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Riding, Roman

[Riding] Renegade Roman

Ow. Tonight's lesson had its ups... and its downs. And the downs came hard, in the form of my first (and hopefully only) serious fall.

I found out *why* Roman has been exiled, as mentioned in my previous lesson post. His mischievous spooking of horses reached a dangerous high earlier. First, he managed to spook Al (a very large horse) into nearly kicking one of the stable helpers. That was not great.

But his crowning touch... he managed to spook one of the stable owner's international Grand Prix horses (the stable owner rides in international competition, and is one of the Olympic hopefuls). This is a beautiful, and fairly bombproof, horse... but Roman's timing is exquisite. He spooked the horse into bolting, and nearly running over one of the stable owner's kids. (Luckily, this horse -- being Olympic class -- spotted the kid and stopped on a dime, but it was still a tense moment.)

After that, Roman was exiled. He's not taking it with good grace; he's sullen and rebellious.

Now, not only was the usual instructor still at a show, but Torquemada (who, despite the nickname, I really quite like as an instructor) had a family emergency. So one of the advanced students who is also staff stepped up to basically give us a supervised hack session.

Did trotting at various paces, and Roman did what he was told. Trotting was mostly work on transitions, like Thursday had been, and on controlling the gait. A slow trot, a faster trot, a slow walk, a walk of short steps, a jog, etc.

The most rewarding bit... when we got up to cantering, Roman cantered the second time I asked, and we went for the better part of a lap before he found an excuse to drop. And it was a GOOD canter, and to the more difficult direction. After that first one, I got him up to the canter every single time. No threats, no whip, anything. I thought this was a good sign.

Ha ha, says fate. Ha ha, agrees Roman.

So when we changed rein and I went to canter again, he wouldn't do it. He wouldn't go, he wouldn't go... and the supervising staffer said to bap him with the whip lightly at one particular spot. So... I did.

And Roman took off like a bat out of hell. Not a canter, a full-out gallop, beginning with three impressive bucks. Somehow, I stayed on. I tried to get upright and slow him down, but as we hit the corner one of my stirrups vanished. (I hate 'safety' stirrups and their little rubber bands, I have decided.) And my stirrup vanished right in the corner.

Now, every other time I've fallen, I've fallen to the outside, landed in a relatively controlled manner, gotten up with no more than bruises and minor scrapes, and gotten back on the horse. This fall was something out of my nightmares.

I slipped off to the inside, unable to hit the ground in a controlled manner. I landed first on my tailbone, then the back of my head. I tried to roll out of the way (and Roman, to his credit, went 'oh, shit, I've gone too far' and swerved outwards to avoid me), but not quite fast enough; Roman kicked me in the shoulder as I tried to move. I saw his other hoof land about four inches from my head, which didn't really register until later.

I found it hard to get to my feet, shaking and sore. I went and sat down for a few, not really registering how nasty this fall was despite how much it hurt to sit. Roman was led over to where I was sitting, and proceeded to lick my arm and my face and everything else in a display of contrition. After a few minutes of sitting, while everyone else was getting down, I got back up. Walked Roman in two laps, trotted Roman in two laps, and then -- despite my misgivings -- cantered him half a lap before getting down.

It wasn't until I was in the aisle grooming him that the pain started to really seep in. And then I remembered vividly the moment of seeing the hooves so near my head, which was a bit unnerving.

I was dizzy, couldn't stand up straight, but I couldn't sit comfortably either because it hurt. I did a bit of Roman's grooming, and then was offered that one of the stable staffers would finish up. I changed and fed horses, but was told I was acting like I had a concussion and that I should go be checked out.

I drove home, finding myself yawning on the way. Bleh. By the time I got home, I found stairs and suchnot hard. Argh.

The long and short of the evening after medical consultation (via phone, admittedly) is that I appear to have a bone bruise on my tailbone, a bone bruise or something (but not a break) of my shoulder, and a concussion. Whee. And this weekend is a busy one, argh. Still, things could have turned out a LOT worse. This was not a good fall.

Anyway, for now, I sleep. I cannot take painkiller because of the concussion and I must have a wake-up call partway through the night, so, whoo boy, this should be fun. And yet somehow I /still/ love this horse, though he's GOT to snap out of this mood he's in this week...


Well, I'm glad I called you and found out you did speak to the family doctor and you have people checking up on you! (Mentioning it here so other people don't freak out and wake you up even more than your wakeup calls will do.)
I edited post while on the phone with you, to clarify.

Sleep now.
Eek, that sounds really rather painful. I'm glad that you're mostly okay, though -- it could have been so much worse. If you want to skip all the walking around on Sunday, I will totally understand. Heal up well!
I think walking around might be good for me, to keep from going completely stiff.
Big falls are freaky... I can sympathize with that. But, I'm impressed that you did get back on him for a few laps afterwards. Good for you.

Take it easy, and definitely take it a little slower next time you're on.. do stuff you know you can do, and do well. trust me on that one.

*huggles* Take care of yourself, and I hope that all that heals up soon.
I believe very firmly that as long as I can stand up and walk, I should get back on the horse. Both for my sake -- ending a lesson on a bad fall is a bad place to end -- and for Roman's sake, as he needs not to get the idea that pitching someone off means he gets to stop working. ;)

And yeah. I just reeeeeeaally don't like using the dressage whip to urge him to canter. I know it's 'right,' but dammit, he ALWAYS bucks. And while I stay on like 80% of the time now when he bucks like a lunatic, I still would prefer to avoid that other 20%.

I will say my posture and seat have improved immeasurably as a result of learning not to get pitched off. I could've stayed on THIS time, even, if it weren't for the stupid safety stirrup!
It certainly doesn't sound very safe. Why do they call it that? What's the bad thing that the retracting thing is supposed to prevent?
A safety stirrup has no outside edge. Instead, it has a special thick black rubber band clipped from top to bottom. The idea is that if you fall and catch your foot, the band pops off (and your foot comes free), rather than you being caught in the stirrup and dragged around behind the horse.

In fairness, usually the safety stirrups are fine. This wasn't a normal occurrence. :)
Oh, I get it. Yes. I've read about that happening in books. Get your foot caught, bash your head on a rock, boom!
It'll be fun when you don't need stirrups to ride; have they been doing that with you? My lessons, after a certain point, included lots of no stirrups work. I used to jump without them (tiny jumps; we were working on getting bigger before my accident) and all that jazz. It helps, because after awhile of doing it (it took me a looong time. long time) you do get thrown off when the stirrup goes away- but theoretically, you wouldn't have been using it as much to start with so you don't get -as- thrown off... does that make sense? (And, if they are doing this with you... awesome! Don't mind me.)

Just out of curiousity, where do they have you use the whip when you have to use it?
Yes, I've had to post and two-point without stirrups. (Truthfully, I find posting/two-point with no stirrups easier than posting/two-point with /one/ stirrup, which I've also had to do.)