Rachel "Sparks" Blackman (seattlesparks) wrote,
Rachel "Sparks" Blackman

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[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...
Tags: horses
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