This week, all the glorious snow melted, leaving nasty annoying MUD! We have been working on catching up on manure management (it’s amazing how much the snow hides) which always takes up more daylight than expected. This afternoon was set aside as a trail riding day. We had some friends come over with 3 of their horses, Alex rode Precious, Anna rode a guest horse, and I rode Calli. One of the friends rode Milo. Vicki was at a friend’s house, so Devil and King stayed behind. The ride turned out to be a lot shorter (distance wise) than expected, which I will explain below, but I was actually in the saddle for at least 45 minutes.
First the good. Calli was the lead horse for the whole ride. That is a significant step forward for her. There were 3 other horses in the group that she had never seen before. Usually, she is very nervous about unknown horses behind her. Today, she seemed agitated that we were not pushing the pace enough and definitely wasn’t afraid of the horses behind her. She did, however, make sure they knew not to travel too close by pinning her ears and swishing her tail.
Another big step for us was, I rode Calli without her Glove boots. We rode across gravel and she didn’t take a single soft step or try to avoid the pressure. While I am not quite satisfied with the concavity in her hooves and think she will continue to improve, I am very happy with the improvement so far.
Calli didn’t run away when I was unsaddled. Which, leads to the bad.
The bad. When we got out into a big open field, all the horses got nervous. In fact, Alex couldn’t get Precious to cross the boundary from the trail to the field. As I was watching Alex work through that with Precious, Calli started to focus on something across the field, probably 200+ yards away. I am guessing it was deer just in the edge of the woods. I didn’t see exactly what set them off, but I think Calli went first. She spooked and reared up. Since we were on a slope, I already had Calli standing uphill while I watched Alex. As Calli’s head came up, I came forward in the saddle to prevent pulling us over backwards on the hill (I have a history of King going over backward on top of me, so I think I over-react when I think the horse might go over backwards). The result was, Calli’s head slammed into my jaw, which stunned me severely enough that I didn’t have a chance of staying in the saddle. I recall trying to keep my seat, but I was just stunned enough that I couldn’t (like when a boxer gets hit on the jaw and slowly hits the mat). Of course, the ground provided another impact. I’m not exactly clear on how I hit, only that I think it was a left shoulder roll, into a lower back/tailbone impact, followed by a head slam. I wanted to jump right up and grab Calli, but I was still stunned and it took a minute. When I looked around, 3 other people were also dismounted, but it was because as all the other horses started to spook, they were able to emergency dismount and land on their feet. Calli didn’t run off, and stood quietly for me to remount. She looked a little confused about why I was off. I’m a little sore, but don’t think there is any significant damage.