Saturday, August 4, 2007

Group ride at Bennington

Lara's little sister Olivia is in town so we thought it a good idea to take her riding at the lake. We invited several other people along as initially we thought this would also be the first ride out for Lara on her horse who has been in training. Well, since Imaginn has injured herself, Lara rode Rocker today. Since Sinwaan is the most trustworthy horse we have access to, we decided Olivia should ride him.

I rode Bob's Morgan, Vashon. Ruth came on her solid paint Topper, Heather rode her black BLM mustang Quincy, and Heather's sister Hope rode her bay Morgan Echo.

We had a great time trapsing all over the lake trails and when we were done we found someone in the parking lot to take our photo which luckily Olivia had brought along. Heather and Ruth called it a day, the rest of us decided to go out and do more riding since Olivia hadn't had quite enough.

I should say at this point we had tried to keep it to walk-trot only.

We started down the path and Vashon is a cart-horse type Morgan, he moves out at such a fancy trot, he can trot as fast as the horse next to him can canter or gallop. At least he is pretty smooth. Bob rides him in a sidepull so he had no bit. The horse loves to GO. I had a hard time keeping him slowed down, which is probably why my back hurts now.

We got to a smooth stretch and Vashon and Echo the two bay morgan geldings had a nice fast trot down the trail and then Vashon started cantering and I could not slow him down for anything. Lara was in the back on Rocker (who was having a fit because her stablemate was leaving her) so she was bucking a little and Sinwaan was there with her just plugging away, I guess Sinwaan cantered a little to catch up because Olivia said she just noticed his gait got real smooth and she noticed they were going faster. HA! I heard a little "weeee" of pleasure at that point. Must run in the family :) Lara whoops once in a while too.

So we had some more nice walking and calmed them down and we were going along on a single track trail and two horses came the other direction. They asked if there was room to pass and they seemed a little nervous about it, they said they had a young horse but decided to try and pass. We were all standing still, off the trail as much as we could be in the wooded area. Well everything is ok until the young mare gets next to Sinwaan then she starts spinning around like crazy, round and round and I noticed she was winking in the process, so she was in heat. The guy riding her is yelling and trying to get her to move on and Sinwaan was SO GOOD he just stood there and watched her, he did get bumped and that made him spin around in a circle once but otherwise he was fine and behaved himself so well. We are yelling at Olivia to move him up, get away from that horse and she says "I can't move, I lost a stirrup." ha ha ha Anyrate that ruckus finally ceased and we started talking to the guy once he moved up and got off the horse and she calmed down, they are out trying to train for endurance too.

So then we go along and Olivia is doing so well riding with the trotting and occasional light canter that Lara kind of quits worrying about her and decides we should have a canter up this slight hill. Well Rocker was in the lead and I was behind, or should I say off the trail as Vashon was walking along in the weeds...why? I don't know... I couldn't hardly control him with the darn sidepull bridle.

You see where this story is going...don't you...?


Well Vashon says "hey, we are headed home and now we have ourselves a race!" so he just takes off and passes Rocker and I can't slow him down, he is demented. I hear a shriek and notice Lara has pulled back but I can't look behind me because it is all I can do to pull the reins back into my body and the horse isn't stopping. So I had my own concerns. By the time I slow him to a mild trot and look back, Lara is yelling "Sinwaan is loose, go get him!" and there he is trotting down the hill into the weeds. I say "Sinwaan, come here!" and he trotted over and past me and on up the hill. I was able to get Vashon to walk, I didn't want to encourage Sinwaan to run off but I told him to WOAH! And Sinwaan stopped and stood and waited for me. WHAT A GOOD BOY! So I dismounted, although I didn't want to, I figured I'd have a heck of a time getting back on, this is a tall Morgan. I walked both geldings back down the hill and I couldn't see anything as the weeds are so high and there are two jeep trails there and I was on the higher one. I got back to where Hope was with her horse and asked where they were, what happened, etc. Lara was over in the weeds checking vitals and whatnot on her sister. Hope was holding Rocker.

The story goes that Sinwaan went into a hand gallop and Olivia wanted to try and hold him back a little so she had her hands on both reins and not one on the horn (she rode western) and we THINK Sinwaan got stung by a bee because in the midst of his gallop he swung his head around to bite at his butt and Olivia made the choice to bail as she didn't think she would be able to stay on. She didn't shreik until after she fell off, which I thought was kind of funny. She said she landed on her neck and right hip and had some pain, she got a bit of a road rash from the weeds she landed in, she had some nausea but otherwise nothing broken, thank heavens! We hung out there for awhile having her sit and rest and drink some water. When she would stand up though she would feel dizzy.

