Sunday very spontaneously I decided to go on a trail ride with my sister and her boyfriend. Ben was pretty high when we were tacking up which is to be expected since I haven’t ridden him in two weeks. He started the first 30 seconds of the trail off in his normal fashion. Head in the air, looking at everything, going mach 10. I asked him to frame up after he almost ran over my sister’s horse (seriously, he’s so crazy sometimes) and he chilled out. I was able to ride him on the buckle the whole ride and he didn’t bother looking for monsters the whole time. Any time he got a little looky loo I just kept him moving forward.At first I thought he might not be feeling right but he was alert and in good spirit so then I started joking that it would probably be our last ride together since one of us would probably die during the ride so we were both trying to enjoy it. A bit morbid, I know, but to have Ben be the calm horse on trail is beyond bizarre.
At one point in the ride there’s a long, steep climb. I always let Ben run up it because it’s easier on both of us. He really lunged up it this time and at one point his big quarter horse butt popped me out of my seat and I lost my stirrups. I thought for sure I was going to take a header off him but I had this small moment of clarity where my body just reacted. My legs relaxed and got long. I gripped with my knees to tell him to slow down. I found my center and sat back in the saddle. We finished the rest of the hill sans stirrups but at that point it didn’t matter because I was solid.I probably would have cried (because that’s how I roll) if I wasn’t so damn surprised at myself. I haven’t caught myself from falling in years. Certainly not off a horse that is leaping up a hill. Normally my legs would come up and I’d grip them around Ben’s barrel in terror (which always causes him to buck like crazy). The rest of the ride was mostly uneventful. My sister’s horse decided to treat stepping off a curb like a 3 foot bank and launched herself into the road. Curbs are not new to this horse so we weren’t expecting such a spectacle from her and got a good laugh.
I didn’t realize how much effort catching myself took until I got off Ben at the end of the ride and couldn’t walk. I was sore the rest of the day and had to break down and rub some IcyHot on my body and take some pain killers.
That whole ride was nothing short of confidence building perfection though!