Monday, January 20, 2014

Did I Say It Is a Holiday?

I am always hesitant to ride on holidays because of all the bored people off from work wandering around looking for something to do, but too many days have passed since I last rode, so I took my chances. My husband asked if he could ride with me. Rock was being a butt by chewing on Bombay's lead rope while they both were tied to the trailer, eating every bush in sight, walking off from the mount despite me standing at his head and holding him, trying to bite Bombay on the butt, stopping in the middle of the road while we were crossing, and just refusing to move up the trail at a respectable pace. He finally kicked it into gear and passed us so that Bombay could relax and stop wondering what Rock was doing back there.

We got to one of the busy roads and my husband looked like he was going to head through the gate. I told him that Bombay hasn't been ridden across a busy road yet. I wasn't ready for it because the last time I rode Bombay he got out of control upon having another horse run past him and getting sniffed by a loose dog, and I had to dismount and walk him home. Plus it was a holiday. Who knows what kind of yahoos might be out in the desert on the other side of the road?

I thought I saw a motorcycle coming, so I kept Bombay pointed at the street to test his mood. The motorcycle turned out to be a scooter. I knew that would be a good test, because he's never seen one of those before. He wasn't paying attention, so I had to point his face at it. He handled it really well, so I started to circle him to line him up with the gate to cross through.

Suddenly, Rock threw his head up like he saw something out of the corner of his eye, jumped sideways, spun and ran. Bombay jumped sideways, spun and started to run too. I was trying to figure out what Rock spooked at, but saw nothing. Then I saw my husband riding sideways and knew he was going down. He hit some pretty hard dirt and said, "Owww! That hurt!"

As soon as my husband went down, Bombay started spinning the other way.  I stopped Bombay's feet so that he wouldn't  do a full 360 and trample my husband, then took a deep breath to settle both horses down. Rock stopped just a few feet away from my husband and cocked his hoof like a little jerk, as if pretending like nothing just happened. When a horse dumps two riders within such a short period of time, that becomes a pattern. I wanted to kick his ass to let him know that behavior was not okay, but because he did stop and wait, punishing him would have been a mistake, because maybe next time he'll dump and run off, knowing that he's going to get punished.

So, I just glared at him and went over to assess my husband's condition. He was curled up in the fetal position not moving with his eyes open, clutching his mobile phone. I stayed quiet because I knew he was assessing his own condition. He said his back and hips hurt. He was able to move his legs. I was waiting for him to make a decision on whether he could get up on his own or if he needed an ambulance when I became aware of all these drivers pulling over to the side of the road. I didn't know if this was a large group of people who were going hiking together or if they were people who pulled over to help.

One woman came over and began asking my husband questions.  "Do you need help?"

My husband said, "No, not unless you can make me several years younger."

The woman said, "If I could do that, I'd use it on myself first!"

More cars began pulling over to investigate what all the commotion was about.

All the unwanted attention spurred him to get up off the ground before he had a crowd around him. The lady tried to grab his arm to help him up, but he said he was okay. I really didn't want to grab anything on him, because if he did have a neck or back injury I could make it worse. She tried to grab his horse from him and told him to just walk around for a little bit, but he refused her help. Then she identified herself as a massage therapist, and told him to take a bath in Epsom salts when he got home.

Another couple offered to help, but he said he was fine. We had our mobile phones and could call for the paramedics, if necessary. I asked the woman if she stopped because she saw him down on the ground. She said yes, she was driving by and saw him. The other couple, it turned out, pulled over because they saw her car there and thought it must be a trail head, and wouldn't it be a nice day for a hike? That's what I mean by "holidays!" If you are going hiking, at least consult a map and bring water. Don't just do it impulsively because you see other cars or people off to the side of the road.

Rock was still being a butt as we were leading the horses home, so I had my husband take Bombay, who is excellent about not putting any pressure on the lead rope. Plus Bombay seemed a little more concerned about my husband than Rock did.

Rock got a few spankings from me after trying to bite me.  I'd swear that some days horses just wake up and decide, "I'm going to be as rude and belligerent as possible today and see how much trouble I can get into."

As we were nearing home, an endurance rider on a grey Arab came trotting toward us and that got our horses' hackles up. She was good about slowing down and watching our horses' reactions. We led them up a different trail away from her, but they kept looking over their shoulders excitedly at this new horse.

Once home, I lunged Rock in the round pen for a long time at the faster paces, and when he started showing signs of fatigue, I would not let him stop moving his feet. The last thing we wanted was for him to decide that dumping a rider is a good thing, because he gets to go right home and relax. I'm pretty sure he made the connection that losing a rider means hard work. Maybe next time he considers spinning and running from something he thinks is there that is not there, he'll think twice.


riderwritergirl said...

I hope your husband is ok! The day after getting dumped is never fun and usually very sore.
My pony is very strong, forward and likes to yank. When I first started riding him he injured my shoulder. It was then that I discovered the ultimate tool for sore muscles and joints. The rice sock. You just fill up and old knee sock with rice, then heat it up in the microwave for a few minutes and place it on the sore spot. Just thought I'd share as it has saved my sore muscles countless times.
I've been following your blog for a few years anonymously and never commenting, but I've always enjoyed it nonetheless. I love hearing about all your horses, but I have a soft spot for Bombay. He looks exactly like the Arab I learned to ride on. He was put down a few yeas ago afer suffering a colon displacement, but I have held a place in my heart for flea bitten greys ever since.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

riderwritergirl - Well, thanks so much for commenting. I'll relay your remedy to my husband. I have a soft spot for Bombay too. I'm sorry you lost your boy.

fernvalley01 said...

Glad hubby seems ok,I hear him on the "make me younger thing!

Cheryl Ann said...

Oh, gosh...I hope your hubby is okay. That's why I'm still nervous riding...and it is a LONG way to the ground these days!
~~Cheryl Ann~~

Sam said...

I agree - that is a little worrisome on Rock's part, especially if nothing seems to be there to spook him. I'm sure you checked - but is there something not fitting him right with his tack? Did maybe one of the boots scuff on the ground and spook him? I've got a couple of things coming up but I can head back your way with Maggie and ride with you.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The only correlation between the two wrecks was that he threw his head in the air like something surprised him, and we both started to speak right before it happened. It's almost as if he's coming out of a deep sleep and we wake him by talking, and our voices scare him. Otherwise, my spook happened while walking and my husband's spook happened from a relaxed standstill. So, I don't think it's the tack.