Monday, December 29, 2008


Husband and kids left early to go play laser tag with friends, so I'm here alone with horse chores and the possibility of brilliant rides and novel edits to type in. Looking around the house there are a hundred different things more I could do, all that need doing, but none of which I want to let fill this nice long day.

It reminds me of this photo taken by my husband, Hen Wallow Fall, and all those leaves, the brightly colored ones as well as the drab ones, are the choices I have today. I think I shall pick the brightest ones first and let the others slide on down, out of reach and out of sight.

I have to add the tale of drama from the afternoon.

First, the geldings were down the big hill, closed in so Salina and the donks could have the dirt paddock today. After I fed Salina's lunch I walked out and called Keil Bay to come up and get ready for a ride. I went back in the tack room and got sidetracked until I heard his big whinny. He was standing at the gate to the little barnyard, waiting, and letting me know he was there. What a sweetie!

While grooming Keil Bay, I decided to give him his sport cut, and then decided it was sheath-cleaning time as well. Rafer Johnson turned himself into the big barnyard to join us for the mane and tail trimming, and then followed us into the barn aisle. He stood at my side the entire time I was cleaning the Big Bay's sheath, fascinated with the pail of warm water, the white cotton, the green gel, and the fact that the Big Bay was totally fine with this odd procedure. It was hilarious. Meanwhile, Redford (who will look for escape routes but won't go through a fence or squeeze through a gate) was in the paddock with Salina braying away for his brother to come back. Nothing diverted Rafer from his focus. He so wants to observe and learn.

Once in the arena I got on the mounting block and when I put my weight in the stirrup, the entire saddle slid down with me. To his credit, while my foot was in the stirrup underneath his belly and I was flailing around trying to get it out, Keil took one step back but then stopped when I said whoa.

I don't think that has ever happened to me in my life. I always do the girth up gradually, and somehow must have forgotten to do the last two notches on either side. Once I got the saddle fixed and the girth tightened properly, Keil stepped away when I got back up on the block. He was reasonably skeptical about the whole mounting business, and I realized I had to fix the new issue I had just created.

I shoved the block into position each time he stepped away, until he stopped stepping away. Then I climbed up on the block and repeated a couple times until he stood for that. Finally I put my foot in the stirrup and stopped there. (we learned this technique a year or so ago and I was glad I remembered it today) I put my foot in again, weighted it, and he stood still, so I popped on up.


After all that drama the ride itself was nice. My back was a little tight but cantering made that disappear. Then my inner thighs were sore, but that's what happens when I don't ride every day! So... we finished up just in time for Keil Bay to go into a stall with some fresh hay while the rest of the herd came in. Time to get back to yoga stretches and Pilates. Either that or buy a 3-step mounting block!


Grey Horse Matters said...

As always a good plan. Do what you want and leave the rest slide.

Rising Rainbow said...

When all was said and done did Mr Rafer have an opinion about the process? LOL

It's not a good feeling when you go to get on and the saddle gives that way, I know......been there. Glad you got it all fixed pretty uneventfully.

Cheryl Ann said...

That's how I injured my back last summer. My friend, who I was riding with, didn't fasten the saddle enough and when I"dismounted", it came off sideways and BUMP! I had a really hard landing and tweeked my back, leading to a pinched nerve, muscle pain, numbness, tingling, etc. You can read about it on my blog: It has been a long, painful recovery and I still can't ride a horse for another 6 months!

billie said...

Arlene, we are on the same wavelength, clearly. :)

billie said...

MiKael, he seemed mostly just fascinated. He has always stood right by when the vet has come - or chiro, or massage therapist, etc. He once stole the vet's cell phone right out of his pocket. :)

billie said...

Wow, Cheryl, that is scary... :/

Fortunately I was able to keep my right foot on the ground, even when my left foot went under the Big Bay's belly and was hung in the stirrup. I don't know how I managed to hang onto the saddle, stand on one foot, get the other one out, and get the girth unbuckled all in a matter of 20 seconds or so, but I did.

Weird little thing I do that might have helped - when brushing my teeth I put one foot up onto the bathroom counter, while the Sonicare goes through two cycles, then I put the other foot up for the last two cycles. I have been doing that ever since I started back riding, trying to keep those inner thigh muscles stretched out for mounting purposes, LOL. But it has probably helped with my balance too!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Whew Billie! I'm so relieved to read that nothing unfortunate happened to during that stirrup experience.
As you already know, the reason my knee is messed up is because my foot got snagged in the stirrup on the way down.
If that hadn't happened all I'd have right now are a few bruises. sigh.

Your Big Bay is a good boy for standing still when you slipped down. Baby Doll was spooking so she wasn't calm enough to stand still and it happened so fast, it never even ocurred to me say Whoa. I think she would have stopped if I had.

I think it just surprised me. As in, "How did I end up down here?"

And then I think it scared her even more seeing me down on the ground, so she tried to move away from me so she wouldn't step on me, but that caused my knee to get yanked. Oww!

Anyway, I'm really glad that you're ok.

I think I may try some of your bathroom exercises once my Dr. says I'm up for it again.
I want to get my body back in shape so I'll be ready to ride by summer.

New Mexico

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh! And I forgot to ask you if donkeys also get sheath cleaning, too?


billie said...

Lisa, I hope you heal very quickly.

Keil Bay was trained very well - he stops immediately if you get out of balance on his back, i.e. might be getting ready to fall. I've noticed Cody does the same thing - my son has taken a couple of spills, as has my daughter, and Cody immediately stopped and stood quietly.

I have no idea how one would teach that, but it sure comes in handy!

billie said...

I don't know! Not so far, anyway!