Well, today was exciting.
I shared my riding lesson today with Daisy, which was helpful for me in a couple of ways and a bit of a hindrance in just one. She’s the 14-year-old I’ve mentioned before. Having Daisy ride with me teaches me about sharing the arena, riding etiquette, and other small things I won’t pick up riding alone. Watching Daisy ride shows me what I can look forward to doing as I get better. It’s actually Daisy’s horse that causes the one hindrance. She rides Dobby, who shares a pasture with Tigger, and who Tigger always wants to be with. So if we’re trotting around the arena, Tigger trots faster to keep up. If we’re cantering around the arena, Tigger canters faster to keep up. Tigger is pretty lazy most days, so faster is usually what I want, but I DON’T want to deal with the traffic jam that will occur when Tigger tries to run up Dobby’s butt. So that part was a little stressful. Manageable, thanks to Daisy’s experience (she peeled off to cross the arena the one time we got really close), and I learned from it, but still a bit stressful.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Tigger can be…difficult sometimes. Willful. And I’m still learning to assert my will when that happens. Today, we were cantering around the edges of the arena, after I’d managed to put some distance between us and Daisy and Dobby, and I lost the stirrup on my left side. It happens occasionally, and Wendy swears it happens to everyone. Usually, it happens to me while we’re trotting, and I’m enough in control that I can either get it back or slow Tigger down and get it back while we’re walking. Today, while cantering, not so much. So I lost my left stirrup, we were going faster than usual, I started to lose my balance a bit because my seat isn’t steady without that stirrup, and Tigger decided he didn’t want to stay on the edges of the arena anymore. When he does that (it’s his preferred method of acting out – going where he wants), I’m supposed to yank hard on the rein in the opposite direction. Well, two things: first, I’m not good at the yank hard thing because I don’t want to hurt him, and second, I wasn’t secure enough in the saddle to have any leverage. I pulled instead of yanked, and I pulled again, and I got him to slow to a trot mostly, but he was in the middle of the arena, so I concentrated on steering him around the jumps. I was still trying to regain control of the steering, of course, but the last thing I wanted to do was go over a jump with one foot just dangling. I was totally failing to regain control of Tigger, and Wendy headed my way and reached for his bridle. He jerked sideways and spun around, and I didn’t go with him. It’s like he stepped to the side out from under me. I’d say falling was about 10% my decision – there was a point where I was like, “well, I’m going to fall. Go with it,” which I think helped my landing. I fell off to the right, just sort of leaned over and out, and I landed on the meaty part of my right thigh and hip. It was jarring, but otherwise didn’t really hurt. Tigger ran away, I got up, and Wendy caught him and corrected him, and before I knew it, she had him back at the mounting block and I got back on the horse. (I’m sorry – I had to say it.) I was still shaking a little, but I got over it, and after a few steps walking, I got him to canter again and it was all over.
My first ever fall off a horse is behind me, and it wasn’t so bad. And that wasn’t the only exciting part of the lesson! But I’m exhausted, so come back tomorrow for the conclusion to our tale.