A Cowgirl is a Woman With Guts and a Horse

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another gorgeous Fall Day! While Brandon and Kestrel returned to the Fall Festival, I made my way over to see Lilly. Brandon was actually volunteering in a tent that sells burgers and hotdogs. For all the vegetarians in this town, you'd think the line for burgers and dogs would be insignificant. Wrong. It is always a mile long.

At Bill's, Lilly was across the pasture and it took me forever to get her. Bill got Cody ready and we set off down the road toward a trail not on Bill's property but in the other direction. I never go this way alone because it involves skirting people's property (and I don't really know the people) and also because it's not all out on a trail. Some of it is along the road. But I have always liked this ride because it is so different.

We got started by crossing this creek. Maybe it is actually a river. There was not a ton of water it in, so it wasn't too challenging. There's Bill asking Cody to cross.

A branch was hanging right in the way. Many of the trails we ride on have obstacles like droopy branches. I have gotten better at ducking at the right time.

Then for a while we followed some power lines. The leaves were really colorful there. Lilly spooked a few times. She'd hear Bill's lab Sally crashing through the woods nearby and think it was a cause for concern. Her giant eyes were peering around at everything. She did have extra energy too...which I attributed to her being on a path less traveled (by us anyway) and therefore scarier. It has been a long time since we have done this ride.

It really felt like every moment was a great photo opportunity.

I think if Bill were a country singer, this would be a good album cover.

When we make this ride, there is a part of it where you are truly riding into this. I always get in there and think Where the heck am I going? And halfway through Lilly starts to have a meltdown. Not a big one, very tiny in fact, but I feel her starting to think, I. Want. Out. Of. Here.

But when you come out of that, this is what you see! So the reward is great. You go from total freaky insecurity, to having the world at your feet.

As I say, there were endless photo opps today. Bill was getting some video which I hope I will be able to post here on my blog.

After that we went on a snowmobile trail up the side of a mountain I had never been on before. It was dense and woodsy. Almost as soon as we started up the trail there was some fresh bear poop. Would I love to see a bear on the trail? Although it would be cool, I have a feeling Lilly would freak. So when I am in bear country, I make sure to jangle my bear bells. A lot. And Bill whistles. He is quite good at it. I am counting on the idea that no self-respecting bear would want anything to do with people on horseback.

The trail got steeper the farther we went up it. I can't imagine snowmobiling up that trail. It seemed awfully treacherous.
We didn't actually cross the mountain. We backtracked back down and then went through some cornfields to get some galloping in. The cornfields are nice because the ground is soft and the corn stubble makes neat little rows so you can gallop in a straight line. Lilly and I cantered for a few stretches very nicely. But then....
Right after this picture was taken Bill said he was really going to get a good gallop going. I love a good gallop so I had Lilly run right behind him. (In retospect, so dumb). We were going fast. I think as Lilly was galloping she decided she loved it so much that she would stop paying any attention to me. Simultaneously I realized that the gallop had exceeded my skill set and I was in over my head. I tried to arc her off to the right to slow her down. She refused. She gave me a buck and then another. For the first time ever since having this horse, I felt myself become airborne. Ooooh deeear. As I was sailing through the air all I could think was, I better not break my neck! Thank goodness that autumn cornfields have dirt that is so soft and spongy that it is a lot like landing on a mattress. Still, Bill said he heard a THUD and turned around to find me in landing in a slump! can you imagine? I heard him say with great urgency ARE YOU ALL RIGHT? but I couldn't even answer because the air in my lungs was gone! I had gotten the wind knocked out of me all right. But I was OK. It took me a minute to pick myself up. I was like a Bond martini: shaken, not stirred! Meanwhile, do you know what my brumby was doing? Here's what: making her escape and trotting across the field, up to the road where cars were going by, and on toward home! I thought of her making it all the way to the barn and Bill's wife Jackie looking out the window and seeing my horse run up with her saddle on and no rider! Hello, heart attack! After some assurance that I was really OK, Bill ran off to get Lilly and we were both glad when she got to a big field, turned and waited for him. It would not have been good for her to make it all the way home on her own terms. Cody and I caught up with them, I got back on Lilly and we finished the ride to the barn (which was quite close).
It was a good ride except for that part! But I confess now I am fretting that Lilly may have learned a dangerous lesson, that being that she can ditch me! Luckily, tomorrow is a holiday so I can go get Lilly and take her to the ring for some lessons on how to behave at a canter, and maybe even a gallop. I think that I cannot gallop in an open field until I am better at galloping. Trail gallops are one thing, but those open-field gallops are clearly a horse of another color.
I'd love to hear any stories of people losing it like I did today. Has what happened to me today ever happened to you? How did it happen? What did you do about it?


Anonymous said...

I doubt that she learned anything bad - she just had a yee-hah! moment and lost her mind briefly in the excitement of the gallop. And she really wan't thinking about getting you off - that's entirely too devious for a horse - she was just expressing with her body - bucking - how she was feeling - too excited to contain herself.

