Thursday, January 8, 2015

Night Ride # ??

So we've done a few night rides now, mostly with great success.  But somehow I still am not completely comfortable.  Well, I guess somehow isn't the right word.  It's a combo of ME still not being 100% relaxed when on horseback, plus the added stress of it being dark.

Anyway, we rode Tuesday night.  It had been a warm day, and the evening was unseasonably "warm" as well, so that was nice.  As I was tacking Arya up, she was being a bit antsy.  Like when I got the saddle pad out, she moved to evade it.  I checked her back, just in case, and there was no soreness.  So I flopped the pad over her neck and even her head a few times, then onto her back, like "it could be worse you know--just be glad the pad and saddle go on your back and not your head."  :-)

Then *I* had trouble getting the saddle on--it wasn't straight on the pad, so of course I could straighten the saddle or the pad but not both, so I started all over from scratch.  Anyway, after a bunch of fussing and a little "lunging" (just at the walk, and she was being a very good girl), I got on.  As we waited for Shar, Arya kept taking a step or two, but she'd obediently stop when I asked her to.  But she would NOT stand still.  Then I realized--she was stepping one or two steps at a time toward the hay storage.  She wasn't too happy when I took her completely away from that area.

As we walked toward the gate to head out on our ride, I couldn't tell if she was humping up (like she wanted to buck) or was just stretching out a bit, but her behavior seemed fine.  But the antsy-ness while tacking up, the humpy-ness while riding out, and the dark added up to make me a bit nervous.

We road one of our usual "trails," and Arya did great when we passed the barking dogs, as she usually does.  We trotted past a pasture with a mini donkey that she'd been freaked out about in the past, so I held onto the horn just in case, but she did absolutely fine.  We reached the end of the dirt road and had to find the trail.  Unfortunately, the nearly-full moon hadn't come up yet, and neither of the two horses nor the dog were able to find the trail, so Shar had to light up her phone to find it.  She ended up leaving the light on the phone on while navigating the rest of the trail, which was weird for me, being behind her a few strides.  I could see either side of the trail a ways ahead, but couldn't see what was coming directly in front of Arya to anticipate her movements, so it was still almost as disorienting as riding single track in full dark.

At one point, Arya tripped and fell to one knee.  It kind of felt like she even took a "step" while down, but I think what happened was she fell, then stuck the unaffected leg out to catch herself, then had to lurch forward to get back up.  Anyway, when she got up, it kind of felt like she took a lame step or two.  So I stopped her, took a deep breath, and cued her to walk on so I could try to feel whether she was off.  But the silly girl veered off the trail into a nice "garden" of rocks, so of course her steps were really wonky.  She started rushing, and her steps got worse and worse feeling to me, and I freaked out that she was sore/lame, and I should get off.

Shar tried to calm me down.  She shined her light on Arya's legs and didn't see anything, then had me walk (on the trail this time) and said she looked fine.  She still felt funky to me, but I did have to admit that I wasn't the best judge under the current circumstances (I'm not a good judge of lameness ANYWAY).  I didn't want to continue burdening her with ~300 lbs of me + tack if she WAS hurt, but Shar reminded me that if I got off I wouldn't be able to get back on (I can't mount from the ground), so I should stay on the 100 or so feet until we reached the asphalt road, where we could both better assess her stride where she'd be unhindered.

So we did, and on the asphalt, she was absolutely fine.  Sheesh.  I'm such a nervous nelly.  I wonder if that'll ever get better, or if I'll always be a little nervous, and more so when riding in the dark.  Ugh.

Anyway, we continued our ride, and I started relaxing a bit, and we were chatting and chatting, and then I noticed Arya walking funny.  This time, though, it was due to a horse pacing the fenceline between him/her and us, and Arya reacting to that.  Flash was reacting to it, too.

We continued our ride, had a few more trotting sessions, and Arya was a good girl the whole time, and I really never FULLY relaxed, though I did get better the long we rode without incident.

Shortly before the end of our ride, the moon finally came out and our ride got a lot brighter.  I also hopped off (on purpose!) at the last corner before we got back to Shar's house and walked/jogged (the latter only about a dozen steps) back home on foot, in order to get a LITTLE exercise.  I need to increase the distance I do that, and then once I'm able to get on without a mounting block, periodically get off and walk/jog on some of our longer trail rides, too.

Anyway, it ended up being a lovely night, but I am curious when I'll stop being nervous about just about every ride.

I tried to take a picture of the moon, with both my phone (not gonna happen) and my "real" camera (only has a very wide lens on it so again, no bueno).  But it looked kinda like this:

Yeah, it totally looked like this.  ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment