Bandit, Cowboy & bsms...muddling through together - Page 194 - The Horse Forum
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post #1931 of 1969 Old 06-25-2019, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC View Post
...was your plane toast when you ejected? I would have thought that was a foregone conclusion...

On the ejecting topic, from our ABC this morning: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-...llide/11243452
In every fighter I know of, the plane is toast. If the plane COULD fly, frankly, the crew wouldn't eject. Ejection was for things like...a plane breaking in half in mid-flight. Rare, but it happened. Gas cap comes off the centerline tank, the entire rear half of the planes turns into a giant fireball. Watched that happen. F-111 engines quit 100 feet of the ground in the final turn to land...a friend ejected. Technically, they were "out of the envelope" for ejecting, but happily it worked anyways. One friend was in an F-4 that clipped the ground at 500 knots. Bounced up off the ground, they ejected...pilot killed in ejection, my friend survived.

All of which may color how I view helmets. I suspect part of me enjoys riding BECAUSE it has some risks I cannot control or entirely erase. I'd give a great deal to be able to strap into an F-4 again and take off....nothing quite like it. Even as a WSO.

PS: Sorry to hear about the pilot. Once went to a funeral with a 7 months pregnant widow. Went to another where it was the only child who died. Both parents there. Sometimes there are no words.

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post #1932 of 1969 Old 06-25-2019, 03:59 AM
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I think it's reasonable to decide how much risk you're willing to take based on what you've seen personally, or what close friends have experienced.

That being said, I know two people now whose lives were saved by not wearing a seat belt. One was in a pickup when a double trailer truck had the back half not make a curve, and the connecting bar came right over the cab of the pickup. He was able to throw himself flat due to not wearing a seat belt, which saved his life. Another friend's son last week was thrown from a truck just before it went off a 300 ft embankment, because he was not wearing a seat belt. The guy that stayed with the truck died. Still, I will continue to wear a seat belt.

In the Pacific NW, there is a lot of moisture. Apparently our heads are heavier due to added moisture in the brain. My friends and acquaintances seem to far exceed the average for hitting our heads on the ground or cracking helmets. Every time we ride through the woods I seem to misjudge some tree branch and get a good thwack on the helmet from that also.

Thinking of the safety checklist on the leg, in the trauma classes I've been to there are a whole list of things a person could avoid when driving in a car. They show pictures of what happens to your head if you put CDs in a holder on a visor and they slice through you, what happens to your legs if they were up on the dashboard when you crashed, and various other missiles that people often get injured by in wrecks.
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post #1933 of 1969 Old 06-25-2019, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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@gottatrot , you and your friends tend to ride fire-breathing dragons. Bandit has lost his fire-breathing dragon status - in the desert. I'm going to buy another helmet because we - if I can ever find someone to ride with again - sometimes ride in neighborhoods, and Bandit can revert to being a dragon in a neighborhood. His internal tension goes way up and there are things that confuse him. 6' tall inflatable penguins at Christmas time, for example.

The next day's flying schedule in a fighter squadron is signed by the Ops Officer or Commander. They review it for safety. An experienced pilot who has been on leave for a month, for example, won't have his first flight back be a demanding multi-ship air-air mission. In a two seat fighter, you want a mix of experience. I watched two young guys die in an F-4. The plane was hopelessly out of control and just a few hundred feet above the airfield. Along with a lot of others that day, I was shouting for them to eject - but of course, they couldn't hear. Neither ejected and a moment later the plane flipped over and slammed into the ground, killing both. If ONE of them had more experience, he could have saved them BOTH by ejecting.

I lived that "crew concept" for most of my adult life and carry it over to riding. My horse & I form a crew. Our "crew coordination" is a critical part of safety.

Quote:
After realizing we'd nearly killed someone, the PC's attitude changed immediately. Seeing how shaken I was, he took the controls from me and started being the trainer and mentor I needed....

