|Gratuitous cute Cuna photo spam|
We started out trotting a complex pattern over ground poles. There was a one stride, an angled three stride line immediately after, and a three stride bending line. It doesn't sound all that difficult until you factor in that we had to do the whole thing with one hand on our heads. Yes, that means the other hand was on the reins and all directional impulses came from our legs. Nothing like a freaking tough exercise to make you realize that you suck at life.
Anyways. We were going on our merry way and Steph set everything up to crossrails. She apparently thought I wasn't being challenged enough--she has complained before that I do absolutely nothing with my hands. Thus, I got to cross my irons and do the exercise with one hand. Awesome. We made it through, albeit with a couple of strategically placed circles to regain some semblance of speed control. As we came over the last tiny X, something happened.
|Picture this monkey, only with a crazed look on his face, riding a horse|
I could hear Steph yelling direction, but the primal instincts I was operating on didn't even attempt to follow them. I tried to wrap my leg around his barrel and was rewarded with a mighty buck (yes at a gallop) as Cuna reminded me that I still had spurs on. Damn.
As we rocketed around the circle again, I noticed that our lesson buddy was standing quietly, spectating, DIRECTLY IN MY PATH!!!! I didn't dare pull left--I knew the change in direction would fling me into the fence. I didn't dare go further right because at the rate of speed we had attained, I thought there was a good chance Cuna wouldn't be able to stay on his feet. I was absolutely certain that Cuna would see the other horse and be like "Hi buddy" and stop.
Perish the thought! We charged directly at the other horse. At the last moment, the mare was like, "Hey mom, don't think he sees us!" and took off as well. I slid off the side and watched hooves flash over my head as I landed in the sand next to the mare's rider. Cuna and the mare booked it for the barn with Steph and the mare's rider in hot pursuit.
As I knelt in the arena, catching my breath, I realized a few things.
1) I may not have completely conquered the "deranged monkey cling", but by golly I've improved it. This marks the first time in years that I have fallen off and landed on something other than my head. Remember? This fall and that fall. Yep. Landed squarely on my left hip, which means I have been working hard enough at redistributing weight into my feet (aka two point challenge FTW!!!) that falling is no longer akin to a missile launch.
2) It really wasn't that bad. I can fall and not get seriously hurt. If you've ever had a riding wreck, you know exactly what I mean--the idea of falling is terrifying because of the misery it ends in. Just popping off and hopping back on is not big deal. I probably (unfortunately) need to fall a few more times to really get that through my head.
3) Dammit, I love this horse. After his mad gallop through the barn, he was captured by the BO, led back to the arena by Steph, and then greeted me like nothing ever happened. I got back on and did some leg yielding and halting practice to get my legs working and my mind functional, and then he carried on just as quiet as could be.
4) Despite his many perfections, Cuna is a horse. I still have to ride. We got some new jumps yesterday, one of which is a nice little gate. Steph added it in to our pattern. I just assumed Cuna would jump it and didn't give him the best ride. He slammed on the brakes right in front of it. Whoops. We backed up a few steps and jumped it from there, and he was lovely.
5) Have I mentioned that I love Mr. Cuna? I am a person that just prefers a forward horse, which he is. It was so refreshing to get back on him and have him take me to the fences like he always does. None of this "being brave for both of us" thing anymore. He takes care of him and I have to figure out me.
|Feeling the pony lovin'|