Monday, July 20, 2015

full contact sport

People who do not ride, or who have only casually done a vacation trail ride, will not quite understand. But this is not an easy sport, to be taken lightly. As I was reminded of on my last ride, when my lovely forest view between bay ears suddenly became a view from ground level underneath my horse!

The ride started out casually enough. I was headed maybe into the forest, maybe to the lake, maybe just around? It all depended on how fast it got hot. No set plans. So I headed on out on a nicely walking Major, across the newly-blacktopped (Major thought it a little suspicious) road, and into the forest.

The poison-oak is dull red or dried up already, the buckeye have shed all leaves, and it looks like the inside of an oven out there. But the drought-resistant oaks still shade the trails, though their branches hang lower every day. And I ducked to go under one…and then WHAM, was on the ground under my horse.

Best guess it that the branch grabbed my helmet vent and held me back while Major kept going. I, of course, landed in the tiny sticky burrs, reins still in my hand, and Major looking down at me "What the hell just happened!?"

I dusted myself off and walked a bit. I was mostly none the worse for wear except for the burrs embedded in my arm, and covering my tights. I praised Major for immediately stopping, not stepping on me as I lay underneath him, and mainly just acting like his rider is an idiot (this time, yes!). I'll take that any day, good boy!

view of Folsom lake pond

So I let Major choose what to do for the rest of the ride (within reason). I like to see what trails he picks, which way we come home, what obscure way he will go. We trotted and galloped all over, he took this turn and that, and we ended up down by the lake for a bit, and also on the upper trails. It was a fun fast ride, though I was feeling some stiffness by the time we turned around about six miles into the ride.

Avery Pond looks nice but low. A deer and egret are both in the shallows!

The mighty sad American river flowing into Folsom

It's hot, can we go home now?
shaded blackberry trail

But back home we went, in sync around curves and turns and over rocks. There were a few other decapitating trees I ducked WAY under and a few stabby branches I leaned to avoid. The last bit though the meadow we were doing a nice canter, when a deer jumped out from the right. Major took one step left (oh, what was that!) then one step back to the right (just a deer) all at full flight. I stayed on and did not end up in the star thistle plants, thank goodness!

slightly suspicious new stumps

down the rocks

It just takes a moment in time for this leisure activity to become a full contact sport. This is not your fairground pony ride…

I am so handsome, thanks for washing the trailer so I can see myself!


  1. we call that a "closehanger" .. I did that once but at the time I was not wearing a helmet,(young and dumb) and I got whiplash. Glad your not too injured and you didn't have a second incident with the deer!! Major was very proud of himself from the looks of it.. for being so cooperative for you.

    1. Yes, perfect name for it! Major needs a full-length pasture mirror to admire his awesomeness...

  2. It happens in the blink of an eye, and all of a sudden the beautifull world has changed. Same while running with horses, one wrong movement and misunderstanding and you are under the Pony. Even with the small one, accidents can be terrible. While reading I was afraid, that sometimes came after the fall. I like the last photo with your comment: Yes he is very handsome :-)

    1. Oh yes, it can certainly happen running too, I imagine little pony feet would not be good either!

  3. Oak trees are just amazing. Can't believe how much they can withstand. I can't remember that kind of fall happening to me for a while - if it did it happened on Minx, the 16 hand standardbred - probaby a danger of tall horses. Ugh MerryLegs......Those stickers are SUCH a pain, but I guess it could have been a pointy rock so much worse ;). I wince everytime I have to talk to someone like a doctor and they say what do you do for exercise....and I say running, riding. Because I don't think they get that when I ride it's just as much work as jogging. It's a lot of muscle control to stay balanced at speed on tecnhical trails and a lot of core to ride off your seat and doing dressage. No it won't keep you fit all by itself, but the days I got out for a long faster ride are similar to medium run days.

    BTW - thought you would appreciate this ;). I discovered aqua jogging! Better then swimming for me but way easier then regular jogging right now and I really like it. I finally found an excellent use for a pool :)

    1. You had better hope that ML does not get too tall, though the forest I ride in is really overgrown with just homemade trails, so lots of ducking and dodging. And yes, riding takes a lot of work to do it right!

      Glad you found some fun in the pool! Is it a class or do you just go in the pool and jog? Anything with water is somehow more fun, though at 5am I am usually not thinking that yet…

  4. My BO's pool is four feet deep in the middle and eight feet in the middle so perfect. I jog around the edge doing drills and then do some deep water intervals. No class just me. It's really quite lovely because I do it in the hottest part of the afternoon.

    1. awesome. I like to make "whirlpools" by running or swimming in my SO's pool, then try to go against the current. Stay cool!