I fell off of Murphy during my lesson this past Saturday. I haven’t fallen off a horse in awhile, so I guess I was due. There are two types of riders: those who have fallen, and those who haven’t fallen… yet. If you keep riding, it’s bound to happen (possibly again).
The arena had just been groomed, so I had a relatively soft landing. Unfortunately I mostly landed on my bad shoulder, then my back. I think I may have gotten whiplash from it because my neck really hurts now. Immediately after the fall aside from soreness in the shoulder I was fine.
So what happened? I failed my poor horse. Totally my fault. We had a substitute instructor, Marty was out. We had Karen. She’s a small older lady. Karen is the one who judges all our schoolie shows. And thus, she totally terrifies me. We did some work, I learned that my leg moves *WAY* more than I thought it did, and I really need to work on that, and then she wanted us to go over trotting poles.
Now, I’ve done trotting poles at the trot with Murphy before, so I was confident I could do it again. We took our corner, I set my line, kept my eyes up and ahead, kept Murphy straight and forward, and just as we got to the first pole…. she spooked and bolted and off I went. Inertia’s a bitch.
See, my poor Smurfy is partially blind. Every other time we’ve done poles, Marty has us walk them first, so she has a couple rounds to get used to them, and then going over them at a trot isn’t such a huge deal. But Karen didn’t know that Murphy has vision problems, and I failed to speak up about them. My poor horsie!
While I recovered a bit, Karen led Murphy over the poles at a walk a couple times while the rest of the class trotted over them a couple more times. Then I got back on, approached at the trot, slowed her to a walk, and walked her over them. No issues. She did drop her head to carefully inspect the poles, but she didn’t stop, and I kept my eyes and head up, and kept her straight and forward. Success!
And here endeth the lesson. We decided not to push the trotting over trotting poles. But I tried it, I fell, I got back on, and I managed to successfully get over the poles, albeit at a slower pace. I still feel a bit awful about it though. I’ve been riding Murphy for *YEARS* and I know she has eyesight issues (which is why I can’t jump her). I should have spoken up, despite having gone over the poles successfully at first, I should have been more cautious with her.