Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ejector Button

I was having a fairly average ride on the pony on Sunday.  Now, when I ask for forward she puts her head down and wiggles it around like she wants to buck.  This happens if I'm using leg or spur or whip or reins on her neck or even reins slapping the saddle.  I really want to find a way to work through this that doesn't feel like I'm punishing her.  Maybe this is my big issue though.  She wants to be in charge and I'm not stepping up and saying no loud enough.  It's such a fuzzy, fuzzy line between leadership and dominating and I'm still not sure where to go with it.

So, I'm noodling around in two point and trying different things.  There's another woman in the arena on a horse I've seen before, but not being ridden.  It turns out she's brought this horse in for 30 days of training while she has a surgery done.  She's super nice and her horse is a well put together and cute Mustang.  We chat about his history.  He's been under saddle since December but hasn't had much in the way of good training.  She's come off of him once, though we didn't talk about why.

Her little horse doesn't have much in the way of steering and they mostly walk.  When they trot, it's a very tense trot without any forward movement.  I wonder if she's nervous.  We talk about our "Oh Crap" straps and how she's never had one before.  We talk about how she's getting older and her horses are getting greener, culminating in this mustang who came off the range a year ago.

One of the young girls at the barn joins us and has not mounted yet, but is walking her horse around the arena.  The woman and her mustang (I know their names but for privacy I don't want to put them here) are still doing random circles at the walk.  One time, he busts into a canter when she asks for forward trot.  She laughs and says this is his new evasion.

She's walking and then doing the uptight trot and then she asks him to canter.  He puts his head down and bucks.  She flies forward.  And then he hits the ejector button and puts his head between his knees and his heels to the ceiling.  She FLIES off over his head and slams the ground hard.  Her horse takes off running.  Tessa's body goes tense and she skitters to one side, alert and ready to bolt.  The mustang stops and allows himself to be caught by the young girl in the arena.

I hop off Tessa, asking the woman "Can you talk?  Should I call 911?"  She doesn't respond.  She doesn't move.  She groans.  I run to the other side of the barn, Tessa dancing beside me, to grab the phone.  It's not there.  It's with K, who's running the barn for the weekend while everyone is gone at a nearby show.  Tessa and I sprint down the aisle.  Side note here:  I did a lot of running.  Tessa ran exactly with me.  She was never in front or behind or in my space.  I was only focused on one thing.  Find K QUICKLY and call 911.  I didn't have an opportunity to worry too much about my horse and so neither did she.  It was the perfect example of being exactly in the moment, without any external or internal bullshit.

I get K and she calls 911.  I rip off Tessa's bridle and put her in the cross ties, heading back out to the arena.  The young girl has taken the mustang back to a stall and unsaddled and unbridled him.  The woman has struggled to a sitting position.  K is on the phone with 911 and asking the woman if she wants an ambulance.  She says no.  She says she is embarrassed.  I recognize that it is more than just embarrassment, it is fear and anxiety and shock.

She gets up.  The medics come and check her out, but they see no signs of anything major.  Lots of bruising, probable muscle pulls and strains but nothing broken.

I go back and get Tessa.  I put her bridle back on, though my heart isn't in riding.  I know I need to get back on.  We do a few twenty meter circles, some trot and a canter transition.  Then I get off.  I inhale her pony scent from her sweet muzzle.  I am grateful that though she does buck and get huffy and pissy, she doesn't hit the ejector button.

The horse I saw on Sunday wanted his rider OFF RIGHT NOW.  There were warning signs.  His trot was bunched up, he was behind the leg.  I am going back tonight for my Tuesday lesson and will likely find out more about what's happening with this horse and rider.  I will also be telling the trainers what I saw, because I don't want anyone else getting ejected and hurt.


  1. Glad she wasn't hurt, however they do not sounds like a good match at all. That horse needs a professional who can deal with those issues.

  2. Scary! I'm glad she ended up being OK and that you were there to help her.

  3. Hope she truely is ok and not injured - yikes! Happy to hear Tessa stayed calm right along beside you!

  4. Oh dear! Glad she wasn't badly hurt.