[Years later]...I found myself getting furious and as I started to light him up, for some reason I thought back to my flight in Korea. I remembered the feeling of being overwhelmed, timid and frustrated. I remembered how it felt to be on the controls and not wanting to be a pilot anymore. Right there, mid-angry correction, I stopped. I took the flight controls, waited until we were clear of the Class B airspace, looked over at him and saw that he was "checked out." I reassured him of his abilities, told him to stay in the fight and then returned the controls to him."

https://www.army.mil/article/217159/...can_save_lives
Bandit and I have done that together many times. In the F-4, you couldn't see the other guy. So if you shifted who was responsible for flying, you said, "You've got it" and shook the stick used to control the aircraft. You didn't relinquish responsibility until the other guy said, "I've got it" and also shook the stick. Bandit and I may "shake the stick" as it was called many times in a sortie. I mean, ride. Old habits die hard, but our sorties involve a lot of stick shaking, and both of us have grown reasonably comfortable with our crew coordination.

But on a mission through a neighborhood, he may need me to take control more often. Even so, he is more likely to lose control of his emotions there. Even 30 seconds of lost control can result in a fall on pavement.

A very touchy subject is riding technique. We often treat all falls as "Acts of God". Zeus threw a thunderbolt and we were knocked off our horse! Riding technique can prevent a lot of falls and deserves to be looked at every time. But horses remain horses, independent thinking beings, and there are falls that might as well be "acts of God".

Pavement, IMHO, encourages "acts of God", although identifying chains of events that lead to such acts of God is a part of good riding technique. I lead Bandit through the 5 minute walk to the desert when I go ride. So many of our spooks have occurred during those first 5 minutes that I prefer to stay on the ground! But by definition, you cannot predict the unpredictable.

That is separate from choosing to ride more demanding, more emotional horses. Riding Mia wasn't very safe, but I chose to ride her for 7 years. I don't think it was "wrong" for me, either. I think we both needed something from the other. It was worth the risk. Bandit was riskier than Mia when I got him, but he's a changed horse. I'm a different rider. And what we do and why we ride is different from many others. For US, here NOW, I think OUR risks are reasonable even if I'm not wearing a helmet.


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post #1934 of 1969 Old 06-26-2019, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
...After 25 minutes alone, I felt his emotions were drifting higher instead of lower, so I suggested we return home. He was very happy to do so. We made good time to the top of the hill that overlooks the housing area...I'll admit I was enjoying being helmetless this morning. In his own way, he is a heck of a horse.
Didn't ride yesterday. Was curious if he'd be more tense or calmer after finishing on a somewhat tense note two days ago.

For whatever reason, calmer. A dozen strides of nervous trot, then he settled and stayed the calmest he's been (solo). Sometimes Bandit seeks contact. Sometimes I impose it, from my nervousness. I've ordered another helmet - paid a little extra to get it in white - but was without a helmet today. I made an effort to RELAX the reins when I felt uncomfortable instead of tighten, to gain control by losing it. It worked well, although I don't know if that was why Bandit was calmer or if it was chance.

I worked him several hundred yards further than we've been solo. Found a mesquite tree with green beans near where I wanted to turn around, so I let Bandit grab a few, munch as we went another 100 yards, then turned around, let him grab a few more, and head back to our start point.


Bandit thought that was a fair deal. Maybe I should get some saddle bags and give him treats to reward further distances. In any case, two days ago he started at an emotional 6 and slowly rose to a 7. Today he started at 4 and stayed there.

However, during our last couple of minutes, he heard Trooper screaming like a stuck pig and started answering back. He's never done that before. The third time, he took in air, and as he opened his mouth to scream I pulled back hard with the reins, gagging him in mid-scream. Did that again a minute later, same reason. Then dismounted at our regular spot. He let out another scream and I slugged him in the neck. He started to let out another a minute later and I jerked his halter and chewed him out, cuss words included.

After that, as we walked the 5 minutes home, he would start to...and then look at me and sigh.

