Saturday, January 19, 2008

First fall for Jess

I've joined the ranks of real horse owners!

I guess that's the way to look at it with a truly positive spin - unlike the spin I took off Calabar's back last night.

It was Bar's first time in the big arena, and he'd been pretty good as we got started, walking and trotting, exploring the edges of the arena, watching a hiker or two wander up the bike path.

I'd gotten him up to a nice canter and we were working on where my hands work best with him when something in the back corner spooked him and he took off. I am still working on getting the new saddle set right for me and being comfortable in it. I wasn't there, yet, and was too far forward and out of balance. I probably shouldn't have been trying to adjust my seat as we cantered, but there you go, lesson learned.

Then I was off, vaguely on purpose, in the air for a moment before hitting the ground. I fell well, though - hit rear end first, then shoulder, so I must have tucked instinctively. Then I stood up and watched Bar race around the arena, right rein flying, tangling around and slapping his legs, adding to the excitement. He'd stepped on and ripped off the left rein pretty soon after I came off - at least that's what I surmised by where we found it after he'd stopped and let me capture him again.

Watching him run was a true gift, though. Those long legs stretching out, nostrils flaring, and so, so fast. He is beauty, power, grace - flying over the ground without wings, barely tethered to this planet. Even shaken, spitting out arena grit, I wished for my camera so I could have somehow captured the tiniest frame - blurry shot, even - of him stretched out and running. Not that you can capture air, spirit, energy - not ever. I just hope it's an image that always stays in my memory.

I did get back on, by the way. He even stood still for me while we re-attached the left rein and while I got back on. And then he did everything I asked him to. Nice trot, beautiful and easy canter, circles - everything. It could be that he burned out all that excess energy - probably part of it - but he was very snuggly, too. I think he knew he messed up. He's really not mean, he's really trying hard, and I think he was surprised I ended up on the ground.

I know I should have been mad at him, but it was just as much my fault as his and as stiff as I am today, I am not too badly hurt. Plus, I've finally gotten that first fall out of the way.

Of course, the other upshot of this experience - aside from the huge charlie horse in my rear end and the jammed shoulder joint - is the razzing I'm getting from Peter. Do I need a seat belt? Velcro? It still feels a bit like I've passed some kind of weird horse initiation.

Oh, well. I think it was probably worth it in any case.

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