Anyone who knows the Horsey Me knows that that’s actually A Very Big Deal! I decided some time ago that, as a Fiftyish-year old, I am entitled to stay within my comfort zone i.e. I.Don’t.Do.Jumping, but this was one of those situations where I knew it would be less hassle to go over the jump than around it.
Let me explain.
I’ll start at the beginning. There’s a new girl at the Horse Farm (I’m not the Newbie anymore – WooHoo!) She does endurance riding on a gorgeous grey Arabian horse called Kamsin. Kamsin has been on holiday since he got here two weeks ago but M, his owner, asked me if I’d be free to ride out today as she was starting him back in work. Sure, I said. The LSH and our visiting daughter were due to leave around midday, leaving me footloose and fancy-free for the rest of the day. I had arranged to ride later on with my trekking (and boating) buddy MC, but hey, I’ve got two horses, I could ride one with M and one with MC. Then Alexandrine said she’d ride with M & me. Then M couldn’t ride until later in the afternoon. But that was ok, that suited Alexandrine and MC, too. So a little before four, all four of us set off from the Horse Farm – a veritable troop, with M and Kamsin in front, Alexandrine and Max second, MC and Quieto next and me and Flurry bringing up the rear.
We were riding down to Reillanne the complicated way and coming back up the easy way. Everything was fine. Really. I mean it. Sure, Flurry spooked every time the dog came galumphing past us, and yeah he was pretty strong any time we got a bit left behind, but it was fine.
Oh dear, methinks I doth protest too much… Ok it was a little less than fine. Flurry was so strong most of the time, there was no way I could even contemplate taking photos. Any time we had a steep climb, he got a weeny bit hysterical as his buddy Quieto pulled away from him and then tanked after him and all the others. I was thanking my lucky stars that I hadn’t decided to go bitless today! But still, he was just being a horse – a slightly-more-excited-than-usual horse, but just a horse, doing what horses do.
Being at the back of the ride, I didn’t see what was ahead at any stage, so when there was a stop and a small bit of discussion amongst the others, I paid no attention. After all, I’d ridden this route twice before and knew there was nothing scary on it. Then M and Kamsin detoured off the trail and Alexandrine held Max back to allow MC to pass her, whereupon she and Quieto also detoured off the trail. And then I realised where we were – at the fallen log. There’s a nice chunky log lying across the trail, and we all usually do a little sidestep through the bushes to avoid it.
I could tell from Alexandrine’s body language that avoiding the log was not what she had in mind.
“Tu va sauter?” I asked, are you going to jump?
“Oui!,” she said with a cheery grin, as she pointed Max at the log.
At that stage, I realised that letting my excited little Flurry follow Max was a much simpler option than hauling him around the side of the log. Praying that he wouldn’t let fly with a buck on the landing side, I nudged him on and he followed enthusiastically as Max cantered to the log and popped it. I actually saw a stride! GASP! and we popped it neatly enough too, Flurry DIDN’T buck and everyone was smiling at me…
“Ç’est quelques ans depuis que j’ai sauté,” I said, it’s a few years since I jumped or my best attempt at saying that anyway.
I could feel Flurry was well-pleased with himself. He tanked after the other horses even more aggressively from then on and I ended up fighting with him the whole way home. When we came out onto a road for a brief stretch, he switched back into “Normal Flurry” mode, but the minute we went back into the woods, he was excited again, with a lot of head-shaking and a couple of mini-plunges any time we started trotting.
When Alexandrine suggested a canter through the lavender field, I’m afraid I said “No!”
We trotted instead. Mostly. Except for a few strides of canter here and there as he struggled to keep up with the others. Actually, he was grand and we would have been ok cantering, but I didn’t want to risk it.
Hey, I jumped. That’s enough drama for one day.
To be fair to Flurry, he hardly ever goes out in a group, and he’s full of nice Spring grass. That’s enough to make even the most sensible cob a bit excited.
After the two hour ride with “The Gang,” I took Aero out for a short ride with Alexandrine and her other horse, Valentine. He was better behaved than Flurry, although he got a bit wound up as we approached home – but Valentine kept jogging which was upsetting him.
Anyway, Aero was my star horse today. And the weird saddle still feels good.
I’m planning on arena work with Mr. Flurry tomorrow seeing as he has so much energy… who knows, I might even jump him again! (Just kidding. That’s seriously unlikely.)
Here’s the one and only photo I took while I was out on Flurry. Look how green it all is!