Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lawn Dart

Tonight was my first time "riding" Trigger since I got him.  Yes, those scare quotes are there for a reason.  Anyway, he arrived home Sunday, and I didn't mess with him except to get him settled in his stall and make sure he'd pooped.  Monday, I went out there and SweetPea came with me and got to meet him.  She's kindly loaning me her saddle until I find one, so we tried it on him, but didn't actually cinch it up or anything, took it back off, and lunged him a few times around the round pen and that was it.  Then I was out of town for a few days (hence the previous post about California).

Tonight, a different friend came out to meet him, and we took him to the round pen again, and he didn't buck and kick quite as much as he did Monday, but was clearly full of beans, and just racing around and around.  Friend had to leave to get to other appointments she had, so I took Trigger back to his stall and took some time grooming him, tacking him up and adjusting every. single. buckle on the saddle, breastcollar, and bridle to get them all to sort of fit (nearly every buckle is on the tightest setting.  This is a narrow horse.  He was a little cinchy, glaring at me, and even pointing his face at me, though a nasty look and snarl and maybe some manners kept him from actually nipping at me.  But otherwise, he was fine with the whole operation.  I opened the large garage doors to the barn in order to head to the arena, and apparently cars parked in front of the barn are SCARY things, though he wasn't phased by the noise from the door itself, since his stall is right next to it.

I started walking him to the arena, then saw there wasn't a mounting block in there, so I walked him all the way back through the barn to the round pen, where the mounting block was, back through the barn to the arena, and he was 90% well-behaved, but also clearly aware of things blowing in the wind and whatever.

I think I should have lunged him with all the tack on to get him used to all of it (it had a back cinch, and I'm not sure if he's been in one), and also get get some more of the piss and vinegar out of him.  He was definitely aware of the breeze blowing through the trees, but I figured once I got on and made him do little turns around the barrels and cones, and walk over the poles and just get his mind and body working, that he'd settle down.  So I fidgeted with the tack some more, getting it adjusted, then led him to the mounting block, put my foot in the stirrup, and...

...he stood perfectly still like a good boy.  I swung my leg over, settled my weight in, and...

...I think he might've taken a step.  Maaaybe two.  But next thing I knew, he was bucking.  Big time.  I didn't have time to think, except that it was going to hurt.  I wish someone had seen it.  I think I must've gone @ss over teakettle, because I remember thinking I had no idea where I was in the air or when I was going to land or how.  I did land soon thereafter, of course, on my right hip and knee, and my left knee banged down pretty hard on my right knee or the ground or something.  Whatever it hit, it hit harder or at a worse angle than the rest of me, because that's what hurts the most right now.  Yes, I was wearing a helmet, though I don't think my head (or neck, thankfully!) were involved at all.

Oh, and this is central Oregon, so not only did I suffer the physical pain from a fall, but I was entirely coated in dust, and my boots were filled with the lovely stuff.  I'm not sure this particular pair of socks will every be white again.

I was completely disoriented, and also in quite a bit of pain.  I knew I could move all my limbs, so I kind of laid there stunned for a bit, when I realized Trigger was still bucking.  I looked around, and he was coming for me, not bucking so much anymore, but still not paying me any attention.  I sat up and tried to shoo him away, but was still too shocked and sore to actually stand up.  When I finally did stand up, I didn't feel too bad off, so I started after him.  The reins had gotten up around his head, with them crossing between his ears, so I walked over to him, got them over his head, and unclipped them from the bridle.  I used them to kind of shoo him around the arena, to try to make him keep moving.  Not sure whether that really taught him anything, though.  I figured I should get back on, but now I wanted to get him good and tuckered out, and respecting me, first, so I asked someone to bring me my lunge whip.

The gal who came to my rescue turned out to be really good with lunging, and her granddaughter was a big help fetching item after item from the barn--first my halter, then her rope halter with strategically-placed knots, then her lunge whip instead of mine, etc.  She made him go in circles, turn a bunch of times, back up, and come to her at her command, and basically had him eating out of her hand by the end.  He'd also worked up a good sweat.

My knee was seizing up, so I didn't get back on him, but I hope he learned a bit of a lesson from the other gal, anyway.  Depending how my knee does, I plan to at least lunge him every day for the next three days at least, and hopefully ride him if he seems like he's being a good boy.  He's also going off alfalfa, and possibly off grain if his attitude still doesn't improve, though he needs SOME extra calories to gain weight and hopefully to fuel the extra exercise I plan to give him, especially once I feel like I can take him on the trails.

So I'm sitting at home, knee elevated and iced, two Aleves in me, and about to head to bed.  Hopefully both of us have learned something from this experience, and things will only get better from here.

1 comment:

  1. Don't worry. Flash bucked me off BIG TIME on my 3rd ride on him... it happens. We'll get you through it :)