The weather here has been fantastic the last few days. I actually skipped out of work early on Friday and headed to the stables. I didn't care if there wasn't going to be anyone there to ride with me. I just wanted to be out in the warmth and with my boy.
I found him half asleep standing in the sun with one of his roommates. He was very snuggly when I went to put the halter on him. As I put him in the cross-ties, his eyes started to close and his pink lip started to quiver ever so slightly. I rubbed and scratched him in all the right places. Half way through my grooming routine, AT came in the barn. She was on her way to get her pony and asked if wanted to join her out on the trail. Of course!!
Off we went. The snow was deep and heavy, but the sun was shining and it was hovering around -2C. We just walked around the property, chatting away. Horses came up to us a couple of times to check us out; no incidents. Gem was very well behaved and was a big baby when I was grooming him after our ride. He snuggled me and dozed off with me rubbing his pink lip. It was a wonderful afternoon.
Today, I arranged to meet up with two other riders at the stables, RB and CH. We tacked up and headed out to the water tub just inside the pasture fence. As Gem and I were standing waiting for my riding mates to mount, a couple of horses came in from the pasture for a drink. Gem started to get a bit anxious and pawed at the ground. I have never seen him do that before. "Oh, he's probably anxious to get on with the trail ride," CH said. We walked away from the tub as a group, and then the two loose horses went one way and our group went the other.
As we stood together trying to decide which trail to take, Gem got all wiggly and then he kicked up his heels, hard and high. I didn't even have a chance to blink. The next thing I knew, I was flying through the air and hitting the ground. I hit hard, and I took a quick inventory of my teeth and made sure I could move my fingers and toes before I attempted to get up. I had a terrible soreness on the inside of my left thigh. He stood beside me for a brief moment, then turned and started to gallop across the field after his two new friends. I have to say he looked magnificent; tail up, long mane flowing. CH and RB got off their horses and helped me up. RB walked after Gem and eventually brought him back in. RB said that when he caught up to the group, it was like they were standing around talking about the weather. RB had no problem gathering up Gem's reins and he was easily led away.
We all went to the arena. I got back on Gem and rode for an hour. Gem was fine, his usual self. Eventually, my body started to stiffen up and I could feel a lump swelling up through my jeans where my thigh connected with the horn when I bounced off the saddle. Gem was fine when I unsaddled him and groomed him. He put his head under my arm as I rubbed his head. Could this be the same horse that just an hour ago had no regard for my personal safety??
What the heck happened today?? What could I have done differently? How do you convince a horse that he should be with you and not playing with new friends? How do you get a horse to chill out when you don't have an opportunity to lunge him or warm him up? When I think back on events leading up to my high flying act, there were subtle signs that all was not calm with Gem. He was a little anxious in the cross-ties. He rushed me out the barn door and I had to correct him. He did a little dance after I mounted him and I had to circle him a couple of times. He pawed the ground. Meeting the two horses at the tub just added to the excitement.
This is the second time I have ended up in the snow (see Faster than a Speeding Bullet) and it's the second time he has run after a group of horses. I am actually thankful that I fell off before he took off after the other two horses. But the fact that this event is so similar to the last time I fell off has made a solution to this situation a high priority. I don't want to be dumped on the ground - it's harder than snow! CH and the new boarder think I am one tough lady! They are 10 years younger than I am and can't believe my resilience - sometimes is pays to be round! RB had an interesting comment....he said that the only time he sees Gem running is when it's away from me!!! :-) I will have to discuss options with LA when I see her for my lesson this week. In the meantime, I have my leg elevated with an ice pack on it to keep the swelling down. Where did I put my vodka soda?????
What was I thinking.....?