Monday, August 4, 2008

Trail ride adventures: Getting caught in our first storm

On Saturday Karen and I went for a trail ride — Panama's first since the mailbox incident the previous weekend. I didn't have any more falls, but we did get caught in a storm for the first time.

We are having a typical Colorado summer — really hot most of the time, but with freak thunderstorms to cool it down. Usually the thunderstorms are in the afternoon, but on Saturday we had an unexpected one come up in the morning, while we were riding.

The wind was the biggest problem. It started blowing like crazy about two-thirds of the way into our ride. It blew my hat right off, and Karen had to dismount to get it because Panama was getting pretty worked up about the wind. While she was retrieving the hat, Panama was focusing on — and freaking out about — some leaves that were blowing toward him along the trail.

I put my hat in one of my handy saddle pad pockets (that saddle pad is awesome!) and we fell in behind Karen and Lily. It started raining on us, and the wind was blowing into our faces so hard that I could barely see. Panama was a little jumpy; I had to keep a tight rein on him so that he wouldn't bolt. However, I also think that having Lily to follow helped him a lot.

The thunderstorm left as quickly as it came — all in all, I think it only lasted about ten or fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, Panama was still a little worked up: When we were almost back to the road we heard a big sound, at which Panama exploded forward several steps. I reined him in, but being slammed down into the saddle had jarred my lower back and hips (where I'm still bruised from my fall) a bit. Also, Panama didn't relax the way he usually does after spooking about something — he stayed wound so tightly that I knew he was ready to bolt again at a moment's notice. I decided it would be better to dismount and lead him across the street, than to risk ending our ride on a similar note as the previous weekend!

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