Off to the Races

by Equestriangradstudent

Friday was a pretty intense day for Studly and me. After our little spook on Thursday, he decided that walking around the arena was just not the thing to do. We started our session on Friday pretty much the same as every recent session. Lunge, get good transitions, let Rebecca lunge (there were some small corrections to be made, but she did a fairly good job), then bring him around to the mounting block. I got on, he felt pretty relaxed, so we went ahead with our walk-halt plan. We got all the way to the viewing booth before he took off.

I’m not sure if he noticed someone inside the booth or if he just couldn’t stand to walk any longer, but suddenly we were cross-cantering around the arena. Rebecca had the lunge line and was trying to slow him down, but he was pretty determined to run. She finally got him stopped and I praised him, but as she walked up to get him back to the rail, he took off again, this time in the opposite direction. Still cross-cantering. He started leaning as he picked up speed and finally fell over. Fortunately for me, he slid sideways as he fell so I was tossed out of the way instead of getting pinned underneath him. He got up and started running again, I got up and tried to walk in a straight line. I felt pretty dizzy, and Ron noticed immediately. He asked if I was okay, and when I nodded yes he told me to get back on. At that point, Rebecca had caught Studly and was walking him around the rail. We headed back to the block to try again.

He was much more tense this time, so we scratched and patted him while we stood at the block. Ron got on the microphone and told Rebecca to unhook the line, because that was probably what caused him to fall. She reached up to unhook it and Studly took off. We went running around for a good while with the lunge line chasing us. When he started to tire his canter got quite pleasant. That mad running is not comfortable, though. Ron kept saying random things like, “smile! riding is fun!” and “this is what you came here to do, enjoy it!” Yeah, Ron, I’m trying to. I did actually smile as we raced past the booth.

We got some trot and calmer canter, and on the correct lead! Then Rebecca moved to get the block out of the corner, at Ron’s instruction. Studly slammed on the brakes, turned left, then back to the right and pitched me into the wall. That was about five minutes before class ended and I broke my helmet so I couldn’t get back on. Rebecca walked Studly around while I explained with hand signals where I had hit the wall. It was not the best end to a session.

Ron decided that from this point on I am going to ride free with Rebecca walking next to us (if Studly wants to walk). I’m just going to have to ride through this phase and try not to fall off. I contemplated wearing my cross country vest, but it might make it hard to sit deep in the saddle. Jen suggested borrowing a western saddle, and while it would be nice to have the horn to hang on to, I’m not as secure in my position in a western saddle. I’m definitely attaching a grab strap, though.

We’ll see what Monday brings. At least it’ll be warmer.