I’m certain I set a personal record for “Most Times Fallen Off In An Hour” with TWO falls in yesterday’s jumping lesson. As you can imagine, I’m not very thrilled about the achievement. I am starting to think I should film all of my rides on Gina and eventually string together some sort of blooper reel. I’ve fallen off this horse more in a year than I have in seven years of riding Moe.
I’m sure you’re all wondering how I could have accomplished such a feat. I’m still wondering myself.
It started with Anne and her son George (the best jump crew around) setting up two bounces perpendicular to one another, like this:
|I still haven’t replaced the memory card in my phone, so no real pics.
These were just ground poles. We didn’t want to put them up to crazy crossrails before we knew Gina would be a good girl. I try not to freak the horse out too much.
Anne moved a fairly large wooden fence post that had been standing in as a jump/extra large ground pole to the end of the cavaletti we had set up. The plan was to trot quietly over the cavaletti, then perform a cloverleaf pattern over the bounces (which were really ground poles).
G warmed up about like I expected her to- head in the air, very forward, one eye on the scary poles, the other on curious Heidi, who was watching from outside the arena. I walked her over the cavaletti a couple of times, and then asked her for a trot. I managed to get her to pay attention and put in some decent trot work before Anne said, “Take her over the cavaletti.” I trotted up, feet home in the stirrups, heels down, eyes up, expecting Gina to really stride over the poles.
Instead, Gina stopped mid-exercise to stare at the new, terrifying fence post (which was there both times she walked over it). I gave her a sharp squeeze with my legs. She leaped into the air, forward and sideways at the same time. I lost a stirrup. I yelled “Shit! Shit! SHIT!” before Gina took a sharp right and I fell to the left, breaking my fall with my head. (Good thing I was wearing my helmet.) Anne was convinced Gina was going to step on me and shouted “STAY DOWN! STAY DOWN!” When I rolled over and sat up, I saw Gina galloping around the arena. Colt, who probably thought Gina was going to leap the arena fence and rejoin him, started whinnying and galloping around his paddock. G screeched to a halt right before the arena fence and Anne grabbed her.
I climbed aboard and Anne proceeded to lead me over all of the ground poles in the arena. She muttered obscenities at the horse while I apologized for yelling obscenities in the presence of her 10 year old child. Gina took the whole thing in stride, calmly walking over the poles as if she did it every day of her life.
When Anne released me, I took Gina back over the ground poles (which she did fairly quietly). I then set her to work on the bounces. The plan was to trot in, canter out, turn ninety degrees, canter through. Miss Mare wasn’t having any of that turning garbage. Instead, she popped her outside shoulder out, attempted to bounce to a halt, and flung her head in the air. I stayed aboard and made the best I could of the situation. I managed to get her around once somewhat nicely and decided to call it a day.
I gave G a loose rein and talked with Anne. Around the time I was highlighting the positives of the day (Gina didn’t actually refuse anything- a vast improvement over previous jumping lessons), Princess Pony violently spooked to the left (at a shadow? Who knows…) and I fell to the right, landing flat on my back. G trotted off. Anne caught her and I remounted, walked her around the arena twice, and dismounted before I fell off again.
I think George summed up the day, commenting, “Gina is being a really bad horse,” after my second fall. Gina is being a really bad horse, indeed.