Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Taste of Dirt

I’ve heard it said that the size of a wreck is directly proportional to the number of people watching. Smokey set out to prove that theory in front of well over a hundred people at Meridian Riding Club on Sunday, with me serving as the token crash test dummy. The event was Keyhole, which consists of a chalk outline on the ground in the shape of a keyhole. The object is to cross the start/finish line, enter the keyhole at the narrow end, turn around in the circle, and ride back to the start/finish line.

Horses do not like to step on anything that, to them, provides unsure footing. See this post for more background. Chalk is one such surface that Smokey finds suspect. We often sail, quite literally, across the start/finish line. We’ve run keyhole before, however, without incident, so I wasn’t concerned.

Getting the green light, we started off at close to a run. Halfway down the course, noting that we were off to the right, I applied gentle leg pressure to nudge Smokey to the left. Closing in on the target, all was well. Then Smokey spotted the chalk outline, and in the bat of an eyelash, he dropped his head to look at this new found danger, and jumped to the right.

I didn’t.

In the next instant I was lying in the dirt on my back. Good and fine, with one exception. My left foot was caught in the stirrup. Referring back to the paragraph regarding unsure footing, it should be noted that humans also represent said footing. In the effort to avoid stepping on me, Smokey kept moving away. Except that I kept following. So he kept moving.

The functional purpose behind cowboy boots, so I’ve been told, is to allow you foot to slide out in just such an event. Paint me skeptical. As I was touring the arena, trying to wiggle my foot free, the only thought in my head was “why isn’t this damn boot coming off?”

Being rather occupied at the time, I was completely unaware of the fact that, over in the other lane, the horse had been spooked by the show Smokey and I were putting on. He set to rearing and bucking, sending the other rider into the dirt as well. Luckily she was unharmed.

Fortunately, Smokey was only trotting, not running. After what seemed an eternity, my boot broke free of the stirrup. Spitting out dirt, I leaped to my feet, and started walking over to Smokey. I heard shouts of “are you all right?” “Well, of course, why wouldn’t I be?” I thought. Then it occurred to me that things may have appeared different from a spectator’s point of view. I gave everyone the thumbs up.

Taking Smokey’s reins, I looked him in the eye and quietly asked “what was that all about?” His look seemed to say “I have no idea what you’re talking about”. Mounting back up, I was asked if I wanted a re-ride. Absolutely! We only trotted to the keyhole this time around, however. Once inside the key, we turned, and I kicked him into a run for the trip home.

We, of course, sailed over the finish line, giving everyone a good laugh.


Buck said...

Video. We NEED video. ;-)

Buckskins Rule said...

I haven't been able to find anyone that took video or snapped a photo of my sorry ass being drug around. If I track any down, I'll be sure to post them.

Anonymous said...

At least he only trotted! (I know that's small consolation.) Glad no one was hurt.

Bag Blog said...

Usually after you give the thumbs up sign, you hear laughter.

Andy said...

Dave, I know it's not polite to laugh out loud at the misfortune of others. But, I actually guffawed.

I had seen the snapshot version on The Facebook...but the feature literally made me belly laugh.

Poor Smokey! He was a'doin' his best NOT to kill you, and dang near did! Thanks. I needed a grinner this afternoon...

BTW: Glad it was you, and not me (both experiencing it, and writing about it).

Christina LMT said...

Yowch! Glad there were no lasting ill-effects!

And I'm proud that you got back on and completed the ride. Well done.

WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Glad you're both okay and that you put Smokey through the pattern afterward.

Break away stirrups were invented for just such a situation.

: )

Jessica said...

Well, that sounds exciting!! I'm so glad no one was hurt, and you could dust yourself off and go again.

Makes me think I should wear thinner socks to aid in boot shedding.

Not that I'm coming off again. No. No. No. Not me.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're fine too and I also wish there was video!

Buckskins Rule said...

Kate: I'll take the trot. I know that he was only trying to avoid stepping on me.

Lou: We usually cheer in this neck of the woods. Apparently this two horse rodeo stopped more than a few hearts.

Andy: I was laughing about it afterward, so I'm glad to share the chuckle.

Christina: Strangely enough, I didn't have any angst about getting back in the saddle.

RunsWithHorses: True. Maybe it's time to look into those, at least for the speed events.

Jessica: "Not that I'm coming off again. No. No. No. Not me." You and me both.

Laura: I'm still beating the bushes to see if anyone got pictures.

Anonymous said...

You did great! He understood that he was a meat head!

Kris, in New England said...

Um wow - you are just so ... casual ... about it. Which I suppose when you ride you have to be.

Video would have been good - in a kind of sick way. And of course glad you are OK.

Gordon said...

You know, when I started reading this post I knew it would be another "Quirky Smokey" post. But the great thing about it is that he's never quirky the same way twice.

I'm glad horse and rider came through the event unharmed.

Michelle said...

This is my first visit here. Smokey is beautiful! I used to have a dun and I miss him soooo much. Gorgeous horses!
Oh, and I run too and I've had more than my fair share of face plants in the arena during shows (one of which was the National Appaloosa show!) Oh well, all part of the adventure, right?

Buckskins Rule said...

Kris: I think I am able to be casual about it because I wasn't hurt. I do accept that there is some amount of risk when climbing aboard a 1000lb animal.

Gordon: It's definitely always something new.

Michelle: Welcome to the site! At Nationals, huh? Guess that goes along with my statement about the size of the audience :)