Sunday, February 22, 2015

FMNM Blog Hop: The Fear

Alyssa over at Four Mares No Money is hosting a blog hop!
She wins at art!
She wants to know: What is the most fearful moment you have ever had with a horse?
Oh Lordy, as someone who struggles with fear this really may be an insurmountable challenge choosing one moment.  I've actually talked about my struggles with fear several times here on the blog.
Tooth and Nail
PSA: Trail Riding

If you have read those you know that I get scared at wacky nonsensical times.  I'm going to talk here about two actually very dangerous and scary times.  The first one actually took a very special horse (read Tooth and Nail) to help me recover from and the second I wasn't panicy, just very mindful of how bad it could have been.

I was riding this really rank paint mare for a while.  She could buck like none other, we could trot into a fence 3.5' tall and clear it with ease only to land in full on bronco style bucking.  Yes, she had been checked out by vets and such, she was so scopey that it seemed worth the effort to attempt to tame her.  One day we were doing a grid.  Did I mention that this mare had no withers?  Well we jumped the first element and then she stopped, I sat up to pull her to the side and try again when she suddenly leapt over the second element and then bolted towards the top of the arena.  The lack of withers and breastplate meant that the saddle had slid fully to her side and strange thing was I was still on.  Here we were full tilt up the arena and I'm hanging on her side staring at her churning feet unable to make myself let go.  I can hear my trainer yelling to let go let go and still I'm just clinging to her side.  Finally I look forward and realize she is either going to jump the arena fence or turn and bang my head off fence posts as she gallops.  At this point I finally get up the gumption to let go and manage to time it so that I fly between the rails of the fence and land in the paddock on the other side.  Don't even ask me how I didn't wrap myself around a rail, guardian angels doing overtime.  Funny conclusion, I'd landed in the paddock with a very aggressive horse so I quickly scrambled out, and then realized the air had been knocked out of me.  Yep that's it, I wasn't physically hurt, but mentally I was shattered for a long time to come.
Not scared of that rail
It was quite a while before I jumped again, though I did still get on one or more horses every day.  I actually ended up doing a lot of dressage work with that mare and eventually schooling her cross country, it was a good way to find closure and take back control of my life.
Favorite verse
This next story had no long term mental effects, but it was certainly nerve wracking when it happened.  Often in the early spring we train the racehorses at the .5 mile training track in the next town over.  I had been riding a two year old for a friend and she was one stubborn filly.  Seriously, if you could actually get her into the trot or canter you were fine, but most of the ride would end up just being fighting in the walk, and if you kicked too hard or smacked her with a whip she would just sull up more, she also hated other horses so following one didn't help either.  In fact one day someone jogged half way around the track (on their own two feet) with me just so she might get the idea that that was what we wanted.  Well we had some heavy snow fall and then some thaw freeze cycles and the stretch of the track in front of the grandstand that never saw the light of day turned into an ice rink.  The rest of the track was salted and fine, but this part was 4" thick ice.  We all trudged out there with shovels and chipped out a path about one horse width wide and then got to training.  Well here I am on this stubborn filly with her owner on his pony horse out in front and another friend on another young one behind me.  We are walking on our path through the ice rink when suddenly the stubborn filly spooks sideways onto the ice and stops.  It actually felt like the whole world stopped, we were all holding our breath.  It was so cold she didn't even crunch the ice, if she had pulled any of her normal moves we would certainly have fallen down.  The seconds ticked by as we waited for her to do something, I couldn't ask her to step back to the path because as a rule she would just do the opposite.  Well finally she has possibly the first moment of common sense in her life and she calmly stepped back onto the path and all was well.  It was like the colors came back into focus, breathing commenced and the sounds of the world returned to my ears.
There you have it, my two most fearful moments.


  1. Yikes, both those stories make me shiver.
    I too fell from a horse (well pony) once, tumbled out under the arena railing and came to rest sitting on a rock hanging onto electric fence. Oddly i was not electrocuted despite the current being on!
    Body self preservation perhaps? I do think the mind is much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. As it controls our senses and nervous system, I think it can shut down things we should be feeling to mind itself...but maybe I am talking nonsense here

  2. Whoa. That ice moment. Kudos to you for sitting there and letting her figure it out, and a smart cookie for using her brains! That could have been so bad! Ice is one of my worst fears, and I end up riding on it all the time. It takes a special horse put his footing and balance before everything else!

  3. Wow, two very very scary moments! I would never guess from reading your blog now that you have had to overcome the fear that sticks with you after experiences like that. Glad you came away unscathed in both situations!

  4. Because galloping racehorses through ice... lol. Definitely braver than me.

  5. See friend, you are certainly brave. Those are both pretty terrifying moments. I am picturing Sadie out on the track, but I am guessing I am wrong...but she herself, was quite the challenge!

  6. Yeah, that ice moment would have scarred me for life!

  7. that ice moment gives new meaning to the term 'sitting chilly' - nice job being patient! also, re: that first one, it's kind of amazing how mentally upsetting something can be even when there's no outward injury. glad you made it out ok!

  8. That ice moment--yikes. All I can think is I would have bailed immediately, but that could have been just as dangerous.

  9. I am baffled as to how I've just ONLY now found your blog. Crazy. Anyways, can totally relate to that fear. Runaway/jerk horses are no joke