The last time I fell off was 3 years ago, when I fell and dislocated my clavicle. There have been a couple of close calls, and near-panic-attacks at it almost happening when I started back in the saddle after the injury. But Cally’s a pretty solid citizen now, and my riding has gotten pretty decent, so there haven’t even been a lot of close calls lately.
That all changed today. I had my usual Monday morning lesson, which worked out even better than usual this week, since it’s supposed to get ridiculously hot the rest of the week, and the farrier is coming Wednesday, our other possible lesson day if the weather doesn’t cooperate with Mondays. Things started off really well, keeping it simple, as I warmed up while Holly set a gymnastic grid for us, and adjusted a couple of other little fences, since she likes to mix grids with a fence or two that are single long approaches. Cally felt great warming up, if slightly lazy, but woke up and was feeling great as we started jumping. Like, nailed the warmup fence every time, and the long approach to the cool strawbale single that looked huge but rode really well.
Then we moved on to the grid, did it twice pretty low, then Holly put the fences up, and it rode pretty great the first time through, with Cally feeling super happy to be jumping something that required her to actually jump.
The second time through I felt like I rode poorly to the oxer out, and so I came around to do it again before we added it in to some combinations with the other fences. We were nailing it over the middle fence of the grid when the BACK RAIL OF THE OUT OXER CAME DOWN ON ITS OWN! Presumably all of you reading this are acquainted with horses, and how well they deal with random weirdness. Which is to say, not at all well. I mean, obviously there was a ghost in the ring mucking with that fence, and she was NOT having any parts of that, and did a pretty damn impressive stop in the one stride between the vertical and the oxer. Momentum, however, was not on my side.
Cally seemed somewhat more horrified at me being in the footing than she was at the fence, and just sort of stood there until Holly assessed my condition then grabbed her. As you can see, I did my best at making it over the oxer on my own, but ended up landing butt-first on the brick wall. Thankfully, not on my shoulder, but somehow that bell boot laying by the jump standard ended up velcroed to my shirt. But, I was not panicking and crying and hyperventilating like I’d had happen a couple times when things got dicey immediately post-shoulder issue. So, while I now have a giant bruise on my ass, it is easily covered by clothing, and I am not really any worse for the wear.
I hopped back on, and Holly made the scary haunted oxer into a little crossrail behind the boxes with no back rail, and we trotted over it, with Cally still a little spooky and jumping it about 3′ high anyway, but she went. To finish on a strong note, Holly had us do the long approach to the haybale jump again, and that went well, so we ended there.
I feel like finally falling off again, which is something that inevitably happens as a rider, is a good thing to have had happen. And really, this kind of no-fault circumstance is probably the best way for it to have happened, because you certainly can’t fault Cally for spooking at a rail moving on its own. I’m going to be a bit sore tomorrow, but hopefully feeling fine by this weekend. We’ve got plans to go do Canter For The Cause at Pimlico, which should be a blast.
And I think next weekend we may try to go up to McDonough for their local MHSA summer show, and try doing the Adult medal, and the Adult Eq division they have. Courses there last summer were very inviting, and it definitely looked like a soft 3′, which should be what we need to get our toes back in the bigger adult eq stuff, which we haven’t really done in a while, with concentrating on sidesaddle, and her being out hurt half the year last year.