Mark Rashid says you can ride as fast as your horse can run - that is, if the horse isn't bucking!

Otherwise, sounds like a nice ride - that Cody is a good-looking horse!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm glad you are okay. I was just thinking the other day that I don't think I've done any loping or galloping this year. I can't do it at home, because there isn't enough space. I can't do it on the trails, because there are too many hikers, dogs and other horses. The only place I can do it is at the Fairgrounds, and I stopped going there because they built a motocross track across the street from it. The noise spooks my horses and gets on my nerves. I think it's better to enjoy the faster speeds in the warmer months. Spring and fall temps tend to bring out the ya-yas in horses.

juliette said...

Oh NO!!!! This is an awful scary post. Poor you! What an abrupt ending to a gorgeous ride. I am glad that you and Lilly are both ok. Sounds to me that Lilly wasn't being bad at all - just feeling the wind with her and was kicking up her heels. Doubtful you can convince her not to ever do that again - "fun" is difficult to train out of anyone, thankfully!!!! The faster I go outside of the ring, (as in anything faster than the walk - lol) the more I think about the horse stumbling into a groundhog hole or sink hole - we have many. My grandfather, in his teenage years, snuck away with his father's favorite horse. He galloped him through a field and the horse fell into a hole and broke his neck and died instantly. My grandfather was ok, but scarred for life with the memory of killing his father's favorite horse. This story ruined me, I am sorry to say, about racing through a field. I suppose I could easily check the footing first, but if the horse alters its course, I would be terrified! I have been run off with before, and indeed hit a tree branch at stomach height and twirled completely around the branch and fell to the ground, but I am sure I was only cantering - it just felt like I was galloping because I had lost my stirrups and was a beginner and was scared to death! The wind being knocked out of you is the worst part. It just feels like you can't breathe at all, right when you need to get up and retrieve your horse and you can't even move. OH, how awful. What a worry about Lilly and the cars and road. I can't figure out how a horse can buck while galloping! That Lilly - she enjoys herself - I am sorry it was at your expense! Horses do have a tendency to race each other - their adrenaline is contagious. My mother's first horse was terribly smart and my mom was a beginner who thought she knew everything. This horse would wait until they were far from the barn and then wheel around and take off at a gallop and then stop abruptly. My mom would project off everytime. She also says that she would end up on his neck and be hanging on until he would stop and drop her. She was terrified - but it was also this horse that taught her to be a good rider. Lilly wasn't doing anything awful like that. Take care - I hope you aren't too sore.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

SO glad you are A-OK! That must have been scary. I know that moment when you are hurling towards the ground, it's enough time to think "PLEASE let me be ok" I'm sure Lily was just excited and the buck indicated that, and had no intent to de seat you. I too, am too nervous/cautious to gallop Laz (if he could) at all. He gets CRAZY with speed and it doesn't slow him down, it amps him UP! Sweet Lily just got excited and HOORAHed across that field. Next time, I would ask for a trot...see how she does, and maybe a light side by side canter so no racing happens???

Frizzle said...

Ooohhh dearie, what a naughty brumby! Ya know what, I think yesterday was just an annual Falling Off Day, cuz Brenna from the Solo blog just left me a comment that she went cartwheeling over her pony's head yesterday, too.

As others have said, I wouldn't worry too much about it -- these things happen and it sounds like your brumby was just having a "Whhheeeeeeee!! Running is FUN and I'm feeling so GOOD with the wind in my mane and....hey, where's my rider girl?" moment. Getting the wind knocked out of you can be scary, though, and I'm glad that you are okay and all in one piece!

I would practice doing an "emergency stop" where you pull the horse's head around to its side; when a horse takes off with you, pulling on both reins doesn't usually work, but if you can get the horse's head around to one side, you can eventually get her going in smaller and smaller circles until you gain control.

On a more positive note, though, what a gorgeous, lovely place to go for a ride! It makes me miss New England with all of its multi-colored autumn loveliness.

Oskar said...

What a beautiful place to ride!

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We'd love it if you would come over and check it out & become a member. It's a great new place for pet bloggers to find each other, and get an opportunity to be a featured blog!

Nubbin wiggles,

Anonymous said...

WOW I too took a good fall from my galloping horse on Sunday...my sister describe it an airplane without landing gear LOL. I acutally do not remember the fall itself, but we were racing a couple of people/horses across a field with a slight down then up slope. Somewhere in the down slope part I came off. My sis said it looked like I was gonna be able to hold on but then I just fell off. Someone even commented on how many times I rolled. I didn't get hurt at the time (or so I thought) and I was able to remount and ride back to the trailer. But later that evening I was really hurting. By the next day I couldn't move. I bruised both my shoulders, wrenched my knee, pulled my neck and twisted both my ankles. But I put no blame whatsoever on my horse. I need to learn to have a better seat. And although I'm getting around alittle better each day I'm still looking forward to riding this weekend again.

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