Wednesday, January 2, 2013

unexpected testing of the "emergency dismount woah"

I was home in front of the fire after riding Lucy yesterday morning, perfectly comfortable and warm, but bored off my rocker. I puttered around the house for a bit and then decided to say screw it, I'm going to the barn (again). I could clean tack, or polish bits, or maybe ride again.

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.

 I did some ground work with her first and then hopped on. She was great! She's sore on her hind feet (I later called the farrier and moved her next appt up from the 14th to Thursday so she can get some hind shoes on) but she was honest and tried hard. She did exceptionally well in the rope halter. She seemed less nervous, wanted to stretch down even at the trot, and was actually FUN to ride. I did a lot of work on "halt" with her. I had brought some cookies with me that I gave to her periodically, which she really responded to. She's a woman after my own heart: "will work for cookies". She was a bit naughty at the canter to start but settled down nicely and had a good long canter in both directions.

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...).


  1. SO cool that she seems to GET it!

    I bought myself a pair of Ariat ropers so I'd no longer be riding in sneakers, which is what had become the norm with Promise being lame off and on for so long. I'd go to the barn in sneakers and jeans not expecting to be able to ride, find her sound and be like, screw it, I'm getting on her just like this! If I was wearing shorts, it just meant I rode bareback, lol. But yes, my inner.hunter.princess.of.the.past was horrified for a little while...then she got over it :)

  2. I'm so glad you're emergency dismount lessons paid off, much credit to lucy for stopping dead in such a spooky situation. As for the boots, the past couple of rides i've been donning some super styling snowmobiling boots and track pants, a completely different wardrobe for the girl who was taught to always ALWAYS wear breeches and boots with a 2cm heel. When it's more comfortable and convenient to ride in what you're already wearing why bother changing?

  3. Smart girl!! I do think that totally paid off and maybe eventually she won't react/buck as much in the end!
    My old H/J connection is totally gone, lol

  4. What an awesome break through for both of you! I'm very proud :)

    I love watching you futz around western with her. So different from what I'm used to seeing you do. And the yellow boots are a nice touch.

    I'd also like to point out the fact that you being able to ride her in a rope halter is a testament to how much progress you've made with her over the years. Awesome.

  5. Super!! So useful to have extra cookies in your pocket at the time too, so you could reinforce the behavior. :)

    1. I am not usually that prepared, but it paid off big time.

  6. Wow! Way to go!
    Snow sliding off the roof is scary.

  7. Woo hoo! All that practice paid off. She's such a cheeky mare! You're going to have to ride with treats all the time:) My trainer's indoor is the same way with the snow/ice sliding off... it can be, eventful to say the least. Worst of all, one summer a bunch of black snakes somehow climbed into the rafters and started dropping from the ceiling in the middle of a lesson! Gah!

  8. Replies
    1. The first things I thought when I saw her stop were:

      1. what the hell just happened and why did she stop?


  9. That is so great, really shows how hard you've been working with her and that she's learning.

    And what horse/ human can refuse cookies, haha!

    Laurel :)

  10. Agree with Dom, so happy for you! What a good girl she was stopping. When you live in quickly lose any ability to stay stylish in the winter. You always look good though!


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