He's never done that before and I don't want him to start. I don't want him obsessed with me when we are out. He's welcome to let his mind wander a little, or to look around. I enjoy it when we are going north and he looks for 10-15 seconds to the west, curious about something out that way.

But I think we'll have a safety issue if he starts tossing his mind 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile away, back to the corral, when I need his mind within arms length! There are too many ways to get hurt in the desert. A little nicker once in a blue moon would be OK. Not repeated airhorn blasts.

BTW - left at just past 8 AM and had sweat rolling down my face and neck before mounting up. Was soaked with sweat when we got back an hour later. 20% humidity. 84 degrees. But sweat dripping from my face before I got on. I blame the intensity of the sunlight. It felt like someone ought to be waiting for us to return:

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post #1935 of 1969 Old 06-26-2019, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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From an article about a guy whose foot was caught in the stirrup, linked to in @SueC 's discussion of falling theory:


https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-2404608027001

Dude needs to buy a pair of boots like these:


I'll ride without a helmet, but have no intention of riding without my boots!

A couple of pictures taken a while back...mentioned a time a few weeks ago when Bandit stopped and would not ride forward. It was because of this:


Bandit thought it was due to space aliens. I strongly suspect a dust devil. But we had gone past a healthy prickly pear here hundreds of times, so I think he was justified in his concern. So I backed him a few steps, dismounted, and slowly led him to the scene of destruction. Once he got a close up look with my boot on part of the destruction, he decided it was safe. Mounted up and we left at a walk. He now strolls by.

Took this one a couple of weeks ago along the dirt road we always use entering the desert. This is one of those cacti that you can't ride past without thinking, "It would hurt SOOO much if my horse...":




All those spines at face level or above. I think those things scare me more than most falls would. Still, being slung sideways off a horse into that mess would hurt more than I care to think about.

On today's ride, we rode past the concrete slab that was poured for a house in 2006. The market collapsed and the house was never built. The foundation remains, with metal rebar sticking out. We've ridden past it more times than I could estimate, but I've always thought how much it would suck to come off in a spot like that. Impaled on a metal spike set in concrete! Maybe a couple. There are not a lot of good ways to die, but that would be pretty high on my list of bad ways to go.
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post #1936 of 1969 Old 06-26-2019, 05:17 PM
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Cactus like that scares me quite to death! Our horses donít know cactus. We have little ones, and on one of my first Cash rides he decided to take a bite of one. I was afraid heíd strike me as I pulled the quills out of his mouth, but he was fine. Still he reaches down to bite them and I pull him away.

The only brush we have thatís pokey the horses will still occasionally rub against and then get mad about it. Iím pretty sure we would die in heavy cactus.
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #1937 of 1969 Old 06-26-2019, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Bandit seems to respect cactus. Mia acted like it didn't exist. Mia was a sweetheart, but Bandit is more likely to return home with a living rider.

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post #1938 of 1969 Old 06-26-2019, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
The question adults need to answer is how much risk will they accept. When I jog in the desert, I would undoubtedly increase my safety margin if I took a cell phone with me. In case of a heart attack, it could save my life.
This is exactly right. When I was growing up, cellphones weren't an option, and now it seems you're considered mad if you don't take them. But you know what? Often, I enjoy being out and about completely free, and unable to be reached - and going on a stroll in the bush without telling anyone where I am. The feeling of freedom of no other person knowing where I am, just nature and me, sort of "disappearing" into the magic world through the back of the wardrobe, if you will, and not being part of the sound and fury for a bit... that's well worth the slight risk to me, and I think as adults it is our prerogative to weigh things like this up and decide what we are willing to trade off.

Of course, this is still safer than getting in your car and driving - which most people don't think twice about, especially ones who lecture others on their taking of minor (or even medium) risks for good reasons.


Quote:
Today, jogging in 98 degree heat, with my bifocals, I spotted a rattlesnake just ahead. I did a Mia: an instant 180 degree turn and leaped away. Or maybe a Bandit, since a couple of strides later I turned back and assessed the threat. It was a branch. I snorted. Loudly. Looked again. After doing a few figure 8s...it was a branch. When my pulse dropped back into triple digits, I looked around to make sure nobody important saw me (Mia never worried about what I saw). Then resumed jogging.


