I really like Halloween. Every year I think about throwing a party of some sort and I admire the neat things I have saved on Pinterest for said party. But every year I’m a) lazy and b) unwilling to spend the money. Oops. I didn’t even decorate for the season this year other than my mantle and throwing a “happy halloween” rug in front of my kitchen sink. Normally I at least buy some pumpkins/indian corn/straw bales and try to make the yard look more festive. Not this year…this year I was too focused on staining/painting the deck. (A much more solid plan in the long run really.)
I did decide to take a half day on Monday and spend it doing something fun, though not obviously Halloween like. I went to lunch with a friend, then while she ran errands around town, I went home to straighten up my house some (I basically started the dishwasher…) and then I went outside in the sunshine and cleaned up our yard where the dogs live (scooping dog poop on an afternoon off is an afternoon well spent). The dogs were enjoying basking in the sun, as was I.
After a while, A finished her errands in town and met me at the farm to watch me ride. While Copper and I have been doing well this year, I’m still not at the place where I want to do WTC rides out in the open field by myself. I knew L and I wouldn’t be riding together since she was likely taking her son trick or treating, so having someone there to watch me ride was nice. Copper is generally the same horse whether or not I have someone riding with me, so the added physical presence of another human just helps me not to get nervous and in turn, keeps him from feeding off my nerves.
Apparently my nerves should’ve been a touch higher, because I decided to do something out of the ordinary and canter Copper up a little hill in our “arena.” He has previously cantered this hill fine, but apparently the odds were not in my favor because somehow I ended up on the ground. All I know for sure was the he was on the correct lead, then swapped on me on the hill, throwing me up on his neck. I think I was kind of already in a sort of two point to get off of his back going up the hill, so the added momentum of swapping leads kind of threw me on his left shoulder, where I quickly realized I was not going to stay, so I let go and bailed off. As usual, I landed on my backside, which is appropriately cushioned to take falls. The only thing that was scary about this fall to me was that I kind of flung myself off in front of him. Luckily he seems to value my life and put on the brakes in order to avoid stepping on me. Thanks Copper. You kind of could’ve utilized those brakes before I fell, but whatever, I’ll take it.
The surprising part of all of this was that I wasn’t very rattled. A jogged down to grab Copper (little turd ran into the barn as if he were done…hahaha…) after I confirmed that I was fine. I did drag my inner upper arm on my saddle on the descent, so it is a pretty shade of purple. My heel is also bruised/injured in some way that makes my walking humorous to everyone but me, but I crawled back on him and we went back to trotting in the direction that I came off.
I did kind of rush into asking him to canter again and he got the wrong lead both times. At this point he was getting a little fired up and light in the bridle/his front end. Joy. So we trotted a while to rediscover his brain and I cantered him the opposite direction, and, while quicker than usual, was much improved compared to the opposite direction. I really wanted to quit with that, but I knew I couldn’t. So we reversed and I cantered him the opposite way and he finally got the correct lead. I was relieved and he was obviously proud of himself, because even when I stopped pushing him and said “trot,” he kept cantering, kind of like a hot jumper would when looking for the next jump. Side note: we will not be attempting that discipline ever.
So after getting him to break down into the trot, we walked around to cool out a bit before calling it quits. A was very surprised that I got back on him with the attitude that I did, and I’m surprised that I wasn’t more nervous about asking him to canter again. I think it helped that I felt like he was as surprised that I came off as I was; it didn’t feel like he meant to put me on the ground.
A did get some good pictures before I flopped off my horse. I thought he was riding more uphill until I got to this picture:
I think it is safe to say he still wants to be a western pleasure/hunter under saddle versatility horse…though he has uphill moments like the earlier picture. Overall we’ve definitely made progress this year despite being mostly on our own. I can’t wait to start dressage lessons with him next year. Making his training a priority after two years of pouring money into Paige’s ovaries and his broken legs will be a refreshing change.
ALSO, a helmet PSA:
I was glad that I was wearing my helmet even though my head didn’t touch the ground. I haven’t come off a horse in…six years? The last time was off of three year old Copper. I was not wearing a helmet then. I have gotten more intelligent with age I think. Also, helmet comfort has come a long way in the last ten years. If you don’t wear one because you have previously found them hot or uncomfortable, I recommend you shop around and try them out again. I love the look of mine and while I’m often sweaty under it when I take it off, I never feel hot in it while I’m riding and honestly I don’t even notice it when I wear it anymore. Please friends, wear a helmet. Mine is a Troxel Low Profile. You can buy it here.