12.04.08: Hitting Eject

I went to work with Storm on Sunday morning, and it didn't end up quite like I expected. He did very well in the arena, I was pleased with the effort he put in. It is still taking him a good five minutes to find his balance at the trot, but then he really puts effort into it for the last ten minutes in each direction. I just let him sort himself out and it is really coming together nicely. Nancy and I were working together, and when we finished up, we headed back up to the barn to tack up before returning to the arena for a ride. Nancy was not doing so well, and so she decided to heat out on the trail. I decided to go with her, so she waited while I did a little more work in the other direction before we headed out. Our friend Jeanie came with us on her horse and we headed up the hill and into the field. The horses were quite fine through the field, and we enjoyed the comfortable temperatures and sunny weather.
We swung around the field and then headed along the back side of the pasture before turning down the trail to head into the woods. Nancy decided to take a little side trail that isn't used much but we were planning on using it for the upcoming competitive trail ride in a few weeks. I hadn't been down it before, and was curious to know where it would meet with the main trail again. I was glad to be on it because I need to learn more of the rest of the trails around the woods and where they enter and exit the main trail, which I am reasonably familiar with. I remember thinking that I should tell N that I wanted to ride some of the side trails more, and even try to get up on the power lines some to gain some experience and know the lay of the land better. We swung around, I assume turning back towards the main trail since we were up on top of the edge of the hill, and I was beginning to have a hunch as to where the trail was going to come out again when all the sudden Nancy's horse shied backwards towards Storm. Storm shied, and then spun and decided to take off back in the direction that we came from. We bolted through some trees, I remember seeing a small sapling, probably 2" in diameter and thinking we were going to hit it, and then it was just plain gone, I assume straight under Storm. We made it through the trees, and hit the trail again and things opened up so I could actually sit up and get in a position to ask him to stop running like a fool. I kept having to duck to avoid branches hitting my head, and of course could not maintain my focus on stopping him and avoiding the branches at the same time. I managed to get a clear enough space that I could really ask him to stop, and he finally did, and I immediately turned him around and looked back and found Nancy and Jeanie riding towards us at a walk. We stood for a moment and I decided to ask him to walk back that way, and it was just too soon and he went squirrely again, and spun and bolted into the trees, and this time we were not on the trail, and weren't going to get back to it as quickly as I would like. He was twisting and turning through the trees rapidly and I was beginning to lose my seat. He popped over a small log (I assume, I didn't really see it), and that threw me forward onto his neck. I realized that there was no way I could attempt to regain control and take care of myself by avoiding branches while trying to stay on. It was just too many things to manage all at once. Since I was laying over his neck I realized I was really stable there, and could swing my leg over to bail off. I looked up and it seamed to be reasonably clear, and I swung over, and hung on his side vaulting style for a moment while the thought flitted through my mind that this must be what it feels like to vault, and in the next instant I was hitting the ground, landing on my feet and dropping forward to my knees and then onto my hands. I saw his feet sweep away from me, and could tell he was surprised I was no longer up top. His surprise lasted an instant and he was immediately gone, pounding off through the trees and up the trail toward the barn.
I came out of the trees and grabbed my cell phone (which was gratefully still in my sweatshirt pocket) and called my Jim up at the house trying to get ahold of him to tell him that Storm was on his way back up the hill without me. After it rang and rang he finally answered and headed out of the house to catch him. By the time the three of us made it back up to the top of the hill, Jim had Storm untacked and he was looking cool as a cucumber again as if nothing had happened. Pat had been near the end of the barn when Storm came flying up and her first thought was "Ginny doesn't ride like that..." I laughed and said "No, no I don't!"

I did a bit more of a check over internally to make sure that nothing was hurting more than it should, and was relieved to be mostly unscathed. I found a burn on the inside of my ring finger, and a couple of small nicks on my right hand, and I knew I'd have a bruise on my right knee, but otherwise it was just going to be the aches that would get me later. I took Storm back into the barn and tacked him up again, and borrowed a pair of gloves from Nancy to cover the scrapes and took him right back down to the arena again. He didn't bat an eye and did just fine riding and working in both directions. We spent about another 30 minutes working before I decided to ride up the hill with him to make sure that he didn't associate riding out of the arena with getting excited or being worried. He walked up like nothing ever happened and I dismounted behind the barn.
Interestingly enough somewhere earlier in the day there was a small fleeting thought that passed through my head about falling off. At this point, I don't even know what the thought was or what it meant. There is a part of me that wonders if it was premonition. But by the same token, if every time I thought about falling off I didn't ride, I probably wouldn't get much riding done. Somehow I need to better understand how to tap into the intuitive and understand when it is that voice talking versus the voice of worry talking. The voice of worry can shut up, but the voice of intuition should always be listened to.
Being a few days later I now feel like I've been run over by a truck. Everything is sore, but I am quite grateful looking back that it wasn't any worse. There are a million things that could have been worse, and I am grateful that it wasn't any of them. We will just have to pick ourselves up and keep on working and progressing.
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12.04.22: Walk, Don't Run