Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Friday, May 18, 2012

In the Arena #122 - If it doesn't kill you...

Val and I parted ways this week. Unanticipated dismount.

I've spent the last couple of days eating ibuprofren like candy, and moving around very gingerly. Well, if I don't sugar coat, I feel like I got hit by a truck - but it could have been so much worse. Happily, I had my helmet on, as I might not be capable of typing this, had I not. Helmets are good.

The first giant horse flies of the season? They were buzzing us during grooming. Captain Outburst next door shooting something out of his mower as he rode up and down next to the arena? His timing is uncanny. Me paying more attention to a visitor to the farm, than to my horse? Probably. Me blocking my horse as I tried to get a trot transition rather than the canter? Definitely. I had second thoughts about riding when both horses spooked violently at my visitor's dog as she arrived - Val bolted, losing his saddle that I hadn't quite girthed up yet. (Hated, hated, hated watching my new saddle hit the dirt!)

It doesn't ultimately matter. After a nice warm up, I rode out a warning buck, but a few minutes later lost my seat as Val bronced across the arena. I remember me coming down and him coming up, and then knowing I was about to hit the dirt, just like my saddle.

I landed on my side quasi rolling, but still very hard. I turned over. Everything seemed to move okay. My vision was blurry for a few minutes though (concussion?), as I collected my bemused horse. I remounted, and rode for a half hour or so on the buckle.

I haven't fallen off for a couple of years. I've come a long way I guess. My reaction this time wasn't doubting my horsemanship or fearing my horse, but obsessing over what I could have done differently. Even though my former trainer isn't in the area for me to get lessons from, she generously makes herself available for telephone debriefing. Thank you E.!

Our conclusions were that falling off is inevitable, and more importantly, cannot be prevented. Falling off is a moment in time - the horse isn't obsessing about so neither should we. Our horses deserve 100% of our concentration and attention when we work with them. Anything less is disrespectful, and occasionally dangerous.

E. gave me some good advice (again) for how to move forward with our trot / canter issue, namely never let your horse know that what he's doing isn't what you wanted. Don't get upset. It's more productive to go with the wrong gait and then ask for the downward transition. Never let them see you sweat. Keep a light heart.

Bright side. I didn't break anything, or miss any work. It wasn't as bad as the anticipation - nothing ever is. If statistics mean anything, I'm a lot farther away from my next fall, than I was the other day. :)

Probably need a new helmet

Wish my ass had stuck to the saddle

Hand needed attention

Shiner on my hip

Later that evening - it's all good...


  1. Yeowch, that's a big shiner on your hip! I'm so glad you're okay and that your head is alright. Helmets are a beautiful thing.

  2. The advice from your trainer sounds very similar to what I get from ours. Good advice. I'm glad you weren't hurt badly and definitely get a new helmet. When you fall, you damage the integrity of the helmet. These things happen so fast -- one minute you are cantering along and the next minute you are on the ground or your toes are broken and you're thinking "what the heck happened?!"

  3. Ouch!! Definitely a new helmet, even if it still looks OK. Best thought is to just focus on what's right and ignore what's wrong, and then shape, as your trainer said. Glad you're not too shook up by the whole thing.

  4. Glad you are ok, although, I know you don't feel 100%. You must have hit hard. That bruise looks really sore. Ouch. Poor you and poor Val. I bet he was confused but then happy you got back on and rode him again. Sorry about the pain. That is the pits.

    I agree with everything your trainer said, especially the part about keeping the flow into whatever your horse interpreted from you ask, even if it is wrong. Smoothly going just makes them less worried and confused. I think that is hard for us humans to not "fix" everything straightaway.

    I also like what you said about the percentage that you won't fall soon being better now. I am embarrassed to tell you how bad my percentage is now. I don't like it one bit. When I was young, I would fall off so often that I always felt safe! Kooky. Now, it has been too long and my days are numbered.

    Love the rainbow - very apropos.

    Feel better!

  5. Sorry to hear about your unscheduled dismount. I hate those. Nice shiner, glad you were wearing a helmet. Like you said statistically you're good for a while longer. I went 11 years in between falls so I'm hoping I'm good too. I thought I needed a new helmet too so I got one but not before tearing the other one apart(just to see) and there wasn't even a hairline crack in it. I was so annoyed for ruining a perfectly good helmet. Anyway, get a new one to be safe.

    Hope you feel better soon. Have a good weekend.

  6. OW, it looks like you really got the bad end of the deal! I'm glad you're mostly OK... falling off sucks no matter how you do it.

    And yeah, time for a new helmet!

  7. I am glad that you are okay. Nice imprint pictures. Visiting dogs make me nervous, which makes Harley nervous. It is hard to be mad at them for getting spooky around a predator that looks like a wolf.

    Feel better fast!

  8. Glad you are ok. A hot bath in epsom salts will untie some of those bruised muscles.
    I will take a jumping fall over a bucking fall any day. When I get bucked off I feel like a giant hand just picked me up and threw me down on the ground.
    Good words from your trainer. It is sometimes hare to remember that mostly the horses forget the incident immediately.

  9. Ouch! Glad to hear you're mostly OK and have a good attitude about it. Love what you're trainer had to say about it. Everybody falls, regardless of skill level or experience. It's something we just have to deal with. If you're going to ride, you're going to fall sometime. I'm actually overdue for one. ;)

  10. Ouch! Naughty Val. I'm glad you're okay, although if you had blurry vision you should have gotten a check on the noggin, naughty girl! A local rider just died in her sleep a few weeks back. Turns out she had a cracked helmet, apparently she fell off her horse and didn't tell anyone and had a brain hemorrhage in her sleep. Better to be safe than sorry!!

  11. YEA! For helmets and being a lot further from our next unscheduled dismount! Glad you and Val are ok!

  12. Thank god for helmets! I'm glad that you have put your unscheduled dismount into such good perspective. Love the rainbow! A good omen to just keep moving forward, even if you're limping. This too shall pass.

  13. Dag C! You don't do it small from a horse like that!
    Bet it was painfull firstly, to see your new saddle go flying. And then you...with all the stuf going on around you, bless your heart for forward thoughts of riding.

    So sorry for your pains and also, so happy nothing is broken, save your helmet. Do get a new cool one!

    I know who is next on the call list...Chiro or massage! E does sound like a goodie to be briefed by!
    Your attitude is stellar .
    Praying for quick healing.

  14. Your rainbow is awesome...and this time, takes the place of your self photo

  15. So sorry you parted ways and your hip looks really ouchie but your attitude about it is great. It is inevitable but we would certainly like to avoid it as much as possible. I had a bit of wild ride on Coro yesterday, myself - I know if we'd had any kind of unusual stimulus he probably would have gotten away or out from underneath me. Please do get a new helmet.

  16. Glad you're okay! You already know you need a new helmet, but that new saddle you love that hit the dirt -- you need to check the tree, if you haven't already. That's enough to crack it.

  17. Oh, no - so sorry to hear this! Definitely get a new helmet, definitely do a quick and realistic assessment of what went wrong so you can learn and move forward.

    Epsom salts, arnica, and a little bit of time!

  18. WOW!! This post was like watching an action adventure movie! And that bruise! OOOOHHHEEEEEEE!!!! You go girl! Getting back up and riding after a plop like that! You are Super Girl! No, a WONDER WOMAN!And then the rainbow! It's like the universe is playing with you!

  19. Hope by now you are back to normal, and wearing a new helmet. :)

  20. OUCH on that hip shiner! So glad the helmet saved any serious injury! :) Falling SUCKS.

  21. I don't know how I missed this post, but I'm so glad you're okay!

    Your trainer gave you some good advice, although I'm sure it's hard not to sit and ponder what you could have done differently. It's definitely something we prefer not to repeat. A new helmet is a great idea!


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