Ahh, it was bound to happen sooner or later.
I got my butt dumped into the dirt yesterday. In a way, it's kind of a relief that that particular first is finally over and done with aboard Gabe. I've been anticipating it and I think that anticipation translated into unnecessary nervousness in the saddle. Is it goofy to say that now that he's launched me I feel more confident? I admit, I was scared of the fall...it's an awful long way down, but now that I've done it and survived without a bump nor scratch, I no longer have to fear the fall. Sounds weird, I know, but it's true!
Sunday was beautiful, quite windy, but gorgeous. Ok, it was very, very windy and gusty and I was a bit tempted NOT to ride because of the gusts, but, I bit the bullet and refused to let the weather make me its slave once again.
Robert, Kayleigh and I all went for a ride. Another first! We've never all three been able to ride on separate horses at the same time! Kayleigh used to be small enough to ride double on Chief with Robert and me on Calypso, but she's gotten too big for that any more. It was wonderful! I was only able to ride in the arena area and Kayleigh and Robert went for a short hack after I was done riding Gabe.
We are in the process of fencing in the arena area to turn it into another pasture as well as make it safer for riding. An enclosed area is always a nice thing to have to ride in, especially if you have kids or are riding very green horses. But, it's not fenced yet. We have it all cleared and to be fenced, just haven't gotten to the posts and fencing part yet. There is fence along two sides where it abuts the dry lots and one of the grass pastures, a deep creek and woods on one side and an opening in the woods where it leads to a bridge over the creek and back out to the rest of the property. This opening is where the gate will be installed. The gate is not properly installed yet (ever try to dig post holes in thick mud? Not fun!) but, we had the metal gate leaning against a corner post and a tree to block that opening.
Remember that gusty wind I mentioned?
Blew that gate right over as Gabe and I were walking away from it. Ever hear one of those big, metal gates hit the ground and rocks? Not exactly silent.
Hoo boy! I don't know how jockeys manage to stay on when those horses break from the gate! Gabe sprang forward from a relaxed walk into a gallop in a second flat and left me wondering where the heck he went. BAM! Gone. It did give me an opportunity to admire the pretty wild flowers growing in the grass up close and personal. His spook caught me off guard at a point when I was really thinking about and working on being as loose and relaxed as possible in the saddle so I wasn't inadvertently giving him signals so slow down or stop. I guess I was, eh? ROFL! I was so mad at myself, too. I should have been able to ride that particular spook, I've ridden 100s, nay 1,000s of them without an issue.
Poor Kayleigh was so worried about me. She's never seen me dumped before and it wasn't a pretty land-on-your-feet fall either. It was an eat dirt fall. Thank goodness I had my hard hat on. Without that brim I would have face-planted right on my nose. But, I caught Gabe (he didn't go anywhere, and stopped running as soon as I left the saddle), gave him a reassuring pat, and got back up to finish our session. Not a bit of spook left in him and we finished on a good note.
Aside from ditching me, Gabe was wonderful. He is moving well off my leg. Sometimes I have to nudge, nudge, nudge, kiss, kiss, kiss to get him walking from a halt, but he's walking most often off a squeeze, and that's definitely a step in the right direction. The turns are still sticky and he threw a few little head tossing, grunting fits when I decided he could turn around and walk in the opposite direction Chief and Calypso were heading. He did NOT like that idea at all, but after "expressing himself" in his own unique way, he would sigh and give up and head in the direction I pointed him. Good boy!