Wednesday, October 7, 2015

wherein i fall off the 'easiest horse to jump'

It's probably not really a surprise to readers (esp if you also have a blog) that many of these posts are written and scheduled in advance. So there's usually a couple days of lag time between when something happens and when the post goes live.

look at those teeth. they literally stick OUT of his face.... 
This is particularly true for Bali-related posts since I'm still figuring out my riding schedule with him, let alone how he works into the editorial schedule. Meaning TWICE now I've had iffy rides immediately preceding a post that gushes about him lol. It first happened when I had a couple shitty rides on the days right before posting that video of him going so well.

And then more recently, when I wrote about how he must just not like being in the ring alone, but was proved incorrect when he schooled very very well all by his lonesome. Or when I wrote about how EASY he is to jump and then I ate serious dirt trying to jump him. Womp womp.

he's a more willing selfie participant than isabel, even if i still kinda suck at taking these pics (seriously, someone plz send a 12 yr old to teach me how lol)
So here are the details on those rides, which are now quite a few days past. And there have been more rides since. And so it goes.

I got him ridden on Thursday of last week (despite the rain) mostly bc I knew it wouldn't happen on Friday when the weather was supposed to be even worse. We got lucky and skies cleared in time for my ride, tho our barn's trainer had long since given up so we were alone in the arena. I wasn't super excited about this after having hypothesized that Bali disliked being alone. But he impressed me and was very good and steady.

happy relaxed horse with a killer tail
Moved nicely off the legs, didn't do stupid things at the canter (asking for the right lead first continues to make for a less-dramatic left lead later), and played well for some baby turns on the forehand. He was really mostly just his normal lazy self, but without all the histrionics.

I popped him over a couple jumps just because and called it a day, with a glowing report card shot off to the lesson program director (minus his being a butthead about coming downhill to the arena - that's a definite work in progress ugh). Good pony!

he's usually pretty tender right where my hand is, on both sides
Opted against riding in the rain after my lesson with Isabel on Saturday, so finally got back in the saddle on Sunday. Chores had flown by in the morning, and my afternoon was wide open, so I decided to spend some quality time with the horse while grooming.

As previously mentioned, Bali is a known kicker, and he is usually quite tight through his back. It's become kinda clear that the two things are probably related. He is very likely to threaten when you reach his sore areas - through his lower back and across his croup - while grooming.

I've therefore been focusing on those areas a LOT lately - with gentle massage and sore-no-more gelotion rubs. Essentially I want him to see that he doesn't have to be defensive about me being near those sore spots - that maybe I can actually help him feel a little better. And it seems to be making a difference - he's getting more comfortable with me moving around his hind end, and has not been naughty while getting saddled (something noticed by an advanced lesson student who has recently gotten back on him a couple times).

i pretty much ADORE the color of these breeches. they have like, zero grip tho... ah well, sacrifices, right?
He really is a sweet horse - he's just probably had some experiences in life so far (whether at the track or as a lesson horse) that made him quick to see people as the problem rather than the solution. But he loves some TLC and is very personable, so I think he'll keep improving on that score. I also may or may not be squinting hard at my budget, trying to justify the expense of getting him adjusted too when the chiro comes back for Isabel in a couple weeks lol.

bali wonders if he's supposed to jump this again. ponykins doesn't really stand well for pictures haha
Anyway, onto the ride. It was mostly excellent. Except I fell off pretty hard at one point. For reasons entirely my own fault. In front of a fairly large audience. Oops. Le sigh.....

Things started out super well. Bali is SO MUCH MORE responsive to my leg and seat now, and will deign to open up his walk a bit when I ask (tho he's so lazy, he'd obviously rather just shuffle along). And he is super prompt to the trot aids, and just trots right along like nbd. This bodes very well for his career as a lesson pony lol.

blurry ears are still cute ears
There was a long line of trot poles set up (not sure how many poles, but it was a LOT - maybe like 10?) that he kinda tripped and stumbled through the first time, and then made exactly zero mistakes every time after that. Even when I pointed him at them when he was fast-trotting and thinking about breaking into canter. He just slowed right down and adjusted to make it down the line cleanly. Good boy, fast learner!

We were still dodging a lot of traffic tho - another group of 4 beginners, this time 2 who did w-t, and 2 who only walked (meaning there were helpers serving as ground crew too). So I kept the canters fairly short and mostly focused on trotting. He was just super good. It's getting easier to balance him and keep him even between my reins, and inside bend is sometimes occasionally a thing we can do.

itchy pony!!!!
I started jumping him by trotting a small coop (ugh why are trot jumps so hard tho?) and cruising through the two stride line of small cross rails in the background above. Also jumped another vertical (maybe around 2'3") and the orange/yellow vertical (2'6"). This horse is so super easy and fun to jump - really it's just so pleasant. So how did I manage to fall off?

Well... the traffic situation meant that I was trying to capitalize on opportunities when no other riders were near the target jump. The area near the orange fence cleared up as we were trotting around the turn, so I kinda just goosed him into a hurried and unbalanced canter, then didn't actually ride to the fence - I just kinda pointed him at it (crookedly, natch).

