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We Are Flying Solo

October 6, 2009

And We All Fall Down

PhotobucketWe seemed to be going along ok. I tried hard to practice what Jim had shown me, especially one exercise in which you take one jump, then put your horse on a circle until he has a nice canter rhythm and THEN go to the next jump. Do not pass Go until rhythm accomplished. In typical fashion, I think I did it about 8 or 10 times and then went "Ok, fixed!" *snort*

We had a canter, sort of. It still got rushy and unbalanced easily, especially on a jump course. Solo resembled a giraffe while executing leaning, on-the-forehand turns, but there was no bucking or bolting so I considered that problem solved too!

*brushes off hands*  There, my horse is finished! (snorts even louder)

So we entered the first in a local jumper show series. No problem, right? We can jump, Solo always jumps clean, I hang on and point with gritted teeth, we'll be champions!

PhotobucketIt began ok. The plan was to warm up in 2'6" and go to 2'9".

Then we got to jump #5. It was an option: (a) a skinny skinny with blue wavy planks or (b) a vertical over a liverpool. Solo had pretty much never refused anything so I went for the liverpool -- it's just a vertical right? And it had more room for error!


It went like this:

Approach, approach, me staring at liverpool like an idiot.
Solo begins to stare at liverpool, informing me that there may indeed be hoof-feeding sharks in there.
I tell myself, Look up, you idiot!, while at that same time staring down at Solo staring in horror at that Blue Tarp of Doom.

End result -- at the last possible second, as I kick, Solo plants his front feet. I'm thrown off balance, but no big deal...oh wait, then he drops a shoulder and spins away. Depositing me neatly on the top rail while he gallops back towards the trailer wailing, "No freaking way!" over his shoulder.

I wish I had a picture!

A kind ring steward caught my horse and returned him to me. Solo's eye rolled at me, going, "OMG, you are supposed to stay on me! WTF are you doing down there??! What just happened??"

I glared at him silently as I climbed back on and in one of my (not) finer moments, growled under my breath, I don't like you very much right now, horse.

Hosting trainer kindly lowered the jump so we could school it. I tried again. Solo planted his feet again and jumped sideways again. I stayed on this time, but caught him in the face as he jumped and his front feet popped up a little in surprise. There nothing like hearing onlookers gasp while you are riding. It pretty much makes you want to slink under your trailer like a dog that just got whacked in the butt with a newspaper.

Judge suggested maybe we just jump something else to end on a positive note. Solo suggested that maybe I go f@ck myself instead. There was nothing left to do but retire gracefully.

PhotobucketWe went and schooled the XC course there instead, I couldn't stand the thought of going home without SOMETHING positive. Of course, as soon as he saw THOSE obstacles, Solo was quite happy to gallop and leap over anything I pointed him at.Photobucket

We loaded up and went home, my head hung in shame. Both of us with shattered confidence. I had never fallen off Solo before and it made his world fall apart.

My plan: stare blankly out the windshield wondering, Now what the hell do I do?


  1. Darned horse-eating liverpools! Gah, one of those had caused me to be "deposited in the dirt", as you so eloquently put it!

    I'm sure Solo's faith in you will be restored sooner than you think. Plus it's always nice to have a horse that dislikes having you fall off and attempts to keep you on top! Maybe that's how he'll become.

    There's no shame to having a bad class, especially since you went and finished the day with a stellar XC schooling. Feel good about what you did accomplish :)

  2. Wow! What a talented writer AND rider you are--really enjoying this blog. You and Solo make quite the pair and seemed to be well-suited both in type and personality. Best of luck schooling that liverpool!

  3. You guys look amazing in the pics up to the Liverpoole of Doom! The stop-spin-bolt has been my demise one too many times :o) At least Solo felt bad about you falling! Every time Mosco has just gone a few more steps then waited for me to get up and get on with things. Thanks for the sympathy buddy. I'm looking forward to hearing how you got over this bump in the road.

  4. And yet another off-topic question: What's your favorite girth? I've always ridden dressage, but just purchased a new A/P saddle to do a little of everything with (in my non-existent spare time lol). I don't know what brand of girth to get! I've also got to measure him, since my short lil dressage girth looks pretty funny next to all the hunter girths at our barn!

  5. Thanks, y'all! A stop and dump is all that much harder when you are convinced that your horse will NEVER stop and dump you! And Jen, yes, I have learned that Solo is quite content to leave me as bait for the wolves while he runs for home.

    LOL Jen -- I don't have a favourite brand, since I'm always on a tight budget, I just bargain shop to a point. Things I must have -- good elastic, roller buckles. I recently splurged, sort of, because I REALLY wanted an overlay girth and Dover had theirs on sale for $50 and I love it, simple clean look. The other one I have is your pretty standard hunter girth, I think I paid about $40, but that was 10 years ago. I haven't had any BAD girth experiences, so there you go, that's probably not helpful at all! I also recently bought "The Amazing Girth Sock" for a whopping $7 and those things are awesome!

  6. Bargain shopper is my middle name! Good to know that I can probably go with one of the cheapish ones and be just fine. Where did you find said "Amazing Girth Sock"? Lol that's the best name ever.

  7. I am pretty sure I got mine from SmartPak? They come in all different colours, I am just boring and got brown. It saves me from cleaning the girth so often, woohoo for shopping to encourage laziness!

  8. I've fallen off my horse more times than I can count, and except for one occasion each time was completely 100% my fault.

    The one occasion that was most certainly NOT my fault being right in front of a judge after Mear completed her 7th opinionated buck, illustrating what she thought of a sign I wanted to ride by. *sigh*

  9. "My plan: stare blankly out the windshield wondering, Now what the hell do I do?"
    Ah, trust me, I have been there, done that. *pats back* It can be so hard, but you just have to pick yourself back up and get back on. You guys will get there! Thank you for the blog- I enjoy following it. :)