At my age, out of practice, long absent from the scene…..jumping back in, it was bound to happen. I’ve been stung & dumped. Dumped from my horse that is.
In fact, I’ve been dumped twice in two days over the past weekend. Some of it was my fault. I tend to jump in with both feet, I can act impulsively, and buying Casey certainly proves that. I’m not unhappy with my decision. Yes, she’s a lot of horse, yes she’s got some anxiety issues, she’s green, she’s a challenge. But so far, I’m ok with that. (not that I haven’t had moments of questioning my sanity and wondering if we’re right for one another).
Dumped from my horse
I discovered pretty early on that my horse is quite herd bound. I’m not completely sure what to do about it (though I have some ideas). She goes out fairly willingly with a group but I just knew she was going to have trouble on her own. Still, only one way to find out so Saturday I decided to just try to hack her out by herself. I knew almost immediately this was going to be a challenge. The farm backs to state parkland and the path to the back gate is through a long field. We barely made it half way up the first hill and she was hesitating, getting anxious, stopping a lot, sideways walking. But we managed to crest the hill and headed into the back part of the field. And that’s when she chose to make her stand. Urging her forward resulted in her attempts to go sideways (‘but Mom, I’m moving my feeeeeet!’); correcting her forward caused to her to go lateral the other way. Constant correction to try to maintain forward momentum finally resulted in her ‘hopping’, pawing the ground, and generally becoming very agitated. Mind you I’ve only been on her a handful of times so far, and I’ve not been on a horse in 20 years. so I decided to dismount and lead her the rest of the way through the field to the back gate.
Here she is on one of her many ‘breaks’ – head up checking her surroundings sure a huge horse eating predator is going to leap out from behind a tree
Upon exiting the field, I needed to get back in the saddle. There is a stack of blocks to help with that and I climbed on, got Casey positioned, put my foot in the stirrup and heave uuuuup. Um, not so much, the girth was not tight enough. Back on the ground, adjustments made, dancing horse, trying again, I over compensated and pretty much threw myself up…….
and over as she started off.
This was not her fault at all. Yes she could have stood completely still, but her motion was forward and not abrupt and I went off her FORWARD so it wasn’t her. It was me.
Thank goodness I landed somewhat softly (UGH) and was able to get up and still walk. (remember now, I’m not the spring chicken I once was)
Casey ran off through the woods but stuck to the fence line – remember, she’s herd bound. She had no desire to run off, and not a lot of desire to come to me as I was the one taking her off property to begin with, but after a few minutes she determined the gate was the only way to safety, so back she came.
I determined we’d both had enough of that ‘test’ and maybe a little ringwork would serve us better. Back through the gate, up on the blocks, back in the saddle, halfway through the field and she was so worked up she was up on the bit, prancing and carrying on, so I got off and lead her back. We did a little ringwork to end on a ‘good’ note and called it a day.
Cue Sunday and more adventures in landing softly, this time with some added excitement.
I had no plans to ride on Sunday.
I arrived at the barn planning on a grooming session and back home to help my son get ready for his first day of High School. (HIGH SCHOOL! I know, right???) Another gal was arriving at the same time and invited me to ride with her and a few others but since they weren’t leaving for a little over an hour I declined. Then an hour later I was just about to turn Casey back out when one of the other gals asked if I wanted to come, they were leaving in a few minutes. Oh what the heck I thought – I knew (pretty certain) that Casey would hack out in a group and what a great way to put events of the previous day behind us both soooooooooo, I said yes.
Casey was wonderful. Only slightly hesitant heading down the back field, someone else took care of the gate, so I was able to stay in the saddle, and out into the woods we went. One of the gals was testing her horse in lead but he wasn’t happy there so I moved Casey forward and to my surprise she went! She never really hesitated though she looked sideways at a few things and snorted here and there. Until we got to a small stream. That took some coaxing, she danced around a bit and I thought we might have to have someone else go across first – but then – she went ! She is building confidence! YAY us!
Somewhere a little further up the trail we all stopped (4 of us riding) and someone else took the lead and we ended up third which was great to give Casey a mental break. That ‘break’ didn’t last long as the lead horse went over an underground bees nest (yellow jackets), they woke them up, the second horse started getting stung and stopped after a couple of steps to properly freak out which left Casey and I standing right about on top of the nest (I’m guessing).
And THAT is when all hell broke loose.
Dumped and Stung
I can hardly describe the chaos that ensued with Casey being lit up by yellow jackets, coming up off all fours, head practically between her legs, and spinning wildly in a circle. I stayed on far longer than I could have imagined. But off I came, quickly scrambling through the sticks and leaves to get out of the way of a thousand pounds of terrified horse flesh. I think half the nest of bees came wit me.
The girl in front of me was dumped from her horse as well and Casey and her horse took off like greased lightning back in the direction of the farm. I took off too, trying to get the bees off of me…they are quite persistent little buggers. They were stuck in my hair, down my shirt in back and front, and stinging me to their little vicious hearts content.
I was traumatized. Seriously.
And I still had to walk ALL. THE. WAY. BACK. TO. THE. FARM. Up and down some big hills, through the woods, over a small stream…..did I mention that I’m overweight and out of shape?
It was a party all right.
Both horses were standing at the gate waiting for us when we got back. Poor things. Casey banged up her legs some and was completely worn out. So much for a confidence building ride.
Tomorrow’s another chance though – right?
Until then I’ll just be over here itching. And scratching…..
and counting my bruises and bee stings.
Yes, you heard me. Counting my BLESSINGS.
I know I’m blessed to have this opportunity to own a horse again – and despite everything, I’m so happy I made the leap!
I mean JUST LOOK at that face!!