Quick…what’s rule number number one regarding riding young horses?
Why can’t you remember the rules? It’s not like they’re that difficult!
Always be sure to wear your helmet. Yes, okay, that’s right. But what’s rule number two, then? Uh-huh…have someone handy for when the young horse says, “Pardon me, but did I give you permission to go there?”
Okay…so last night I climbed onto Jet; first time since the first time…which makes it the second time, of course, but it’s been a couple weeks, right? Or at least one. Whatever, it isn’t important. What’s important is that she was just so good! I got her to take a few forward steps, then did some turns, moving off the reins and getting used to my legs moving along her sides. Good, good, good girl.
So this morning, bright and early, I go out to milk Bessie. And as soon as milking is done, I bring Jet back in and saddle her up. Once again, she’s just a dream. We walked more this time, doing a few figure eights, stopping, turning, backing up. Not a lot, just enough for her to get the feel for me up there and begin associating my cues with what she’s expected to do.
Dismount. All’s well with the world. Right? Right.
Then there’s Sunny standing there looking at me. Challenging me. You know I can’t refuse a challenge. I bring her in and saddle her up. She tolerates me just like she does every day. She doesn’t want to be my friend like Jet or Quiet Storm. She wants me to disappear into a big hole and never show my ugly face to her again. But she tolerates me, and soon she’s saddled. I lead her around, I get her to pick up her front feet (huge, huge, huge accomplishment; wild horses are very protective of their feet.) And she does it all so well.
And…since she let Rufus ride her yesterday, I’m thinking that I ought to at least get my foot into the stirrup and lift my body up like I’m going to mount. I’ve done that before; she doesn’t like it, but she tolerates it. I layed my tummy across her saddle; she tolerated it. I ran my right hand across her butt so that it felt like a leg crossing over, then ran my hand down to the right side of the saddle and wiggled the stirrup.
She didn’t tolerate it. She jumped out from under me quicker than a cannon ball exits a cannon, and with just as much force. I was thrown off balance. I had the lead rope in my left hand and my left foot was in the stirrup as she jumped to the right. I was falling. My right foot struck the ground, but it twisted as Sunny pulled my left hand and leg forward. My foot broke free from the stirrup and my hand let go of the rope, but it was too late. My balance was lost, I was going down!
Had someone been out there with me, they could have been holding Sunny’s face and she wouldn’t have gone so far. Now I’m stuck with not only a twisted ankle, but a twisted knee and a huge knot on my knee cap the size of a baseball.
Ouch. Again. Only this time, worse. I had to stand on it for three hours as the horses had their hooves trimmed, then Darling had to enter one of her paintings at the fair. I should have known better. I should have waited to break the rule after the fair!
Avoid blurred, confused, shell shocked look by always wearing helmet and having an assistant handy when mounting wild horses.
So, that was my day. It was long and painful, but such is the glamorous life of a farm diva! At least I didn’t go face down in a pile of manure, eh?