The inevitable happened April 5. I came off Neuf. He spooked at C and bolted, bucking down the long wide of the arena. Around K, I was not recovering, so I kicked free and pushed off the right side. I landed on my feet, but did not let go of the reins and Neuf did not stop, so I got my arm yanked, then my right arm AND knee clobbered with his passing legs. OUCH!
What set him off? Eh, who knows, he turned 4 on April 4, it was cold and windy that day, I had ignored the feeling that I should lunge him. I had skipped the usual half pad under his saddle, but whatever. He bucked bigger than I could stick. These things happen. No broken bones, a bit of tendonitis in the rotator cuff and some seriously sore biceps and other arm and shoulder muscles. I’m doing a bit of physical therapy, and it turns out my “good posture” is faked. It is all coming from my trapezoids and pectoral muscles, and my shoulder blades are still rolling forward a bit, so I have exercises to do a few times a day. I fully expect this to help my riding, improving some lazy core muscles.
In the meantime, he is still in work and I realized that I was starting to back off when I should not, so I have a trainer coming to ride him a couple of times a week, because he is a really good horse, and he deserves to be ridden like a really good horse, and not be given opportunities to learn bad things. Two rides by Kristin this week, and then I had my lesson with Inga this morning, and Neuf felt fabulous.
For now, Neuf is on probation, I’m not nervous on him, and I don’t want to become nervous on him, but I am being cautious and I don’t trust him yet, so no riding him unless I have company, if the little bird on my shoulder says “lunge today”, I will lunge. I’ll let Kristin get him going over fences as well, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be back to where we were soon, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll find my jumping mojo.
Today’s lesson, I didn’t need to lunge, I did a couple of in-hand circles, having him move away from me, then got on and he was lovely. Keeping him forward is still the primary goal, and he was not spooky, terribly looky, or anything, and while I decided to not canter going left, I could have.
Bali was also good, we really worked on keeping consistent contact through a change in bend (after finding her forward), this was mostly addressed at the walk, but then I worked on maintaining it in the trot and canter. We did some trot halfpass, and leg yield, really making sure she is not ignoring my leg. I had to remember to straighten onto the diagonal, then start halfpass, and if she lost connection, leg yield, turn the same direction, then perhaps a volte, and try the halfpass again.
In the canter work, we worked to keep it from getting too flat and adjustability in her neck, being able to move her neck right and left on both leads, counter cantering and then counter bend in counter canter. We had a few clean, but inadvertent lead changes, and what I need to remember to feel is in counter bending, counter canter, really feel her filling up the outside rein from my inside leg, THEN transition to trot.
Two really good lessons. Last week I had a bonus lesson with a friend, Joanna Randle, and it was really nice, but I missed my window of opportunity for writing my notes. But in summary, it was fun, I had lots of good work in transitions to get Bali sharper off my leg, worked on getting more jump in the canter with half halts and almost-transitions, slowing down the medium trot, and testing her willingness to reach forward for the bit and stretch, and in walk breaks, keeping a nice, smooth walk.
I need to decide on a show entry very soon. I haven’t been to a show in almost 2 years, so now I’m feeling nervous even contemplating filling out the entry. This will be for Bali only though.