Friday, April 22, 2016

Girth Matters

You don't think of much when you're falling off a horse. There isn't a lot of time. But I do remember a quick moment somewhere between saddle and dirt when I thought about hooves. I wasn't worried about the short fall off the horse, but I was worried about where those giant haunches landed after I did. I caught a glance of black feathered foot and felt them slam into the earth beside me. I have no idea why a thousand pound animal with a head the size of a truck tire can be classified as "pony." I got right up. Merlin trotted a foot or two away and then just stood there, blowing. He stared at me.

It was my fault, the fall. I was feeling invincible after an 8 mile run. It was sunny, 72-degrees, I wanted nothing more than to come home, change into riding clothes and boots and ride that beast up the mountain. I wanted to feel like a hero after feeling so out of control and scared all week. To take in the view of the valley I just explored on foot from the back of my horse. So I got Merlin out of the pasture, groomed him, didn't take the time to do any ground work and I didn't use any bug spray on him. I had not even bought bug spray yet this year. The bugs weren't an issue yet.

But the heat had finally brought out the first hatches and while they weren't bad in the woods at the base of the mountain they were bad up in the open grassy places we ride. Merlin wanted to graze on the better grass where the sun shined. I wanted to ride. I could tell I should have done ground work, too late though, and we rode on.

In another place and in another time I'll tell the whole story, like if we meet up for drinks at the Argyle Brewing Company, but the summary is that I was asking him to go on new trails, with bugs bothering him, without ground work, in a saddle that had too loose a girth. All dumb mistakes I had made before, but what can I say. I ran far and felt strong. He felt strong too, and kicked up high as he loped up a muddy trail and there was no purchase on the sliding saddle.

I got his reins, lead him to a place I could tie him up, and adjusted the girth. I got right back on him. He tried the bucking again and I said some very choice words and stayed on. I rode him home. He was wild and wanted to sprint. I laughed thinking how a 20 year old horse is not exactly an oldster just yet. He bitched and wanted to take off but I kept him calm. I sang to him the only song I knew in Gaelic, slowly and with calm confidence. Whatever part of me that was supposed to be shaken and scared was in a drawer somewhere else.

That night I finished chores with the sheepdogs running around, grabbed a long hot shower, and then got gussied up for the brewery. I always take Gibson, who is welcome most civilized places. I enjoyed a night of hard cider and new brews and talked for hours with good friends. It was packed, and headed home when the crowd size beat the enjoyment size. I knew I'd wake up sore.

I was too tired to hear the bear. That story in the morning...


Blogger Lisa Thériault said...

What?! Oh come ON! That's just not fair... To make us wait... Ugh! I'll be back, I suppose that's part of your plan... Lol

April 23, 2016 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

I bet you will be sore today. By the way, how is Friday doing?

April 23, 2016 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Miriam Romais said...

Bear???!!! What were you drinking at Argyle? ;)

April 23, 2016 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Dilettante said...

Oh Jenna, you are a born writer! With your words you transport us to places and experiences that we would never imagine otherwise.

April 23, 2016 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Sparkless said...

Oh I love a good bear story. I have so many myself and even security camera footage to back my stories up. LOL! Can't wait to hear this story.

April 23, 2016 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Mel Baker said...

Oh, you are sooo bad! Don't keep us waiting long; some of us have NO lives and live vicariously through you!

April 23, 2016 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Povertyflats said...

I was always told your not a true cowboy until you fall off your horse. I've been a true cowboy so many times I've lost count. Sometimes you need a short memory when you ride a horse.

April 23, 2016 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Richard Byer said...

@Miriam...yep, i'll have what she's having...

April 23, 2016 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

My favorite horse had to be put down at age 21, due to an injury, but she was full of vinegar despite her age. I used to sing to her on the way home, too, as much to remind myself to be calm, as to keep her slowed down. Horses teach us so much!

April 23, 2016 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Goose Goose said...

Nicely done. Now, we have to hear about a upstate NY.

I can't wait to hear about your bear story....will you please just type it now? :)

.............................ok, how bout now?

April 23, 2016 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Goose Goose said...

And, speaking of Merlin, did you see this? Pretty neat.

April 23, 2016 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I think that most horse owners have had a similar experience. You seem to be unhurt physically, and that is good. Horses like to dump us...and then look at us like how did you get down there? Yes, you must to right back on....just like life. We are all handed difficult times, and I have my share of challenges. You have the ability to take on your problems, and live bravely and strongly.

April 23, 2016 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Ohmygoodness! 8 miles? How long did that take? I would still be running if I went for an I mile jog!

April 25, 2016 at 8:21 AM  

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