Yes - I had my share of contact with the dirt this week!
I've been out of town for the last week on a business trip and was so excited to get back to the barn and back to the CA way of life. Don't get me wrong, NYC is great but there's no place like home! I had a great ride on Sunday but I think Willoughby was really showing off for my Grandma who is in town visiting for my sister's high school graduation. I was pleasantly surprised by how steady and strong he felt when I was rode him on Sunday. Come Monday morning I thought I would give him a little treat by riding out in the lower arena - it's a little more open and field like. I lounged him first and then walked for awhile, trotted for awhile, and then asked for canter. He started to get a bit unbalanced in the canter so I put my leg on and asked him to shift his weight behind but instead of listening, he kicked out at my leg, which threw me forward a bit. Because of my weight shifting around, he started bucking, and kept bucking until I landed on my bum. Then he proceeded to gallop around the arena and then up the driveway on pavement. VERY SCARY. Thank goodness someone just happened to be around at the perfect time and was able to catch him. I wasn't hurt at all but I was startled and stunned. It's been years since I've actually come off. I usually avoid situations by jumping off before anything happens!
Looking back I can see there were a few contributing factors and lessons to be learned.
A) Forgetting that he's still a baby! Even though he's been good so far, groundwork is still important and I should especially do more groundwork with him after some time off.
B) Basics - revisit these often, especially after time off! Even though he was good the day before, I should have spent more time yielding at the walk and trot to make sure there weren't any tight spots in him.
C) My saddle
I had just gotten my saddle adjusted before I left on my trip and this was my second ride in it. It's not fitting quite right and is extremely tight on the sides of his withers. I think this could of easily contributed to his outburst. Hence, the saddle fitter is coming back tomorrow!!
D) They're horses - so always wear a helmet!!! (I did have my helmet on!!)