Rusty Stirrup

It’s a Long Way Down

It’s a long way down from a 16.2hh horse to the arena dirt, and

By: Rusty Stirrup |

The imprint I left in the dirt when I bailed

The imprint I left in the dirt when I bailed.

It’s a long way down from a 16.2hh horse to the arena dirt, and I had the pleasure of experiencing it firsthand during my latest ride. Yup, that’s right. I totally bailed off Luc. Thankfully the only thing injured was my pride, because of course I had to be deposited in the dirt with an audience. Oh well, isn’t that what horses are best at—reminding us when we’re getting too big for our breeches?

The thing is, it was one of those completely stupid falls that never should have happened. We’d been having a fairly relaxed ride. I’d just finished warming up at the walk and had started trotting a minute or two earlier. We were coming toward the scary end—which we’d already passed without issue—when something imaginary startled Luc. He gave a small sidestep, completely catching me off guard, and I toppled off the side. Not very spectacular.

I was up and on my feet before Jen, Luc’s owner and my sister, had even caught Luc—who very nicely trotted straight toward her. I took a few deep calming breaths before mounting back up. I didn’t want to take any frustration out on Luc, after all, it wasn’t completely his fault. He’s spooked much worse and I’ve easily stayed on. This time just wasn’t my lucky day.

After very nearly taking a second trip down to see the dirt, this time courtesy of a wobbly mounting block, I got back on and immediately put Luc back to work. I trotted him past the same corner and he didn’t blink an eye. Apparently whatever had trigged the first spook was out of his system.

I spent the rest of our ride working on downward transitions—trot-to walk, canter-trot, and canter-to-walk. After about 20 minutes of hard work on my part, Luc and I were able not to collapse into the slower gait, at least some of the time. Calling it a win, I cooled Luc out and called it a day.
Despite me landing in the dirt, Luc still got lots of cuddles and cookies. It’s just too hard to stay mad at a horse as cute as he is.

I do have to admit that I certainly was feeling it a day later. No bruising, but boy was I stiff! Falling off, even as non-traumatically as I did, sure isn’t how I remember it being. I’m pretty sure I used to bounce up, dust myself off and be no worse for the wear. When did I get so old?