We have tiger snakes here. For me, the scenario generally goes like this, walking along thinking of other things when my subconscious says: "It's a stick, yep, just a stick. ...Hmmmm, this stick is moving. Ooops! Not a stick!" and then I'll do either a sliding stop, or a leap sideways or backwards or over the top of the thing, depending on what I am able to do at the time! I've never come to harm - the majority of snakebites in our country happen when people try to kill snakes, and most of the remainder when people stick their hands into holes or thickets or under tree trunks etc. Also, effective antivenenes are available, etc etc.

On the other hand, I know relatives who have walked around in gumboots outdoors every summer since they arrived in Australia, because afraid of snakebite. Sure, it reduces your risk of being bitten from slight, to slightly smaller. But it increases the incidence of waddling like a duck, smelly feet, collapsed arches, acquired gait problems etc.


That was really interesting about the checklist; case in point. I've read that we're in an age where managements try to idiot-proof everything, and that all it's achieving is greater idiocy, as people are less likely now to think about their risk situations carefully and weigh them up - that habit is being lost in consequence, and the expectation is being created that "higher up" is responsible for managing all your risk for you, and then people behave like idiots, because a person who doesn't use their brain to think carefully and habitually is exactly that...

SueC is time travelling.
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post #1939 of 1969 Old 06-26-2019, 09:04 PM
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@bsms !!! We have an imported cactus called the Prickly Pear which has become an invasive environmental weed in parts of Australia. It looks like it's the same one that grows native where you are!



Here, it's a garden escapee. But, you might enjoy this little helpful Australian reader's letter in GR on how to utilise this cactus for food. We annotated it and stuck it in my journal for keeping, back in 2010, after both of us had recovered from paroxysms of laughter...



I think you can click several times to get it bigger and readable. Also we use CTRL+ to make things even bigger in situations like this....
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post #1940 of 1969 Old 06-26-2019, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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...The feeling of freedom of no other person knowing where I am, just nature and me, sort of "disappearing" into the magic world through the back of the wardrobe, if you will, and not being part of the sound and fury for a bit... that's well worth the slight risk to me, and I think as adults it is our prerogative to weigh things like this...
I think that is part of what I like about jogging, and why I prefer - or will as my foot improves - jogging in the desert instead of along streets where someone might find me if I had a heart attack or was bitten by a snake. For ADULTS, particularly adults with some degree of experience, opening ourselves up to a world with mild risks but great rewards, the feeling that it is up to me to handle what comes my way.

It isn't danger for the sake of danger. Not an adrenaline rush. More of a feeling that I am part of this world, a world where things don't always go as planned, and using my ability to deal with it. As a kid hiking in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson, I knew a broken leg would require me to crawl to help - and it would suck really bad to need to do so! I can slip a cell phone in my pocket, but that is kind of like dipping one's toe in the lake instead of jumping in.

Not sure it applies to me and helmets. A little. Thinking about it riding today, I don't believe hitting my head scares me nearly as much as landing in the cactus. Even the rocks are more likely to break my back than my head, and if I had to choose...

BTW, I've seen studies indicating western riders tend to land hip or back first, while English riders had a higher risk of a forward roll. Maybe part of the western lessons I took, where the instructor kept yelling, "Get on your pockets!"? Littauer wouldn't approve, but Larry Trocha would. Not sure how it would work in an English saddle, but playing around today, just a small roll of the pelvis seemed to make a significant change in center of gravity. Not good for max performing a horse, but maybe good for a horse who might stop without asking, or even if a horse stumbled?

In any case, I've ordered another helmet and am sure I'll wear it often enough. But for me - no one else, just ME - maybe I've used it as a shield to keep me from being immersed in my dependency on my horse's good will. Sort of like looking at a national park thru the window of my air conditioned car instead of hiking through it in the heat.

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