(We thought it might have been a bee because just two minutes prior Olivia had gotten stung in the ear.)

So Lara decided Hope and I should ride on home and get the truck and come back for them. Although they were out a ways and would have to get back to the parking lot somehow. There is no public vehicle access out there.

Lara kept Sinwaan with them in case she needed a horse for whatever reason. Later on she told me he behaved just fine with the other horses leaving him.

We figured I could pony Rocker on home since she and Vashon live together. Hope rode back with me. Well the horses knew they were going home so it was all I could do to hold Bob's fat round cotton reins on Vashon and try to keep him at a light trot (walking? What's that?) PLUS hold Rocker's flat large cotton reins, man I had my hands FULL. (I ride english so nothing to wrap the extra reins around for Rocker) Well we were riding along the top and I looked down and saw a Sheriff's car. So I started waving. PICTURE THIS! I am holding all kinds of reins and trying to hold back a homebound horse(s) and I am waving trying to get the cop's attention. LOL I start shouting at him because I can see he is leaving and has his window down. He picked up speed and so does Vashon. Pretty soon Vashon is flat out galloping as fast as he can possibly go and Rocker is doing a great job keeping up. I can't stop this horse!!!! He showed no sign of slowing down!! Up ahead I can see a double gate for park personel to get their cars through and I am wondering to myself, is this possessed horse going to stop in time? Does he think he can jump the gate? Is he going to slam on the brakes and send me flying over it?? HELP!!!!! I was yelling at him EASY! WOAH! WOOOOOAH DAMNIT!!!!! I have never run that fast on a horse at an actual obstacle. I was just a little scared. Rocker sees the gate and hears me yelling woah and I can see her thowing her head up, trying to stop, but is getting dragged along with us.

Wow what a rush.

Well he did finally slow down, about 10' from the gate (plenty of room, right!?) and we were able to WALK down around the gate in the little opening that they leave for horses. The cop was there by then and I talked to him and he actually had a key to the gate so we sent him on back out to look for Lara & Olivia. A guy on a bicycle said he had seen the whole thing and was a physician so should he go too? So I guess they both headed back and we left them, and headed on back to Bobs. Hope asked what she could do, I asked her to ride ahead of us and set the pace at a WALK please. She was glad to oblige. I am sure glad she was there. She led us safely home and pretty soon the horses got the hang of this ponying business and Rocker quit trying to crowd us off the single-track trail.

It was quite the experience. But it gets worse.

We get Vashon and Rocker untacked and brushed down quickly and put them away at Bobs and load up Echo, Hope's Morgan, and head back up the road in the truck/trailer to go pick up Sinwaan and Lara and Olivia. There are speed bumps on this road because it is incredibly curvy and otherwise there would be accidents. I was trying to drive carefully and slow way down for the speed bumps. Well after the first or second one we hear Echo banging around in the back. Hope said she wondered if he had fallen asleep and was scrambling around. So we continued on. When we got up to the main parking lot she went back to check on him and also to unload so we could put Sinwaan in first.

Sinwaan was mostly untacked with the girls holding him sitting on giant rocks. I was taking off his bridle and putting on his halter when I heard a gasp from Hope. Poor Echo had all kinds of hair missing off his back! Lara went on a mission to find out how he did it. The only thing we can figure is somehow he lost his footing and came up with his back under the divider!! There was nothing sharp there but there was a smooth lump that we saw he had gotten pinched up in. I felt sooo bad. Thankfully he didn't tear himself open, and was walking around and seemed ok, but I still feel horrible.

Trading stories with Lara in the car, apparently Olivia started feeling a little better and was able to get back on Sinwaan and ride (with Lara walking) down the trail and back to the main parking lot. The sheriff I sent in after them had a heck of a time careening down all sorts of dirt roads to try and catch up with them. I think he talked to them and saw she was ok. The physician never did make it to where they were.

Thankfully we made it safely back to the barn. I hosed Sinwaan down and turned him out and he had himself a nice roll.

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I hope Olivia will write a little story about her experience that I can post here later. From what I hear she was pretty excited to get to ride an Arabian. They are the best, after all :-)