We loaded up the horses and headed to the trailhead. Well actually, first Shar had a little training session with Flash, because he decided that not just running away when she arrived to halter him, but actually kicking out at her was an appropriate way to behave. She disabused him of that notion, and THEN we got on our way. :-)
We'd originally been planning to ride with our friend J, but she couldn't make it. A different friend, K, had planned to come, too, plus we'd posted it on a trail riding site on Facebook in case anyone else wanted to join us.
Two people showed up, but K wasn't one of them. We decided to head off without her--she's no stranger to riding alone, so if she showed up, she could find us. She texted later to say that she wouldn't be able to make it after all. Good thing we didn't wait. :-)
We set of down the trail, at a walk, then we trotted a few stretches. On our third or fourth trot, I took the lead with Arya. She's not fast, but she was fairly brave (usually, she leads for a few minutes, then stops to let the other horse(s) catch up so she can be behind them). Then a trot session where Shar led on Flash, which was much faster. I was trying to work on my posting and get back to the nice balanced trot I'd experienced in the lesson the day before, but I couldn't help but post really HIGH, so I realized we must be trotting faster than before. Duh.
|You can't see Shar in this photo...|
|So I took this one, which had the added bonus of D's head sprouting from Shar's arm|
Then we reached a stretch of trail that looked perfect for a nice canter, so after checking that everyone was ready to canter, Shar, leading the way, picked up a nice slow even canter. I tried to focus on my seat and the position of my upper body (I tend to lean forward and get unbalanced). I got in a good rhythm with her, then got a little off balance, then back in balance. It was nice.
Then, without any warning at all, Arya bucked. One, and I pitched forward. Two, and I knew I was coming off. Three, and I saw that there was a spot on the ground clear of rocks or sticks or bushes, and I just kind of dove off the side and flopped over on my back. The wind was knocked out of me, which was scary to lie there gasping like a fish out of water. But when I got my breath back, I realized I was fairly unhurt. I stood up, got Arya back from the rider who was holding onto her (she didn't go anywhere), and put her on the trail while I climbed on from the bank next to the trail that was a few inches higher. (Shar helped by both holding her and putting counter weight on the opposite stirrup, since I usually mount from a higher position.)
Deep breath Then one of the other riders' horses started getting antsy, circled around so his hind end was aimed at us, and of course Arya didn't take too kindly to that. She side-stepped off the trail, and I got a little unbalanced, and one foot came out of the stirrup, but I stayed on. DEEEEEEEEP BREEAAAAATH. WHOOoooooo. We put that horse in front so he could prance all he wanted but Arya didn't have to worry about where he was because he was in her field of vision the whole time.
Shar was impressed, and I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself, too, that even after having just fallen off, I was fairly calm and relaxed the rest of the ride. I rode her on a loose rein and was pretty relaxed in my body. I did freak out a bit when we had a rather steep hill to descend. We opted to switchback off trail rather than take the trail that went straight down, and it turned out that the soil there was loose and sloppy wet. The horses didn't like that much, and Arya kind of started rushing. Down hill. Ugh. But I kept her to a walk and took a nice deep breath at the bottom and life went on. But on solid ground, I did just fine. We'll see how I do NEXT time, though--that's always harder than getting back on the horse right away.
We stopped to admire the views from an overlook on the way back:
|Seriously, how cute is this horse?|
|and that pair (trio, with Noelle) is pretty darn cute, too!|
|Grey Butte, living up to its name|
Surprisingly, not too many body aches resulting from the fall--I'm more sore from lessons + trail ride two days in a row.
Anyway, we made it back to the trailer just as the sprinkling turned into actual rain, so that was good timing. Then we headed home, and Shar and I basically repeated the latter half of the prior day--TV, then McMenamins to soak in the pool and eat the pear flatbread. Aaah, and Yum!