Sunday, May 15, 2011
First fall of 2011
Friday Gypsy and I saddled up and went for the ride around the sand pit. It started off well but she was a little nervous. I decided it was best if I dismounted and lead her across the bridge that goes over the Little Ossippee river. I used to ride my other horses over it, but with Gypsy being so green I didn't want to take any chances. The guard rail isn't much of a guard rail. I had one driver be nice and wait but since I wasn't on the bridge yet, I waved him through. I had another driver who wasn't as nice. I was halfway across the bridge when he saw me and he still decided to drive up right behind Gypsy, almost on her hocks and follow us across the bridge. It's a horse, not another car, jerk. You can't tailgate a horse. Granted, I was in the middle of the bridge, but to me, that seems like the safest place to be with a green horse. This guy just couldn't wait the minute and a half it would take me to cross safely and had to push it. Thankfully Gypsy was fine with it, but it still made me mad. The trail head is right after the bridge so I re mounted there and went on our way down the trail. Gypsy was good about stepping over some branches and even broke into a little trot, which I stopped since I remembered her bucking spell last time she did that. After she calmed down a bit I ASKED for a trot and she trotted nicely up the trail. Everything was good until we hit the area before a little stream. Someone, the town or the sand pit's owners, I don't know who, decided they needed to put huge boulders in front of the stream to block the way to four wheelers, ATVs and such. I'm guessing they were doing too much damage to the fragile stream. Gypsy was horrified of those boulders. She's been down that trail before and since she didn't remember them from before she was freaking out about them. She refused to go forward. I pushed the issue and kept at her to move forward. I should have just gotten off and lead her by them at this point but I kept pushing and that's when she just flatly said "no, I'm scared" and spun and took off with me. She didn't go far before I turned her around but that made her have to see the boulders again so she started bucking. Since I was already unseated from her spinning, her bucking really dislodged me. I was able to hang on for a moment but she did another spin and off I came. I hit the dirt and refused to let go of her reins but I also didn't want to get stepped on so I kinda rolled away from her feet the best I could. I was always watching her feet keeping myself away. Thankfully I was wearing a helmet, not that I hit my head, but you never know what could happen with out one. She calmed right down once she realized she could step on me and then stood stock still. I got up, petted her and then dusted myself off. Before getting back on I took the time to lead her by the scary boulders and show her that yes, we can walk by them without getting eaten by them. I got back on and decided that the work they did to the stream would make it too hard to cross it. It was too much of a drop off, kind of like a v shape, and I didn't want to try and get dumped again so we headed back and around to another trail that takes you to the sand pit itself. We rode around the sand pit for awhile and then headed home. Crossing the bridge again went fine. I did ride her across and there was even a guy on a motorcycle who saw us and stopped and waited. He even cut his engine. After I crossed the bridge I waved him on and waved and smiled and said thank you as loud as I could. I like nice drivers who use their heads while driving around horses. I don't ride on the road much, but when I do it's to get to a trail, I'm on the road for maybe 500 feet, you would think that for that amount of space and time, people could be courteous, but not all are.
After my fall, as we were riding around the sand pit I was thinking about how maybe Gypsy might be too much horse for me and maybe I need a better trained mount. I was a better rider when I was younger and now I'm not the rider I once was. The more I thought on this the more the voices of past trainers popped into my head. My other horses weren't the best trained animals when I first got them but I worked hard and rode them to make them the trail horses they became. I got tossed and I got hurt but I kept going. Wet saddle blankets and time is all that can get a horse trained. It's not that I've become a worse rider, just a more careful one. That's fine, that's good, but I need to find a place in my mind between fearful and careful. I know my stuff and I know how to handle most situations with a horse. I need to trust myself and trust my horse. Though I didn't get hurt with this fall, it did make me think. I'll trust my instincts and get off if I think I should. Go slowly. Wear a helmet. Carry a cell phone. Tell people where I'm going. Gypsy is a good horse, she just needs more rides. I'm working on that. Maybe someday she'll be the trail horse that I want but for now she's a trail horse in training and I have to remember that. I can't push her when she's not ready for something but I have to help her learn to push through when she thinks she can't.