Monday, January 19, 2009

I got bucked off today.

OK, that title is almost entirely inaccurate, but saying that makes me laugh so hard I almost wet my pants.

We are having a heat wave today, it is a balmy 16F right now. So I decided to ride the ponies since they have been on vacation for almost two weeks while we had temps as low as -33F wind chill. Sparrow got some ride time in once or twice but not much.

I wanted to test my bit warmer, and fit Mary's new English bridle, and try riding Sparrow in a bit for the first time. I decided to ride Sparrow first because he is the most difficult, physically, to ride. He is taller, narrower, and a lot faster. I also know he is VERY light on the mouth. I grabbed both bridles (I keep them in the house) and tossed my Bit Cozy in the micro for a minute, then wrapped both bits in the single warmer.

I also hauled my Aussie saddle out to the barn. Got that put away. Put Mary in the stall with some hay in front of her. Grabbed Sparrow and groomed him quickly, redid his tail (It is being kept braided and the braid folded up and vet wrapped so it can grow stupidly long) then put on his bridle. The bit was very warm, I gave it a second to cool so it was warm but not hot, and stuck it in his mouth. Upside down. *slap forehead* Pulled the bridle off, turned it over, put it back on. I don;t have a browband for this bridle and since it is just my back up bridle I'm not worried about it but yeesh.

OK, so everything is as it should be, I grab my dressage whip and drive him out of the barn then climb on. So far so good. He is playing with the bit a little but not over reacting to it the way he does when we ground drive. I take him around the pasture and when we go under the pear tree a low branch scrapes the shoulder of my snow suit. A full second later, after we are another 2 steps away Sparrow has a delayed reaction.

"HOLY CRAP!" he shouts, "What was THAT?" I have a hand full of mane to steady myself so I don't pull on his mouth if he gets jumpy and good thing because his back side dropped by 2 feet (neat trick when you are only 3 feet tall) and he shot forward about 5 feet in one leap. But, you know, my feet were on the ground so I didn;t really go with him properly. More like he ducked out from under me and left me standing there in a riding position. Because I was focused so much on NOT hitting him in the mouth with the bit I tightened up my hand in his mane, kept hold of the reins but held them slack, and as he bolted out from under me that turned me around and laid me gently in the snow on my butt. Still hanging onto his mane. Because, you know, he is really short. And I can lay down in the snow on the ground and still hold onto his mane.

I was laughing so hard that I think that freaked him out more than anything. I got up, climbed back on, took him past the tree again, and he was skittish but not stupid and I managed to stay on.

So I didn't ACTUALLY get bucked off. I didn't really fall off either. He just ducked out from under me, and then I fell down.

Once again, I wish I had that on film.

At any rate, he did fantastic aside from that little hiccup, and Mary's bridle fit perfectly (and her bit was just right when her turn came). And now I am so tired. Not from falling down, but just from riding them. It is really exhausting!

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