On Saturday I went on what I’m told was my first REAL trail ride. Obviously all my other rides have been my imagination. :roll: It was a charity ride up a mountain and then back down it. I was nervous from the start cause everyone is telling me to watch my saddle closely not having a breast collar or crupper on the mountain. I’m hearing horror stories of saddles slipping off and tangling around horse’s legs and riders ending up on the horse’s neck. However, I was the only rider with a ‘conformed to my horses back’ Aussie saddle. Thing never slipped an inch! Now to get on with the story. We headed up the mountain on a well maintained trail and…
We were on the trail then somehow ended up off it. No one knows how that happened and we were going up a real steep mountain side so we couldn't do anything but keep going up. Came to a fallen tree (small one) and everyone is jumping it. Now other then last winter when Koda was taking off with me and jumping snow berms I've never jumped. So I ease him to it and just ask him to step over it which he was fine with. He shifts his weight and lifts his leg to step over it and next thing I know I hear popping sounds and Koda's front legs are in a hole almost under the log. So I grab as much mane as I can (he finally lost all of it again just recently) as he sits way back on his haunches, pulls his legs out and launches (not jumps) over the log and then takes 2 more jumps for good measure I guess. Now other people have jumped Koda and confirmed that he does not jump, he launches! He makes sure he gets over whatever is in front of him. Anyway, I've got the forward momentum going on and when he lands after that last jump he stops dead. So I'm already leaning way forward going with him and when he stops I keep going over his shoulder and into another tree, which stopped me from sliding back down the mountain. Got some good scrapes on my fingers and a cut and scratch on my wrist and Koda scraped his leg a bit but we lived. Led him over to a clear spot and checked him out got back on and continued the ride.
All was going good and I was relaxed again from what could have been a bad incident when we come to a traffic jam (bunch of other horse and riders). It's a creek and all the horses are freaked out about it so of course ours started too. Get down to the creek and I'm thinking it's a big jump for someone that doesn’t jump so I tell everyone I'm getting off and will lead him across and everyone thought that would be the best idea, no more falls. Lead him to the edge of the creek and he stops. I step/jump over to the other side and turn to coax him over and he decides to move over behind me and jump too. He lands on the other side, bumps me with his shoulder, I try to step back and get my balance but encounter the creek ledge and down I go. He did stop as soon as all 4 feet were on the ground and looked over at me like 'what you doing on the ground???'. Got back on him and it was decided that I'd better take my chances on his back from now on.
So we're riding along and come across another fallen tree. I get nervous remembering the last one and I know that isn't good and I did try not to but what can I say it was less then 2 hours earlier. Anyway I ease him to it to step over it and what does he do, he launches again. Now nothing we encountered except the creek could not be stepped over so it's not like it was an advanced ride but me getting nervous and him probably remembered the last log too resulted in a jump. Yes I did stay in the saddle but I was expecting a step not a jump so I was a little shaken but not bad. Continue along and what do we find but another creek. This one was half the size of the last one, easily step over size but no. Now if he was launching before this time he became the space shuttle and exploded. My head snapped back and I'm telling you the muscles in my throat are killing me even after 2 days! And yes I stayed in the saddle but if he had not gone straight after that one I'd have been down cause there was nothing for me but the pain in my neck. Now we've had 2 creeks and 2 fallen trees but you can't have an even number can ya so we have another tree to of course jump. This one I did handle better but man was my neck hurting by now. Then about a half hour of going back down the mountain and he kept wanting to trot down. So yes it was fun with several moments of being in over my head.
Oh there was one humorous incident. Katie, who was leading us up the mountain and off trail, well when she jumped her mare over the fallen tree she bounced out of the saddle, over the horn and onto the horse’s neck. Her horse continued up the mountain to a semi level spot (20ish feet from the log) and stopped. That mare didn’t move a muscle while Katie tried to figure out how to get off her neck with a bad hip and everyone spent the rest of the day laughing about it, including Katie.