I had a very lucky escape from injury the other day. I took Savanah for a bare back ride on the beach, our first ride on the beach since last fall. It was windy, snow was flying and she was VERY up for a trip to the beach. Maybe I should have taken all this into account and waited for a calmer day (or used a saddle), but the weather's been terrible, meaning the ring is too wet to ride, and Rogo needs to be lunged or ridden more regularly before I can take him out. He gets very excited outside the ring, meaning he needs more of it, but I have to do it safely.
I've ridden Savanah bare back a lot and feel pretty much as safe without a saddle as with one. She's broad and well balanced. I love riding her bare back - I feel such a connection and can work on my seat, not to mention having a nice heated seat :) So, off we went. It was fun, fun, fun. We did a big trot for a long way up the beach and it was nice to note that I can sit easily, since I still can't sit Rogo's trot a lot of the time (I think it will get better as he gets rounder). After that we rounded a point onto another small beach and had a great canter. Savanah was blowing and snorting and raring to go, so you'd think if there was going to be a problem I'd have it then. That part went really well though and I was grinning from ear to ear. I decided we'd done well and brought her back to a walk and turned for home. We always walk home because otherwise she hurries. Just as she turned she saw something that made her spook and I wasn't paying attention - we were walking safely home right? Off I went, but oddly, I went off in the direction of the spook - maybe because we were turning and I wasn't sitting over her center of gravity properly? Anyway, I went off and under her and she stepped on me. She's very big - a draft cross who truly shows her draft. Miraculously I wasn't badly hurt. I must have sunk into the sand some as she stepped on me, and she must have had lightening reflexes and shifted her weight off me. She completely froze in place and I was lying completely underneath her. I thought for sure I'd have broken ribs but I crawled out and realized I was just a little sore and shaken. There was a sandstone outcrop beside us and I led her over to it and she leaned into it to try to make mounting easier. I jumped on and we walked home. I think I have a guardian angel (the one who looks out for fools).
Honestly, the ride was so much fun until that happened that I don't even feel bad about it or regret it. I can't wait to go again. We've had Savanah for five years and it's my first fall off of her. She's very safe and it was just bad luck and probably bad judgement to go that day without a saddle. Oh yeah - a plug for helmets - I was wearing mine and hit my head on a rock hard enough that it hurt afterward, so I shudder to think of the damage that would have been done without a helmet. It's time to replace it.
Then, another story. My teacher Joan has had two Arabians, half brothers Razim and Fadin, that she's had since they were weanlings or yearlings. Razim died the other day with no warning. He was only seventeen. Fadin has never been separated from Razim in all his life. Joan asked if Dan (my Appaloosa) could come up and stay with Razim for awhile to keep him company, so we took him right up. Dan was wonderful - Fadim was on edge when we got there, but Dan was stabled beside him and stayed very calm. After being beside one another all night we turned them out together in the morning and they were instant friends - running and playing. We had made two piles of hay, but they just ate out of the same pile. That evening Dan went into Fadin's stall with him and they were in there eating together calmly and happily. I know this isn't safe and Doug went in and got him out right away ( I wasn't there but I guess they weren't expecting it), but it seems incredible to me that they could be so relaxed together so quickly. I don't know what we'll do longer term, but we won't worry about it for now.
Today my friend Lynn's daughter Jessie came over to try our saddles as she's shopping for saddles for her three horses. It was great to see her. She's a great rider and although only about 5 ft. (+?), she's backed and trained a 17.2 Swedish warm blood and several others too. She's in the process of training three warm bloods now and I think she does a great job. She may come back with her horse Elvis soon so we can ride together.
A final note - if you're following me and I'm not following you please send me a note. I read a lot of blogs from my google reader (highly recommend it) and really enjoy finding and reading new ones. I don't always comment, but I read and enjoy tons. Lately I find new followers aren't added in chronological order, so I can't tell who's new, I just see the number increase every so often.Since it's going to snow tonight I won't feel too guilty that this post isn't the slow, medium and fast warm up and training bag of tricks that I need to organize and that I committed to in my last post. My business planning has me distracted :)