The Changing Season – May 2019: Horse Edition

Some months when I try to put my riding adventures and all my other life adventures in one post for the The Changing Season, it can get really long, so I am breaking out Tucker & I’s May in a separate place.

Dis da best horse!

The first weekend of May was supposed to be spent camping in the mountains with my hubby, my horse and some very good friends, however, the forecast predicated severe storms, strong winds and hail in the region for that Saturday and Sunday. This makes for a less than ideal camping situation, so we cancelled the reservations and decided to stay home where there are roofs. We were, however, able to salvage a ride on that Friday at a more local venue. This ride was irrefutable proof that it does not matter where you ride. It is all about just being in the saddle with good friends and good horses.

I walked you through one silly ride that we had at home in THIS post and many more of our rides this month were taken right on our own property. We had a nice balance at home. Our arena rides were typically pretty focused and we worked on good posture and riding mechanics for both of us. We played with lots of transitions and proper form, yields, bends, forward and flexion. On the flip side, I was sure to pepper in lots of time just hacking around our pastures, trot and canter sets up our hills, strolls up and down our road which frequently involved chats with the neighbors. I even threw in some liberty work and some nice long hand grazing sessions.

I also had a SUPER fun photo shoot with the horses in which I tried out “back button focus” for the first time. It was a cool and rainy day so they had some energy to burn and it made for some great action shots.

A friend of mine hosted a play day this month. She lives in an amazing equestrian community. All of the houses have barns, pastures, arenas and there is a shared trail system that runs throughout. Several of the equestrians that attended the event are in newer partnerships with their horses so they opted to do “in-hand” (the horse is in a halter and on a lead rope instead of ridden) work for the day. It was a great way for these horses & humans to gain confidence and get exposure to some elements they don’t find at home.

Our final horse adventure of May was a trail ride at Anne Springs Close Greenway. It is a wonderful place to ride with lovely trails and lots of cool things to see along the way.

I had an unplanned dismount during this ride. It was a reasonable spook on Tucker’s part. We were riding through a prairie like section of trail with the grass as tall has his chest. A deer was bedded down right next to the trail and popped up and bounded away right as we got up on it. I was not paying enough attention when it happened as I was casually gabbing with my friend behind me. When he spun to leave he dumped me right over the side.

I struggle with two mindsets every time I come off and this time was no different. Part of me feels like a failure. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that it happened. I should have been paying more attention, supporting him better, or should be a better rider, one who could “stick it”. On the other hand, I accept that I have chosen to ride a prey animal. A creature that reacts first and asks questions later. No amount of training completely overrides instinct. Every equestrian knows that the chance of coming off once in awhile is part of the activity. The two schools of thought are hard to bridge together. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt and we had a fun trail ride in spite of the fall.

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