Monday, 5 October 2009

How to Ride A Horse Upside Down

What a beautiful sunny day!! Perfect for a ride...Mark came with us on his birthday bike and we had an hour or so out an about on the Moss behind the stables - Merlin and I did some trot and we were even brave enough to canter a little, though the bravery did not last too long...I've been having trouble with my saddle slipping and sure enough, when I was coming down a bit of an incline my saddle went sideways and I went with it - I was lucky that Mark managed to grab my arm before I ended right under Merlin - and Merlin, bless him, did not turn a hair despite me hanging off his neck going down a hill with his saddle round his belly - most horses would probably have run for the hills. I think its to do with my left side being so weak because of my RA, but I have a tendency to run the saddle to one side despite it being girthed properly - its definitely not Merlin's fault and I have to occasionally shift it over a touch to stop it turning turtle; it has been properly fitted and all, I think its just rider discrepancy!!

Anyway, Mark grabbed me - he grabbed my bad arm by mutual bad luck and it went crack very hard because it was the only bit he could manage to get before I disappeared over the other side of the horse. He was also trying to get down the incline and hang onto his bike at the same time so I guess he did fairly well with me yelling 'can you grab hold of me?' (to be honest there may have been some bad language in there too) - I thought for sure my arm was broken when I got off but it seems fine. Weird. So we put the saddle back on properly and then I tried to get back on from the ground - in the end I had to stand the horse in a ditch and clamber on that way - ah, the days when I was a kid and could vault onto a horse are thirty years ago sadly!
Luckily I had the equine back chiropractor to look at Merlin last week because he has a gait anomaly on one of his back legs (I tell everyone we are a pair of demics together) but apart from a bit of stiffness which would naturally be caused by 12 years of walking 'over' with his foot, he's ok - I generally try not to get on from the ground because its bad for horses' backs and its impssible for riders with rheumatoid arthritis whilst we are about it....
So, I have more or less decided I have to take a bit of a different approach to this difficulty so I am researching taking Pilates classes to try and strengthen that left side - after all, I guess Mark won't always be there to stop me breaking my neck.
And then, as we were peacefully trotting back home I heard an 'eeek' from behind me and found Mark on all fours with his face in the grass. I wondered if he was hungry, but apparently he'd hit a rut in the track and had flown over the handlebars. Now, that trumps riding upside down any day.
He hasn't got purple ears....but his crocheted bonnet does....(it keeps the flies off....and generally makes other equestrians and their horses snigger....)

Merlin looking like he might have seen a scary kit-kat wrapper in the the matching ensemble, huh?? Give me a break...its the only time I ever get to dress up!

Mark's the one on the cheap horse in front. He makes a handy landing pad in case of emergency dismounts....

There's two trains of thought here. Mine is that he looks really cute. Other people think he looks like an equine pansy. Not that that's a bad thing, you understand. And see, all our gear matches. When he wears purple, so do I. Just in case we ever need to be in a police line up together...that way someone could say 'I'm not sure, but I think the horse was wearing a purple hoody...'