Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Art of Getting Out of the Saddle

In the simplest sense, there are two means for dismounting a horse. The planned method, and the unplanned method. The former is, of course, preferred, but does not make good blog fodder.

On Independence Day, Daughter #2's Husband (henceforth known as DN2H), and I went for a trail ride on Weyerhaeuser land north of Enumclaw. DN2H rode Smokey, while I rode Dozer. You may recall, from this post, that Dozermeister has been a tad skittish. This may become important later.

Dozer is shaped somewhat like a barrel, and is lacking in a significant withers. When going down hill, it begins to feel like the saddle is going to end up on his neck. To combat this, I brought along a crupper. Any wise horseperson will tell you to only introduce new things in the arena or round pen. I do not claim to be wise. I put the crupper on in stages, and once secure, let him sit with it for about ten minutes. No reaction, so all must be well.

I put the saddle bags on, again with no problem. Until I started to walk away. This was apparently one thing too many as he started jumping around like a bronc. Oh boy. After a few tense moments, we got him settled down. I removed the crupper. This seemed to calm the youngster, and we soon hit the trail.

The next three hours were uneventful, as we enjoyed the quiet and the nice weather. We were moving up a logging road, when I heard the sounds of other riders approaching on an intersecting road. Soon, a white horse showed up on the trail.

Dozer spooked so suddenly, and so quickly, that before I even realized it, I was flat on my back on the ground. I'm fairly certain the only reason Dozer did not manage to bolt is the fact that old Smokey Joe was standing in the way, with a look on his face that seemed to say "what's all the commotion about?" Finding one rein still in my hand, I jumped to my feet and gave a jerk on it to stop him. As quickly as the rodeo had begun, it was over.

I straightened the bit in his mouth, and climbed back in the saddle. A quick self assessment revealed the bottom of my left forearm to be, well, a bit scratched up. More on that later. A few other cuts and bruises, and my back was a wee bit sore. We rode up to the other party. Lo and behold, it was a friend of ours, and a whole group of her friends. We talked for a few minutes, laughed about my dismount, and then headed in on our separate paths. As DN2H put it "only your family would run into someone you know in the middle of nowhere". This does seem to happen regularly.

I asked DN2H's what happened. He put it rather succinctly: "Dozer did a rollback, I heard a thud, and you were the ground. You got back in the saddle, rode up, and started talking to your friends".

We headed back to the trailer without further event, unsaddled, loaded up, and took the ponies home.

It wasn't til later that the pain set in. It was a hard landing, cuz I don't bounce like I used too. My lower back hurts (sitting down is the worst), and my forearm looks like someone took a cheese grater to it. But, as they say, pain let's you know you're alive, so I'm alive and well. Although it may be a few more days before I climb up in the saddle.

BTW, this was my fault. I know Dozer has been skittish, and I heard the other riders coming. I should have been prepared for his reaction. Had I been, I probably would have stayed in the saddle. Sometimes I just have to relearn a few lessons.


Mary said...

Well it's about time you put something on here...

I really hope that fall doesn't interrupt your summer rides. The weather is finally gettin' good man! I'm sure my old bones wouldn't fare much better (I'm embarrased to say) We just don't bounce like we used to. I can just picture you getting dumped and back in the saddle like nothin' happended. "nothing to see here folks!" Funny. I do hope it's not serious though. Just a bit of ego bruising.

Buckskins Rule said...

Mary: it is mostly my pride that was bruised, and your description is spot on. I am sore, and it will probably be a week or so before I get back in the saddle. And yes! finally some decent weather up here. I didn't think it would ever come.

Mary said...

I know it sounds awful, but it just cracks me up when grown ups fall, they seem to gather up some sort of otherworldly strength and hop right back up before (they hope) anyone has noticed, zzzip! Or when someone trips and turns it into a little "planned" skip like stride. It kills me everytime, especially when it's icy, the news usually gets some good videos in the winter, I know, sick stuff..and I'm a grown up.

Jessica said...

Dave... try to stay in the saddle, would ya? And if it still hurts, go get an x-ray. That's how I found out I was broken last time. :) I do not bounce like I used to either, apparently.

I am glad you're okay and all ended well.

Anonymous said...

I had one of those moments about a month ago so I know what you mean - feel better soon!

innominatus said...

If your motorcycle spooks out from under ya, you're only a couple feet from the ground so it doesn't hurt quite so much. Just sayin'.

Deb said...

Any wise horseperson will tell you to only introduce new things in the arena or round pen. Sorry BR but I laughed right out loud when I saw that line, I could see a wreck coming.
Hope you feel better soonest.

Claire said...

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Buck said...

Ouch. And I'm here to tell ya Inno is WRONG. Gettin' spit off an iron horse hurts, too... and I have scars to prove it.

Take care, BR... and follow up if the pain doesn't go away.

Buckskins Rule said...

Jessica: If I'm still this sore by the weekend, I'm going to see a Doc. Having broken five bones in the course of my life, I know what that special pain feels like, and this isn't it. But still...

Kate: I daresay you're fall was worse than mine. Glad to here you are on the healing path.

Inno: I think falling off your bike might hurt worse...since your contact with the ground may last a bit longer.

Deb: I figured you would know what was in store!

Claire: Thank you!

Buck: I agree with you re: falling off the iron horse. And yes, I will follow up if needed.

Bag Blog said...

I hate those unexpected dismounts. It's the days after the dismount that are the worst - seems you just get sorer.

Love and Life said...

By the second paragraph I knew what was coming to you!!! Bad for the back but great for everyone elses entertainment. LOL :) I've had a couple of dumps in my lifetime but they were when I was younger, I'm sure it'd hurt much worse now. How are you feeling? Yes, our kid's ride went well with no bad instances, thank goodness. Hope you can get in the saddle soon. :)

Kate said...

Try to stay in the middle of the saddle! Glad you are mostly OK. The soreness of those unexpected dismounts can linger for weeks and warrant many trips to the chiropractor. Feel better!

daneastside said...

wow, didn't see that one coming, cool post.

westsoundmodern said...

Hertz donut!

The last time I got tossed was pretty comical, other than the fact that I landed in a chest high blackberry bramble.

At the time I was pretty green in the saddle. When Rio came to a puddle on a narrow trail surrounded on both sides by said brambles he refused to cross. Turned him to the left, to the right, backed him down, no dice. When I put my boots in his ribs he tired of my antics and began to pogo. I stayed in the saddle for about ten seconds and was feeling rather impressed at my ability to stay aboard when looking down, I noticed my zipped tight Carhart coat snagged on the horn. "Better get that off of there, might be dangerous" I thought while disengaging it. You guessed it. It was the only thing keeping me on and into the briar patch I went.

Broke my fall anyway.

Dave (aka Buckskins Rule) said...

Lou: You are so right. The pain got steadily worse over the next few days.

L&L: I'm feeling good enough to ride again, which means that I need to wait another week, just to be safe.

Kate: I do see a trip to the Chiro in my feature. Especially since my health coverage permits self referral.

Mark: I think I would take the brier patch over the logging road.

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Anonymous said...

While I'm reading your blog, I'll never say that you want to get out of the sadddle.