Sometimes You Just Gotta Bail!

My only regret is that I don’t have a video of this escapade!

Guinness and I were finishing off a very nice training session where we were working on downward transitions to help him engage the old hind end.  He had really been doing well, and we were just about finished and cooling down.

In our indoor arena, we have 2x6 boards that are about shoulder height on all the arena walls…great place to hang things!  So, of course, I hung my Connected Riding halter and it’s two 22 foot leads attached over said 2x6 board.

Well, in 40 years of riding this has never happened, but alas today it did.  As I was coming by the door where the halter and leads were hanging, my foot caught one of the lead rope loops and pulled the whole apparatus off the wall!  Needless to say, Guinness was less than amused.

He first jumped (he’s cat like, I swear) about 5 feet to the side when the halter lead snagged my foot, but then he realized (and so did I) that the “creature” hung on and was chasing us down the rail!  To his credit, he reacted well until the chase ensued.  At that point, he went from left brained to right brained and flew around the arena. I also knew at that point that I was not going to get this thing off my foot, and that the best thing to do would be an emergency dismount.  So I waited until we got to “C” on the short side of the arena, and aimed for “C” as I exited stage left. 

He had so much momentum going that I quickly flew past “C” and was headed towards the corner of the arena straight at the wooden mounting block with sharp corners.  And don’t you just love the way your mind works at times like this?  I was thinking “look away from the mounting block, look away from the mounting block” as I knew that it would be painful to hit.  As luck would have it, I landed between the mounting block and the wall, and used my last years gymnastics training to “land and roll”.  I was lucky to escape with only a minor scratch on my arm that did hit the mounting block, and a little soreness to my side where my roll was ended against the wall.

By this time, the offending halter and leads were about 10 feet away from me, and Guinness had parked himself snorting at the other end of the arena…at “A”.  I was glad to see that after I got up and dusted away the arena dirt (which by the way ended up ground into my ear…funny!) that when I asked him to come to me he did, but warily as I was holding the creature that started all this fiasco. 

I worked with him in hand to get him comfortable with the halter and leads again, and then I got back up on him to finish our cool down and help him to settle.

All in all, it was a great first fall from my new guy.  I do have to say, that the difference between a 16hh horse (Murphy) and a 15.2hh horse (Guinness) is quite dramatic…it’s much easier to fall off the smaller horse.  But maybe it had something to do with the ability to drop and roll as well from the gymnastics, who knows.  All I know is that I was happy that I had my first fall, and that Guinness came out of this incident without too much of an issue…but this incident did start us on our road to consistency, which I’ll talk about in the next entry.

Until then, ciao and keep your gear out of foots reach!