My first emergency dismount, from Mia...while at a full stop! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 03-10-2014, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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My first emergency dismount, from Mia...while at a full stop!

Today was supposed to be my second day checking out Mia in a new bit. It turned into the day I first practiced an emergency dismount...from a total standstill. And it looks like a Motrin kind of night tonight...

Everything started off normal. Just a day for riding in the arena, since the wife & youngest daughter are out of state on vacation, and the two oldest are married and out of the house. Cleaned Mia off, saddled her up and mounted. sat still & scratched her withers. Scootched [technical term for wiggled some] to get my legs loose and deeper in the saddle. Started at a walk. Did some easy turns. Neck reining well. Then...

Well, I don't rightly know. She exploded. I instinctively pulled with the left rein because her balance is better to the left. We did a full 360, and continued around for another 180, since we stopped facing the opposite direction. Imagine a horse galloping in a 5 foot diameter circle. But she stopped.

Hmmm. What is wrong with this picture? Why is my left foot level with her back? Why is the saddle horn parallel to the horizon, and the saddle completely on her right side? It wasn't like this about 5 seconds ago!

She seemed to be wondering the same thing. I tried to get it upright, but no doing. I had tightened the saddle to its normal hole - one punched between the regular holes and the only one like it so it is impossible to miss. The saddle was on tight...and sideways. She was standing still, but she was obviously waiting for me to give her a good explanation, and getting concerned that I wasn't giving her one.

I wanted to say, "This is an advanced dressage technique, where you ride the right side of the horse. Later you switch to the left side, and that way your horse gets even exercise." But you know, I don't think Mia was going to buy it!

So with my left foot level with her back, and Mia becoming more concerned with time, I said to myself, "Bob, you're copulated!" I didn't use "copulate". I used another verb, one pithier and a bit more expressive of how I felt. "Do you know what an emergency dismount is, Mia?", I asked. Her ears were swiveled, but I felt the time for conversation was over. I slipped my feet out of the stirrups and pushed off as hard as I could onto the concrete floor of the arena.

Technically, it isn't concrete. Technically, it is Arizona dirt. Arizona dirt and concrete are, however, closely related!

Meanwhile, Mia practiced the emergency dismount part where she went a buckin' and a snortin' and a fartin' off past me as I rolled away from her. As I pulled myself up, I saw her sprinting for the place of ultimate safety - the corral.

I limped over and took hold of the reins. Then I had a dumb idea. Imagine that - me with a dumb idea! Who would have guessed? I tried to upright the saddle from the ground. No doing. For one thing, the saddle was still tight. For another, Mia spun in a 360 around me and took off doing the whole "a buckin' and a snortin' and a fartin' " thing again. There are a lot of reasons why no one has ever called me "Twinkletoes"...I weebled and wobbled and did a slow motion fall on to some rocks. In the places that Arizona dirt isn't concrete, it is rock. In fact, the rocks may be the soft spots.

I pulled myself upright in time to see Mia fall flat on her side at a full gallop. She got up and galloped to the far side of the corral. I limped over again, and she started dancing around before I even got there, threatening to bolt. I was a bit perturbed by this point. "What Would Clinton Anderson Do?", I asked. Then I decided CA could go copulate. I picked up a rock about half again bigger than my fist, and chucked it at Mia. Caught her on her rump, and she took off again. I met her back at the point we had parted ways after I tried to shove the saddle upright, and she stopped next to me and hung her head. At least THAT was better! I would have asked, "What Would Parelli Do?", but I didn't have a carrot stick to shove up her nether regions.

So this time, I stood on the side where the nylon off-billet was. Nylon is slippery. I clipped the reins to the rope halter under her bridle (something I should have done earlier), and gently eased the nylon just off the tongue of the cinch. It wasn't easy, because the cinch was tight. When I finally got it loose, I stood back and let it drop.

Mia bolted east, but I was ready...I bolted north. When we both hit the end of the rein, she was spun around 180 facing the saddle on the ground. I rubbed her nose, told her it was OK, and put her in the corral.

The story will continue after some Motrin. I'm too old for days like these.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #2 of 41 Old 03-10-2014, 09:28 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Central Illinois, USA
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Bwahahaha! Too funny, though I'm sure it wasn't on your end. Gotta love these crazy critters
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post #3 of 41 Old 03-10-2014, 09:43 PM
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Seriously Bsms, that story made my week. Completely. Utterly. I'm sorry for your.... well.... experience but that's for the laugh. This copulating week has just been (insert multiple expletives here that were not nearly as colorful as yours I'm sure) so thanks, go take your motrin and relax, you've earned it!

Ps. I love the bit about you chucking the rock at her, I knew I wasn't the only one that did that! Oh Mia what are you up to this week?!?
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post #4 of 41 Old 03-10-2014, 10:00 PM
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I've done that, the " oh, why is my saddle suddenly 90 degrees off center with me half way to the ground, and can I climb back on? no, I cannot, so I'll just finish the fall . . "

That one was easy, it was the one where I got instant chiropractic in June from a fall off of Z (17hh) at a trot. that's the one where I said internally , "I am REALLY too old to be doing this"

I think you did swimmingly, all in all.

guess that mare needs some desensitizing to things around her tummy. glad you were not really hurt
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post #5 of 41 Old 03-10-2014, 10:00 PM
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Bsms, if I ever get the chance, I would love to buy you a drink of your choice.
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post #6 of 41 Old 03-10-2014, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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Now came the question of what to do next. They say you're supposed to mount up after a fall, but this was a strange one. Besides, my family is out of town. If things went bad, my neighbors probably wouldn't notice anything and I didn't want to take a chance on spending the night on the ground in our little arena.

