Last Lesson

My last lesson with Wendy this past Thursday was both great and terrifying.  I rode Tigger, and everything was going pretty well, but as we started a new jumping course, Wendy suggested I give Tigger a tap with the crop to wake him up a little and take the jumps with more energy.  My tap was, ahem, a bit much, more like a swat, and uh, he bolted.  Like, he startled, made a sharp right turn (at which point my right foot came out of the stirrup), and took off like a shot.  I got him steered to the railing by I don’t know what stroke of luck (because he was headed for a jump at first), and I just did my best to hang on.  My right hand was buried in his mane, I was leaning back to try to be heavier in the saddle (indicating that I wanted to slow down), and my left hand was doing the tug-and-release thing in time to my stern “HO”s, which were having zero effect.  I know Wendy was yelling suggestions at me, but I have no idea what they were – I couldn’t hear her clearly over the wind whistling past my ears as we galloped headlong around the arena, once, twice, three times.  Sometime during the second circuit, I think, I remembered Wendy’s story about a bolting horse and how sometimes it’s better just to go with it, but I only had one foot in a stirrup and with each turn at the short ends I could feel myself tipping more and more to the left.  I didn’t have it in me to just go with it but damn it, I was NOT going to fall off this horse!  Finally Tigger started to slow down about halfway through the fourth go-round, coming to a trot at the short end, and we stopped in front of Wendy.  Wendy thinks it’s because I started talking to him nicely (a suggestion she made during the third circuit that I didn’t hear).  If I did that, I don’t remember it.  I think he just got tired.  It was hot that day.  I got down, legs shaking, and we talked for a few minutes while Tigger and I both recovered.  Under the assumption that he didn’t have anything left in the tank and the sure knowledge that I was most certainly NOT going to swat him again, I got back on and we jumped a couple courses before the lesson ended.  THEN Wendy told me she’s noticed over the years that something bad always happens at last lessons.  She says it’s usually a fall, but a bolting horse certainly counts.  She thinks she’s cursed.  I’m just glad she didn’t tell me that up front.  She also said she’s proud of me for how I handled it, which is nice to hear since it was freakin’ TERRIFYING while it was going on.  Now I think I could handle it better – I’d like to have time to enjoy going that fast.

Her take on it: I have the unique distinction of flying around the arena on a plane one day and flying around the arena on a horse the next.

3 Comments

  1. momma betty

    YOu need to develop a new avatar, sort of like the flying nun–Flying Susannah.

    I tried pasting the Flying Nun. Won’t let me add pictures. It would be easy. Just superimpose your face over Sally Fields’s. 🙂

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