Yesterday was a very special day for me and Farley – our anniversary date.
Three years ago, on the day before Thanksgiving I drove a trailer into the bay area to pick up a fuzzy little brown horse as my backup endurance horse, and my arena plaything.
I hadn’t spent nearly as much money as I had budgeted and I wasn’t convinced that she was going to be a very good arena horse, but I couldn’t deny she was something special on the trail. Of course, I didn’t discover how special until Minx died and I actually started regularly riding her for the first time in 1-1/2 years.
A lot has happened in 3 years – the fuzzy unknown horse used as a brood mare much of her life became a Tevis horse, a proven 100 miler horse, a solid-trustworthy endurance horse 120 miles shy of 1,000. She’s training solidly at training level dressage and starting her lateral and 15 meter circle work. Yesterday she jumped beautifully and we are on target to squish 2 years of jump instruction into 7 months.
I’m constantly amazed by her attitude – she’s solid performance horse who is a pleasure to be around on a day to day basis. She’s even-tempered and isn’t phased by long hours in the trailer, new places, or new activities.
She’s also stayed suprisingly sound, considering I’m still figuring out the process of how to leg up a horse and keep them fit. There’s been a couple of blips here and there, but in retrospect, very minor (compared to what they felt like at the time!). My vet says that all indications are she’s going to continue to be a sound and useful horse for many years to come.
Shall we discuss how Farley decided to celebrate our anniversary yesterday? She bucked me off.
Willful, disobedient little fuzzy pony.
Although it’s debatable whether it’s actually considered a fall…..
She had bucked a couple of times post-jump in the lesson and I had gotten on to her for it….as well as I could with trying to keep MY balance and position and still be effective. Then, after one particularly “fun” vertical (Farley thinks jumping is VERY fun) I got unbalanced enough that when she bucked I was catapulted out of the saddle.
The buck wasn’t any worse than anything she had done before – I was just out of position.
Apparently, I decided in midair that I would do an emergency dismount – although, I don’t remember anything between being in the air and landing on my feet beside her on the right side, reins and crop in hand – but that’s what muscle memory and fitness will do for you – your body will do the right thing even if you don’t make a conscious decision!
Landing on my feet still in control of my horse was very useful. I immediately ran towards her very aggressively moving her out of my space, similar to what I would have done if she had bit or tried to kick me.
It wouldn’t have worked except the time between the bucking and the discipline was almost instantaneous (I didn’t have to waste time getting up, catching her etc.). I was able to much more effectively prove my point on the ground than in the saddle.
I think she got the message. She didn’t buck again and gave me 2 very nice, clean rounds without even a hint of bucking. Just nice balanced cantering before and after the jumps. The kind of round that we quit the lesson on and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face afterwards.
So it finally happened – but it happened in a way that was probably the best possible outcome. Maybe I was able to effectively demonstrate how unhappy I was enough that she knocks it off? Possibly. I’ll keep you posted. It better have worked because I very much doubt I’ll be able to pull off that particular gymnastic stunt in the future!
Happy 3 year anniversary Farley!
Happy Turkey Day Everyone!