Wednesday, October 10, 2012 Nemesis Part Three.

So OK impatient ones...the duck incident. But after this you need to know it's back to farm business as usual. Three posts on ONE horse is three too many. She doesn't even generate any income for us for crying out loud!

So there we were, Ennis, my new Missouri Fox Trotter and I ,  strolling through the woods near our farm. It was our third ride in the woods and she was doing so well. With her ears up, listening to the sounds of Fall, and me enjoying the colors shifting from green to orange to red in front of my eyes, the sun filtered , coming through the trees  we were both realxed and happy when suddenly... a splash.

A small group of ducks just in front of us, swimming on the pond, now startled by our presence, decided to fly straight up in the air...and nearly into Ennis's face.

Suddenly my very tall horse became drastically short. So frightened by the ducks she shot all four legs out, bracing them against the earth, lowering her entire body towards the  ground so much that my legs, just seconds before, elevated up in stirrups a good three feet off the ground , now were dragging the ground alongside my mare's belly.

For a millisecond I thought "so cool" but that thought evaporated at the exact moment  she flew back into an upright position and BOLTED!

I was no longer thinking "so cool" but rather "So DEAD!!!"

As we moved at warp speed towards the far side of the woods I reacted automatically and took her straight out into the bean field at the edge of the woods. I didn't really want to run at break neck speed. Instead I wanted so desperately to stop her and even thought for a second I would try the one rein stop. A technique where the rider reaches down and using just one rein,  pulls the horses head into her neck and thus disengaging their hind quarters makes it impossible to run forward, but the thinking part of my brain knew if I pulled on one side of her at this speed I could easily cause her to trip and fall.

Not a good option.

So I choose door number two and began circling her in the field. She was pretty spooked so the circle was large and wide. But with each turn I brought her in closer and closer and closer and smaller and smaller and finally she was tired enough to stop.

It was at that point I realized I had lost both stirrups. Yeah? Me too. Totally surprised I was still in that saddle. But factors remained that made it so.

1. I'm a big girl with a big bottom
2. When I am scared, my first reaction is anger and I was MAD at Ennis for acting like such an idiot which put me into emergency mode and caused me to work her into circles so that her mind was on my commands and less on the ducks now long gone.
3. I have an Australian saddle. The dang thing is heavy as sin but it grips you in the thighs, pushing them up against the polley and keeps you from sliding all over.
4. Adrenaline is a great butt glue.

After checking again that I was indeed still alive I considered just hoping off and calling it quits for the day. But I know that putting a horse straight away after a frightening experience just serves to cement the event in their little pea brains so instead I continued to do maneuvers with her. After I managed to get my feet back in the stirrups. I did:

Figure Eights
Cartwheels and backflips

Anything , so that she continued listening to me and would forget about the hugely frightening and life threatening 5 pound quacks. By the time we walked the 1/2 mile home we were both worked into a frothy sweat but we shared a mutual sense of relief.

She was relieved I was finally getting off her back and I was realized my body had not been driven 5 feet under by a jackass ninny, I mean legitimately frightened equine.

Why or WHY can't be satisifed to plunk down $30 twice a year at a stable in order to ride some over trained mount that wouldn't spook if it's belly were on fire is beyond me.

I just can't.


  1. Reminds me of the time we were in AZ at a 'work retreat' on a horse ride ranch. Read ... all the horses know where to go & why, "!" I got selected w/my horse last ... Peaches, the oldest & shortest of the whole bunch. Went on very slow & calm ride, next to last in line right in front of 'ranch' hand. Crossing creek ... Peaches decides to rear straight up!!!! If I hadn't had my feet in the stirrups & holding the reigns, I would have been flat on my backside. All ranch hands came to find out what the commotion was & it was determined that there must have been a snake or something nearby because Peaches had NEVER reared up before. Such is my luck, I swear I didn't do anything to aggravate her. Maybe she just didn't like my fat backside on her back?

  2. DFW. In all my years of being with horses one thing rings true...they are crazy. Glad you weren't hurt

  3. So the new horse is a little .. ahem .. flighty?

  4. MBJ. She is flighty about ducks yet when I wave plastic nags big and small she does nothing. She ignores big trucks, guns, motorcycles and crazy donkeys. But birds are a worry to her. I think I'll just tie one of our peacocks to her neck and be done with it

  5. I was reading this holding my breath. Lucky you are an experienced rider.

  6. Rusty, I am experienced, but I am no expert, unless I am an experienced expert beginner. Either way, I was mostly lucky I wasn't dumped on my keister !

  7. Looks like you ducked a bad fall (sorry! I couldn't resist!) I'm getting back in the saddle after almost 11 months due to a bad fall with a duck, of all things. You just can't trust those ducks!

    I made the mistake of riding my 13 year old mare in the field next to her daughter, a pony, and two Dexter cows. The four of them erupted into a combination Rodeo-Kentucky Derby, and poor Angel was jumping out of her skin. I was trying to keep a tight rein in a circle, but not so tight that she'd want to buck. We managed to control ourselves and make circles until everyone else paused at the same time. That's when I got DOWN (as in "from a duck!") I'm ashamed to say I led Angel back to the round pen and made her work--but at least I got down on my own terms!

    Bravo for you! Those spooks are always scary, but I agree that getting mad helps! It gives us the courage to fight through the incident and come out on top (of the saddle!)

  8. I am so glad that both you and your horse survived the fright. I would love to ride, but I think that it will have to be in my next lifetime that I have a go, seeing as how I am now in my mid sixties!

  9. Zephyr, I most likely would have gotten off and walked her home if she weren't so tall , 16 hands, and I so short, 5'1" I, in fact ue the sides of the round pen to mount and dismount. :)

    Vera, mid sixties is YOUNG! If you want to ride find some older calmer horse and take some lessons in a contolled environment. You'd have a blast!

  10. I'd rather ride a horse I know than and rent a horse. Invariably, I end up with the rent a horse with psych/behavior issues. It never fails. lol

    I had a horse once who was justifiably terrified of wild turkeys. You see a wild tom used to fly into poor old Guss's pasture and drive him away from his feed and hay! Birds are such bullies!! lol