Honestly, I should have written/posted this several days ago, but I’ve been so exhausted this week (mentally, emotionally, physically) that I didn’t really have the fortitude to start typing. Even today I’m not feeling super hot, I had a headache overnight so I didn’t end up sleeping very well at all and I woke up nauseous and generally run down. 🙁 🙁 🙁
Anyways, this week was spring horse camp, which means there were no lessons and no time to get in any riding (outside of a quick schooling ride for the Pony) between wrangling children/ponies and making $$$ at my tutoring job, so this whole entire WRR is going to be dedicated to the ~35 minutes of ride time I had on Ezhno this week (lung crushing fall included).
Prepare for a novel. #sorrynotsorry (again)
We already talked about Monday, so let’s start with Tuesday instead.
Tuesday’s ride on Ezhno went a lot like Monday’s… at least, for the first five minutes. He was really stuck behind my leg, very lazy, super tense, didn’t want to go forward. I chose not to wear spurs and instead took a very patient, non-confrontational approach—lots of stern “walk” or “forward” verbal commands, plenty of calf, loose rein unless he was getting distracted and then only a couple of bumps to bring him back, kicking only when necessary, etc.
Five minutes into our ride one of the 4H riders that was being instructed by Trainer A passed by me on the wall (normal day, NBD). She asked for a canter transition from her horse and I felt Ezhno’s attention snap. He launched himself up into the air in a pretty impressive leap/bronc that I managed to sit, then he hit the end of my reins and instead of pulling himself out of his naughtiness he slammed on the brakes and went straight up into a full on Roy Rogers rear (see artist’s rendition on left LOL).
I kid you not, I felt us hit the tipping point where he would have flipped straight over if he’d gone any higher. Luckily I’ve got a semi-good rear reflex and my hands were all the way forward even before Trainer A shouted a very much appreciated warning. Ezhno came back down and then stood like a normal horse, albeit with his nostrils flared.
I gave him a stern “walk on” and then things carried on as normal for another five minutes, at which point we had another small rearing fit, then we closed out our fifteen minute ride with a comparatively chill couple of minutes of meandering around.
My legs felt like Jello when I dismounted.
I got him out on Wednesday with a small ball of nerves already brewing in my stomach. By the time I’d tacked up and led him out to the arena I’d calmed down a bit, but I still had Trainer M hold onto the reins while I mounted (worst fear: him throwing a fit while I’m only halfway on) and she talked me through taking a few deep breaths before she let go of me.
Just like Tuesday, Ezhno gave me about five minutes to settle in before he threw a fit—in the exact same spot! I caught on to his sudden turn in attitude just in time to put leg on and start tipping his nose to the left (they can’t rear if you pull their head around to your knee)… but this time the buck unseated me slightly and the rear threw me right off of his back.
Unlike most falls, there were no stages (i.e. I get knocked off balance, I lose a stirrup, I stick with it but then lose my other stirrup, I start to slide, the reins go flying, etc.)—I launched right off of him and landed a good fifteen feet away, flat on my black. I hit hard enough that all the air got knocked out of me in a pretty ghastly cry (Trainer M said she didn’t see the fall, but she heard me physically hit the ground—OUCH). I was on the ground just long enough to see Trainer M grab my horse (who at least didn’t try to run away) and Trainer A step in front of me (presumably so that my madman of a steed couldn’t step on me by accident), then I tried to roll over and get back onto my feet. I made it up onto one knee before my vision went black and Trainer A had to tell me to lay back down on the ground before I passed out.
I stayed sprawled out in the dirt while Trainer M escorted my beast out of the arena (I could hear him putting up a fight with Trainer M in the parking lot, LOL). I said some choice words, then managed to stagger back onto my feet after Trainer A checked in with me to make sure I hadn’t hit my head. She dusted me off and then I went to deal with my monster (who was waiting for me as cheerfully as ever). I immediately told a younger student off for trying to pet him (“don’t even look at that horse, he doesn’t deserve anything“), untacked him, and threw him back in his stall (with no lunch!).
Then I went to go wallow with Lexi (AKA cry into her mane while she nudged my shoulder). I spent the next hour brushing her (she was in desperate need of a shedding blade) while I ranted about how much I hated my horse and how I’d purchased him to be kind and safe and now he wasn’t and how I was going to sell his ass the moment he was sane enough to be ridden again.
But as the afternoon passed, I started to be angry not that he’d bucked me off, but that I didn’t have a chance to fix it. My feelings of desperation and frustration petered out and I was left with something closely resembling… love? I’ve always thought Ezhno was easy, safe maybe even a little boring, but now he’s… well, none of those things.
He spent the first few months of our relationship building up my tenuous confidence, and now that I’m mentally stronger I find myself enticed by these sudden explosions of energy and athleticism (though it’d be nice if we could direct that energy in a more positive way). And somehow he’s still building my confidence, even if he is tossing me onto the ground in the process…?
So as I climbed into bed later that night (with the aches and pains of the day already settling into my bones) I suddenly determined that this horse was mine. The thought that I can sell him and buy another horse if things don’t work out is always comforting, but for now I’m almost overwhelmed with the need to redeem myself (and, by extension, Ezhno).
I’m going to ride this horse and he’s going to like it—but first my trainers can deal with his attitude. 😛
So Friday Big Horse got half of my breakfast, a trim for his hooves, and a massage (he’s a little stiff from all the stall rest, but in general there weren’t a lot of really notable pressure points on him that could excuse his rodeo-esque behavior), and on Monday Trainer A is going to start working with Ezhno. 🙂