Bouncing is for balls…

“It’s ok I bounce” me and a work colleague had just gotten back from taking a group of tourists on a trail ride, she was riding up the front leading the horse and rider behind her and I walked up the back with a couple of kids and a pony in each hand. The wind had blown a piece of plastic tarp (top ten list of most scary things for most horses I know) the horse up the front spooked one way and the horse behind spooked the other way, unfortunately my friends first reaction wasn’t to let go of the lead rope and she got pulled to the ground. Naturally those two spooking set of a chain reaction in which two more tourists ended up on the ground and I stood perfectly helpless unable to let go of the the kids. Everyone was ok, one of the tourists was pretty banged up but no broken bones (I doubt she will ever get on a horse again though) anyway after we safely got the remaining riders off and rounded up the loose horses I went over and made sure my friend was ok and our boss was checking on her again as well.

“It’s ok I bounce” she said, these words struck me mainly because lately I haven’t been “bouncing” my recent falls had left their mark of severe bruising and soft tissue injuries and x-Ray’s to rule out breaks and features and also because I’ve heard it before. 

My friend from Perth who I rode with often had said the same thing after I had admired her dusting herself off and getting back on her ex polo pony with questionable breaks who had once again forgot he was in a dressage arena not on a polo field.

Since then I’ve been thinking about it a lot, are some people tougher, more resistant to injury, I certainly used to be, is it a state of mind? Thinking back my recent falls haven’t been that severe, I’d had worse and it’s always going to hurt more the next day but I still couldn’t understand why recently even a slightly bungled emergency dismount has left me worse for wear. It all made sense after I read an article in the January 2017 Heals Down magazine “Fear of the Fall” the article wasn’t specifically about injuries and bouncing back this passage made something click in my mind:

“When you fall, if your body is tense- which it probably will be if your nervous- you stand a greater chance of injuring yourself” (Fear of the Fall, 2017, Heels Down, pg 21) 

I believe I’ve mentioned it before but I suffer from anxiety, not going to lie lately it hasn’t been as under control as I would like something I’m actively working on. I’ve always being aware of my anxiety when I’ve been riding forcing my self to keep it in check so my horse doesn’t feed of my life emotions. I didn’t make the connection that the same tenseness in my body that they can feel was affecting to my in ability to “bounce”.

As always having all the answers doesn’t fix all the problems but knowing I’m probably not any worse at falling of a horse than anyone else and I’m not defective or anything like helps. I know with some more hard work I will get my mental health back under control but I know giving up riding is never an option and regardless of how many times I fall off I’ll always get back on again, hopefully with fewer injuries and a newly re-discovered ability to bounce! 


Think like your horse

Patrick has always loved being groomed and when I go to pick out his hooves he practically lifts his foot before I’ve even picked up the hoof pick, bottom line I’ve never had a problem. Recently however he won’t pick up his feet, when he does he tries to back up or put his foot back down. My first reaction was annoyance and after determining that he wasn’t, sore, lame or had anything stuck in his hooves I’m ashamed to say I thought he was just being naughty and misbehaving. So because it was annoying and I wanted know how to deal with the situation the next time I rode so when I got home I turned to trusted Google. After surfing around on the Internet for awhile I realised my mistake, I was thinking like a person and not like a horse.   

“Understanding the problem from the horse’s viewpoint: The feet are the horse’s means of escape. When we lift a hoof and hold it up, we compromise the horse’s ability to flee. From the horse’s point of view, anything that endangers its feet also endangers its life. The horse’s eyes are out on the sides of its head, but when we bend over to pick up a hoof, we generally block the horse’s view of its own hoof. When a horse refuses to pick up its feet, it is not being “stubborn”, it is feeling insecure. Trying to force it or frighten it will make things worse, so don’t shout at it or prod it around as this will probably make it even less likely to cooperate. If there is just one hoof the horse won’t lift, it’s probably the right hind. The right hind is usually the one the horse is most insecure about.”

We put so much of our trust on our horses who as I’m constantly reminded of by my non horsey relatives are perfectly capable of killing us sometimes it’s easy to forget how much trust they put in us. Something so simple as picking hooves, we do it multiple times a day and I for one never thought about how it goes against their nature as prey animals.

I know in the future that I will try and see things from the horses point of view before getting annoyed. 

I can’t make this stuff up…

Image credit: offensive horse memes Facebook 

I was riding with a friend today and when we finished we lead our horses back into the stable. She was in front of me and took her helmet off and put it next to the desk which is in the centre of the area. Anyway Patrick knocked it with his back leg as he walked passed which would have been fine except he chose at that moment to stop and go to the toilet. That’s right Patrick pooped on her helmet. 🐴💩⛑

*this photo is b.f.s= before the face scar 


Today’s riding outfit of a chambray button up shirt and jeans was inspired by the fact that all my breeches were on the washing line and it rained last night. FML. It a good thing I have like 1 good pair of jeans and 5 old pairs of ‘horse’ jeans, and to be completely honest I’m pretty sure I’ve ridden in my good jeans at least once. #keepingitclassy #keepingitreal