Highs today near 90F in the mountains. 100+ down in the valleys. No, fall is not in the weather today.
Fall is in me. As in fall off my horse. Oops. I'm not hurt. I was wearing a helmet. It's been ten years since I came off a horse. I guess it was my turn.
Brett and I rode together early this morning to beat the heat. Luckily he did not have a camera so he couldn't take pictures of my fall like I did of his.
Jackson was a good boy. We did our usual warm up and he was stretching nicely at the trot. I was pleased since it's been a process getting him to stretch and I felt it was also an indication that he is feeling good in his joints and back. He was comfortable and relaxed. It was already warm out so we took a lot of walk breaks.
After warming up, I worked on getting him to step under at trot. We did some trot circles, spiraling in and out and some shoulder fore. He was a good boy.
Then we moved onto canter work. I'm trying to get him to transition quietly and promptly into the correct lead. I had been tapping him on the outside when I ask so he would jump into the correct lead. However, I tend to lose my rein contact when I do that and throwing away the aids doesn't help matters at all. So, I tried nudging with my outside heel instead since I can keep my hands quiet that way. It worked great. He wasn't making quiet transitions but they were prompt and energetic. We celebrated with a hand gallop.
At this point, he was starting to lose his brain a bit. So, I worked on downward transitions from canter to trot using just my seat. This forced him to pay close attention and focus. We were doing big loops at canter and he somehow kicked the arena rail on the long side. It freaked him out and he threw his head up -- covering my face in mane and horse sweat. I think he may have reared a bit too and then he threw in a couple bucks. I didn't have any trouble staying on -- I was engaged and ready -- and we continued on with our work.
The next time we passed the spot where the arena rail attacked him, he bucked again. I wasn't expecting it and got a bit unbalanced. He bucked again and I lost my seat even more. At that point, I figured I could fight my way back up while trying to calm him down or I could just control my fall. I opted for option number two. My main concern was not getting stepped on. No worries. Jackson slid to an immediate stop and stood looking at me with confusion and concern all over his face.
I told him that I was okay but that I needed to just sit in the sand for a few minutes and get my bearings. Us middle aged folks don't pop up the way we did when we were teenagers. I didn't feel bad at all so I remounted and went back to work. We had some beautiful trot and a smooth, prompt and very quiet canter transition.
I halted at that point and jumped off. I always walk to the front of Jackson when I finish, rub his face, and thank him for his work. Today, I was a bit distracted. I just put my hand on the reins and started to walk. He planted his feet and wouldn't budge until I thanked him properly. Funny boy.