Story of the Mad Gallop Home
It was so nice out today. I believe we hit a high of 76. I had decided that I'd be going to the barn and riding outside in the arena. I rode my trainer's TB who is very lazy and easy to ride. I wanted to work on my jumping position on the flat, so I rode for a bit.
My phone goes off. It is my friend who wants me to come out to her property on the other side of town in order to try out her new horse, a TB/QH. Sure, I think, that sounds like fun. It's been a long time since I got to ride two horses in a day, plus I haven't seen her new barn yet. I tell her I'll just untack and be right over.
I pull up in the drive and she waves at me and starts showing me around her new place. It's nice, but it needs some work. But I like it overall. She leads me back out to where the horses are. There are only two, her new guy and an old, super grumpy retired TWH who pins her ears at whoever gets close enough. (I pet her anyway). So we tie up her gelding and tack him up. I first try him out in the tiny arena. He does ok. He is smooooooth tho. Easy transitions, but I can already see he's got issues: doesn't like a short rein but will take advantage of a long one. Doesn't turn/flex well at all. Is super stubborn. Doesn't like his left lead. Still, what can one expect after just getting a horse. Not going to be perfect right away. It'll take time.
She smiles at me and says she is happy that we got the left lead twice. I nod and tell her I see what she likes him-and I do. He is a good boy, just needs to learn his manners and some other things. She asks if I want to take him out on the trail.
The trail, hmm? Well. He is supposedly spook-free and does well out there, just gotta give him a loose rein. But there is only one horse. She says she will walk on the trail. And I can just trot or do whatever. Well ok then. Sure. Why not. You only live once, right? I should have known then. I should have listened to that little voice that was telling me , "two horses is enough for one day. Trails are bad. Don't go on the trail. Stay here in the nice, safe arena. You loovveeee arenas." But I told the voice to shove it, it was to nice a day to stay in a small circle.
And off we went. And it was all fine and dandy at first. Oh yes, the birds were singing, there was a nice breeze, only a few fluffy white clouds, and the lovely ambiance of the mare screaming her head off for him to come back. Yes, the mood was just perfect. So we trot. And it is a nice trot. Smooth, not to bouncy, easy to post, not to quick. And we leave my friend behind. Way behind.
Ah, I think to myself. we are nearing a large bend in the path, might be a good idea to turn back now. He seems a little sweaty since he is out of shape. Well, ok then. We shall head back. Hmm....heading home. What did they teach you? Rule number one: Do. Not. Canter. Home.
But what of my friend way off in the distance? What was it she told me? "Oh I know I shouldn't let him, but sometimes we canter back to the barn." Hmm. Well, he is doing ok, doesn't seem to barn sour, doesn't seem to eager to get back. Maybe a bit when he neighs back for her, but ok. If sshe does this all the time, I'm sure it'll be alright.
Cue canter. Cue stupitiy! And OFF. WE. GO! That horse shot out like he had just left the gate on the track. And for the first 50 feet it was really fun. I've galloped before. Its fun. But it has been a few years and I forgot just exactly how dang fast it can be. And then, if it was even possible, he went faster still. At this point I'm sort of clutching the reins in a death grip and decide enough is enough. We still aren't even close to my friend, nor the barn, but we can walk. Or we can try to slow to a walk. And by we, I mean me. He ignored every little move I made. I screamed at him to ho, walk, slow down, sea sawed on his mouth, everything. But that just made him run harder. And before I realize it, we've passed my friend. Actually, I don't even remember passing her at all. But I know we did.
Part of my brain was thinking "OMG this is so much fun! It is like racing a real race horse!" I might also add that her saddle was beyond uncomfortable and also due to his gait I'm pretty much in jockey position, or at least a rock solid death gripped two point. Sitting down was just not an option. And the wild, adventure side of me kept bouncing around with the rational side, which kept saying "STOP THIS HORSE!" which is nothing but words because he was not about to stop. That side of me realized just how dangerous this horse really was. I mean, really, there is bucking a rearing, but that can be ridden out and tamed more or less easily. A galloping horse that is stubborn and does what he wants and won't stop? Hello death, how are you today? So there I am, hauling on him to stop, part of my brain telling me I should just jump from his back, part of it telling me that is the most fun I've had all year, then the rational side saying turn him to slow him down. I didn't end up doing that as I felt the path didn't allow for a wide enough turn radious. I could think of that, but for some reason attemping a one-rein stop never occured to me.
And of COURSE there is a sharp bend coming up with a full gallop horse. I'm not even sure what happened. Somehow that bend was right near the pasture where the mare was, and by some grace of God, we rode thought it and then he decided to listen to me and slow down to a trot in which I basically stopped him and lept from his back. Yeah. Welcome home. My fingers were pretty much curled from the death grip on the reins.
I ended up walking him back to my friend and all I did was hand her the reins, and say "THAT was a true gallop." And she just told me she thought for sure I'd fly off his back at any second. But I didn't. Guess I'm a better rider than I give myself credit for.
Needless to say, i'm pretty sure I've mastered the two point now.
Lol been there done that and hope to never do it again. At least you were on a trail though, right?
What did your friend think of the ride? Were you the first to ride him on the trail?
And now he has re-enforcement on a bad habit. Never run towards Home! I hope your friend will be doing lots of ground work and areana work to gain control before she she ventures out again. This could have ended much worse.
Lol, that was such an exciting story it made me out of breath!
dont ya just hate that feeling when you think you might got to bail off the horse? :-P
Eh, he just needs to learn to flex correctly, and to be taught a proper STOP cue, and he'll be fine.
If you don't know how to stop a galloping horse (see-sawing the reins isn't the answer, by the way) then you had no business cueing that horse for a canter. :-/
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Glad you weren't killed. But bad habit to get into.
If a horse is absoloutley ignoring your other cues, I would totally go to the last resorts. Yes, it isn't the best thing to do, but if they are ignoring you, let's go to the extremes.
I have been riding for almost eight years, and have NEVER galloped. Does that mean I'm a bad rider? Of course not, there's just never been a reason to.
Yeah I only tried to sea-saw cuz I couldn't get him to stop. No, she rides him out on the trail almost every day she rides. I usually never go faster than a walk going home, but my -intention- was just to canter to her and walk back. He had other ideas. She said that I rode him well and that he has never done that with her and that she was sorry it happened. I hope she is aware just have absolutely dangerous it is. I hope she doesn't canter him home and works in the arena with him alot. (He doesn't have good ground manners anyway and needs to learn some) Every time I've galloped in the past it has been intentional and on well trained horses who stopped/slowed when asked. But that was years ago on a ranch. I've never even galloped my own horse. And I had no -intention- of galloping....but he sure did. It was one wild and crazy ride, that's for sure. I'd be willing to ride him again, but not canter home! I'm just happy the "worst" of it is some sore muscles. Well that and he is going to be harder to control now. I hope she can get our mutual trainer out to help her!!
I mean-- in the OP's defense, there are times riding where a one rein stop isnt gonna suffice-- ie: on a tight/narrow trail.
Sometimes all you can do is hang on, and pray to your god, because there isnt one solution for every situation.. not every horse knows a one rein stop, its something that is trained before hand-- if I was gonna train somethin, it would be a proper stop cue thus eleminating the need for a one rein stop cue-- thats just me though.
That is an amazing story. I am glad that you are o.k.
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