Friday, September 25, 2009


Yelling that was my first reaction after falling off of Panama today, for my fifth time ever.

I had a lesson this morning, so I was disappointed to find that it had rained overnight, making the pasture quite muddy. Initially my trainer agreed with me that cantering wasn't a good idea, so we worked on my post and two-point. My trainer also seemed pretty pleased with the improvements in my post.

We rode in the front pasture, where it was slighlty less muddy, but there were a still a few parts where Panama slipped forward a smidge every time he put a foot down. The way he compensated for it made his trot a bit bouncier, which took some adjusting to. My trainer said I was handling it well, though.

Then she decided to have me canter along the part where the footing was the best. I knew the footing was good there, so I didn't complain. Our first attempt was a bit awkward — I didn't keep my two-point very well, and Panama picked up the wrong lead. He also slowed to a trot after only two strides, presumably because we were about to turn the corner and he knew he was on the wrong lead.

Or because of what happened on our next attempt.

He was still a bit jumpy, just like last night, and after we cantered he was trotting pretty energetically, so my trainer told me to wait for her to tell me to canter. We trotted down the stretch with the good footing, and he calmed down a bit when we didn't canter, so she told me to canter as soon as we turned the corner.

We cantered. It was fantastic. I was doing much better.

For about two strides — before he slipped.

Because I was in my two-point, and probably also because I'm just learning this cantering/two-point thing, when he started going down in the front I didn't have a prayer. I immediately started falling over his left shoulder. I immediately thought, "I hope I don't fall underfoot." Whether because my body was instinctively trying to avoid this, or for some other reason, I rolled away from him as I fell, so I had a quick glimpse of his shoulder and legs right in front of my face.

My next thought was to realize my left arm had gotten caught in the reins as I fell. As I hit the ground, my arm came free, but not before jerking on poor Panama's mouth, I'm sure.

As soon as I hit the ground, I was looking for my horse. I saw him run away from me like he was being chased, cantering full speed at the (closed) gate between the pastures, and then do a magnificent sliding stop that still didn't keep him from hitting the gate. The force bent the latch and the gate popped open. My trainer was already on her way to catch him, and I sat up and yelled, "FIVE!"

After which, of course, I had to explain what I meant.

Anyway, after standing around for a few minutes to give both of us a breather, I got back on (I insisted, not my trainer — she was ready to start taking off his tack) and walked and trotted a bit more before calling it a day.

Panama did get a small cut on his front left fetlock, presumably from hitting the gate, but otherwise looks none the worse for wear. Other than the mark where the reins yanked on my arm, I'm fine too. Mud makes for a soft landing — although in this case, it was also the cause of the landing. Oh, and mud also gets EVERYWHERE when you land in it — I even found mud in my bra afterward!



At September 26, 2009 at 5:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mud can be your friend! It can be pretty hard to stay on when a horse disappears in front under you like that. Glad neither you nor Panama was hurt!

At September 26, 2009 at 9:11 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Glad you kept your sense of humor about it and both of you were okay.

At September 26, 2009 at 1:19 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Kate, it's reassuring to hear a more experienced horsewoman say that it's difficult to stay on at a time like that. I was disappointed that I fell, but really I can't think how I could have stayed on, since I was in my two-point. Maybe if I'd been in the saddle.

NM, keeping my sense of humor was definitely helped by the fact that I wasn't hurt. Last time I went over his shoulder like that, I didn't roll, and took most of the impact on the front and side of my hip -- on asphalt. That particular fall knocked the wind, as well as my sense of humor, right out of me.

It's definitely much easier to laugh about it when you're not in pain. ;o)

At September 26, 2009 at 5:50 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

Glad the two of you weren't hurt! Falling is scary, I know I have been off Gilly 5 or 6 times, can't remember now!
Keep an eye on that arm! I have a torn ligament in my shoulder from my last fall! darn it!!!

At September 26, 2009 at 6:26 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Jane, oh, I'm keeping careful track. ;o) When I told my trainer, she laughed and said it would happen at least 100 more times. While that's probably an exaggeration, it is nice to know that experienced riders fall too. She fell just last week, actually... in a very similar situation to mine, except she actually did fall underfoot. (Don't worry, she's fine -- a bruised collarbone, nothing more.)

I'm sorry to hear about your torn ligament. Is it limiting you a lot or are you able to do much? I hope it heals up quickly!

At September 28, 2009 at 6:33 AM, Blogger Vectormom said...

Wow, that's too bad. Glad you got back on for a bit. Hope you aren't sore! Better ride next time!

At September 28, 2009 at 2:03 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, Vectormom! I was slightly stiff the next day, but that was it. All in all, it was one of the easier falls I've had.


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