When I got to the barn, Lucy came to the gate with a "what are we doing now, mom?" look. I took her out, tacked up in my western saddle and a rope halter, and took her into the indoor.
All was going well until we were cantering to the left and a chunk of snow fell off the roof of the indoor with a big loud SWOOSH! and then a THUD as it hit the ground. Cue a very panicked horse. She bolted and as I got a bit unbalanced around the corner at the end of the ring, she threw a nice buck to help me on my way. Thanks, Lu! I tucked and rolled and landed rather gracefully, but here's where the story gets really good:
She took three canter strides and STOPPED.
Oh my goodness, I could not believe it. She didn't yahoo around the ring at all, just stood there like a statue looking at me, trying to figure out if she was in trouble or not. I had two cookies left in my jacket pocket and I got up, talking to her in a sing-song voice to let her know she wasn't in trouble. I wanted her to walk to me but she was hesitant, so I took a couple steps in her direction, hand held out with the cookie, and then she relaxed and walked over to me and got her reward.
So though my butt is sore today from that little fiasco, and I am not exactly happy to have started the new year off by eating dirt, I am THRILLED that she showed such thinking capacity even though she had been spooked by the snow, and it looks as though my crazy emergency dismount practice actually paid off. Amazing.
I knew I had to get on again but first, I did some more ground work with her, especially in the corner where the snow fell off the roof so she would get over whatever goblins she thought were there, then we had a really good w/t/c in both directions to finish up the ride! A fellow boarder videoed a few minutes for me:
Keep in mind that we cantered only once since she was hurt in early November, I believe, before I left for the UK, and this was her third ride (second real ride) since I got back. I think she's doing really well.
I know you all are digging my hot yellow boots. If only the hunter princess Kate of the past could see me now. She would be appalled, BUT, sometimes I just want to get on and ride, you know? Screw the breeches and the tall boots and the hair net ( but only sometimes...).