lurking below the house.  A good lesson for anyone riding a young horse - tune in and stay that way... if you're bored with the ride they will be too and will look for diversion elsewhere.

When the stable handyman came rushing out of the storage shed beneath the house, she not surprisingly spooked and cantered halfway across the arena.  So far so good, but  something triggered a bucking fit (I'm not sure if it was because of my seat banging her back from not being prepared or if it was my hands pulling back on the reins) and I lost my balance.  Luckily I picked my moment well and fell flat on my butt so I was able to bounce right back up!  To calm both of us down before getting back on I hand walked her all over the arena to slow down my heartrate without giving her a "reward" for bucking me off and yielded her hindquarters a couple of times.  Then I mounted back up and finished my ride (although I have to say I chickened out and stayed on the "safe" side).  Next time I have to remember to grab mane and circle, grab mane and circle, grab mane and circle, without leaning too far forward in suspension.

Anyhow that's the story of my 3rd fall off Starbuck... which means I've got 4 more to go (at the very least)!  Although maybe I could start spreading them out some more... ;)

The title of this post btw is an allusion to a song my little sister made up when she was maybe 4 years old and would get scared every time I went to my horseback riding lessons.  Some day I will share it on interwebz, until then you will just have to live in suspense.

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