The saddle lost one saddle string, but otherwise showed no damage. I put all my stuff back to where I normally tack her up, then fetched her from the corral. She acted OK with the saddle pad going on her back. She was a little tense about the saddle going on, but not bad. Tightening the saddle was obviously harder on her nerves, so I tightened it one hole at a time and let her nibble on grass between times. When I got to the normal hole, I managed to tighten it one hole further...but that was all it was going unless I made a sacrifice to Thor to give me extra strength.

Since I thought it unsafe to try riding her alone, I led her for a walk around the block and then some...about a mile total. She was surprisingly calm at that point. She did a prancing trot a couple of times, but only momentarily...and Mia prancing every 5-10 minutes for a few steps is utter unremarkable. I think it goes with her AHA registration. They'll pull her papers if she doesn't.

When I took the saddle off, she stood there nonchalantly, a cigarette hanging from one corner of her mouth, doing her Bogart impersonation. I asked her if she knew how to whistle. She snorted instead. Betty Bacall she is not. I put her back in the corral. Betty Bacall probably didn't have a corral, so I guess it is all fair.

No riding tomorrow, and maybe the next day. She had a pretty hard fall at a gallop and has lots of hair removed, and some superficial cuts. Nothing bad, less than what happens when the horses kick at each other...but I saw her slam into the ground. She walked fine, no sign of pain. but if her back feels like riding for a day or two. I'd also like to find someone who can hang around when I do ride again, just in case something bad happens. I plan on walking her in her saddle and bit during the next couple of days.

I don't really think there will be a problem. The good news is that she DID stop, and stood still with the saddle completely on her right side. I actually tried to move it back into position while still on her, and she stayed still for that. For a horse with Mia's history, that is darn good.

It had nothing to do with the snaffle. Maybe with a curb I'd have tried to stop her in a straight line. I don't know. There was no time for conscious thought. There was an explosion. She may have started the left turn on her own. I don't remember. Looking at the tracks in the arena, the concrete has deep gouges where her hooves were powering us around. It isn't actually concrete, but those are the deepest hoof prints I've seen there in the 2 years since we built it.

Seriously, this is where I get discouraged with riding. I cannot think of ANYTHING that would have set her off. The neighborhood was quiet. No animals. No motorcycles, bicyclists or dogs. Nothing. This is why I don't dare to ride her in the desert by herself. If I needed to bail off to one side, I might well need to bail off into some really nasty cactus.

If the saddle hadn't slipped, I wouldn't think much about it. My left foot may have been at the level of her back, but my rump was still mostly over her back even with the saddle off the side. Totally off the side. So for a recreational, just for fun kind of rider, I think I did OK. But at 55, I don't need very many days like today...

Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
...guess that mare needs some desensitizing to things around her tummy. glad you were not really hurt
The lady who broke Lilly from a start and worked with Mia normally teaches the horse what to do when the saddle goes sideways. I may give her a call and ask for advice...she's a hopelessly nice woman who loves horses and has saved my family's collective butt more than once as we learned about horses.

In a way, I've very proud that Mia did stop and stand still. Until I bailed, she didn't move a foot while I was on her with the sideways saddle. There was a time in her life that she would NOT have stood still, and just run at full speed with diarrhea squirting out the back.

I believe in breaking down training into small steps. So maybe I'll walk her with her tack on for a few days until I can get someone to watch. Then mount her with someone holding her head. Nothing went wrong during the mount, so I don't think it will be a problem. And then, ride her at a walk with someone around.

Given how hard she hit the ground, I don't think it would be fair to ask anything more than a walk out of her for a few days. In fact, given how hard I hit the ground, it may not be fair to me, either!

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #7 of 41 Old 03-10-2014, 10:35 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Man, oh man, I feel for you. But I do love the way you spin a yarn. :)
AnitaAnne and boots like this.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #8 of 41 Old 03-10-2014, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
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I love the fact that you can write about that experience with humor. Mia is really lucky to have you around.

I hope all of your bruises heal up soon and you can get back up there and try to figure out what went wrong.
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post #9 of 41 Old 03-11-2014, 09:28 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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So sorry to hear of your mis-adventure w/Mia. I follow her antics closely, as I have a soft spot for pretty little bay Arab mares. ( I had mine for 17 years) I hear you about the hard AZ. dirt & the cactus-when I ride w/my neighbor-she likes to go off-road- I become super watchful for that horrible prickly stuff-I don't want it in me or in my horse-Yuck!

So, I hope you had a good, long soak in a hot tub w/Epsom salt-it really helps! I think your idea of just tacking up & walking around for awhile is a great idea, as both of you regain some good feelings towards each other. If I lived closer, I would come & ride w/you, as I have a lovely Morgan mare that is an excellent trail horse and she would have no problem keeping up w/Mia.

Hope you feel better soon!
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post #10 of 41 Old 03-11-2014, 09:54 AM
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Look - you survived to tell the tale. What more do you want!!!!
Speaking as someone who has also suddenly realized that the world ahead of me was not at the right angle I can sympathise
Glad to hear you weren't too seriously hurt
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