That's a situation that Isabel routinely salvages and makes work... but baby horse just couldn't and ran through the left standard instead. And I *almost* stuck it, but then over-corrected from falling off to the right by somehow flinging myself upright, and then to the left off the horse. Ugh. Luckily I hit the ground rolling (omg so much sand in my pants) and Bali trotted right over to the ground crew to be caught rather than bolting around the arena.

more teeth lol
I hopped back on, jumped the other smaller vertical once, then circled back to the orange and actually rode the horse like I've been taught. And he was fine. We hit a gappy distance a couple times in a row (which I don't love) but then quit when he finally reached it beautifully.

So obviously it wasn't exactly my finest riding moment. But I'm gonna look at it as a good learning experience for Bali man anyway. Falls are gonna happen, but then life goes on and he's gotta go right back to work. Which he did perfectly. Always a good thing for a horse that has demonstrated a willingness to scare his riders into not making him work.

And meanwhile I got to go home and nurse my bruises (and maybe a bruised ego too lol) and stiff joints through the restorative healing powers of NFL football and cheap beer.

29 comments:

  1. I hate falls like that. I hope you aren't too bruised up.

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    1. they're super annoying haha. and actually the bruises have not yet surfaced the way i expected, and the soreness is almost totally gone. not too bad!

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  2. Oh man. Hope you're ok. What a good baby horse for not overreacting.

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    1. honestly i was pretty pleased with him - i put him in a bad spot and he couldn't fix it... but also didn't hold a grudge when i took him back to try again. that's what i like to see!

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  3. Learning experiences are good. Also good for the kids to see you hop back on. Baby horse is doing great. You rock.

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  4. Learning experiences are good. Also good for the kids to see you hop back on. Baby horse is doing great. You rock.

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    1. lol those poor kids - they didn't know what to think at first (i think it catches them really off guard when one of 'the adults' screws up big time lol) but then happily set to work knocking the sand off me when i asked haha

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  5. I think people just dont know how to react when you fall lol this group especially are new to riding so falling off isnt really on their radar of possibilities. Bali is going really well though with the work! Cant wait to hear how Sunday goes!

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    1. lol yea i felt pretty bad about eating shit in front of all those parents too... like, hey this is TOTALLY safe for your kiddos!!! but then again i was essentially unscathed so... maybe that was actually good for them to see? i'm just glad bali didnt' go tearing around the arena wreaking havok bc.... that would have been ugly

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  6. Sometimes steering is hard, yo.

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    1. so this is where i further embarrass myself and say that actually bali steers REALLY well. like, stupid well off just my knees. he also has a better half halt than my broke, well-schooled 13yr old mare. so.... yeaaahhhhhh no excuses :(

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  7. Maybe you need a selfie stick!!

    go Bali for handling the fall appropriately- I know several horses that become TERRIFIED when their riders fall off!

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    1. lol @ the selfie stick. maybe it will solve all my problems?!? and yea i was quite impressed with his reaction to the fall. he really is fundamentally a quiet and lazy horse - all good things!

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  8. Hope the body and ego bruises heal up soon. Sounds like you're doing a great job with Bali, he's a cutie :)

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    1. thanks haha - already feeling much better :) and he is pretty much the cutest!

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  9. Glad you weren't hurt! I never manage to roll when I fall. I always slide like I'm on ice... which is a fail.

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    1. oooooh the slides are never good :( that happens to me sometimes when i'm too stubborn about letting go of the reins. can we say road rash?

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  10. Whoops! They should make a book called "Everyone Falls Off", just like that "Everybody Poops" book. The equestrian kids would love it!

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    1. haha i would LOVE that book. i bet between the blogging community we could come up with ample material for a killer picture book lol

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  11. You should have turned the roll into a ninja roll and leapt to your feet afterwards like you meant to do that. Glad you're ok from the fall. Are you getting paid to train this horse or just doing it for fun?

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    1. not getting paid - just doing it for fun (and have weird paranoia about accepting money for anything horse related - beyond chores - lest it screw up my ammy status).

      and re: the ninja roll to feet - i actually specifically will NOT allow myself to do that. i'm allowed to roll immediately to my knees (which I did in this instance) but then i force myself to stay there for at least 5-10 seconds doing a mental check of each body part, including brain. aint nobody want to see you hop back up to your feet only to fall immediately back down again!

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  12. Shew, glad you are ok! Sand in the pants IS THE WORST.

    Keep up the good work with Bali!

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    1. omg and it was SO MUCH SAND i didn't even realize how much until i was already back on the horse and scooped literal handfuls of it out from my waist line.... ugh how embarrassing lol

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  13. Your pants are ridiculously AWESOME! Love the color :) plus slippery pants make you a better rider? Just go with it so you can continue to enjoy the awesome pants šŸ˜Hahahaha

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    1. haha the color definitely makes it worth the slippery sacrifice (tho i might just stick to flatwork when i wear them lol)

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  14. Of course when these things happen there is never media. You always want to watch in slow-mo and going wtf even just happened.... glad you're ok and I LOVE those breeches!

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    1. oh man, this fall would have been RIPE for the slo-mo treatment! i was sooooooo close to sticking it and then... just... didn't haha.

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  15. Dude. Kudos big time for getting back on with sand in the pants. It's got to be one of the top 5 worst sensations ever.

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    1. i'm pretty sure i took half the arena footing home with me in my pants... ugh lol

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