The journey truly began with a failure. Aside from hopping on Tango bareback when we were rehabbing her, the first lessons I had with her were rough, to say the least.
She was really excited to be back to jumping. I was attempting to lasso this energy for good in some way. For a while it worked. That is, until this energy stopped suddenly.
And that is how I fell off Tango twice within the first couple weeks of riding her. Aside from the occasional fall, I really do not come off that much, which is a credit to my spindly spider legs and a true hate for getting sand in all the crevasses.
The first time Tango hit the ejector seat was arguably the second-most pitiful of my life (the most pitiful fall happened about a year ago when a stubborn lesson pony that I was WARM UP RIDING for a collegiate catch-riding refused an 10″ crossrail. Hur, dur, dur – be like me and you too can embarrass yourself when in front of large and attentive crowds).
We were jumping an end jump on a circle, maybe 2 feet tall. At that time, we were not the most balanced, which was partially due to her unfitness and mostly due to me trying to do 1,000 things at once (straightness, pace, oh, hey look, there’s a cat over there, maybe I should look at that instead of the jump). The brakes on her were working that day, and I crashed and burned.
The second fall I was suspicious of her reindeer games, but she had urgency that day greater than the Tom Hanks in the Polar Express. We had a long approach to a 2’9″ vertical and from 6 strides out, Tango was locked and loaded. Noticing our stride was getting longer and downhill, our nice spot that I saw was disappearing fast. I asked to slow it down and rock back into more of an uphill canter in the most polite and ineffective way possible. I saw the stop coming but we were Titanic headed for the iceberg– the ship was sinking and there was nothing I could do about it. In my defense, I put up a better fight to stay on, but ended up landing on my butt.
Insert laugh track.
Luckily we have come very far from those first couple of rides over fences, and now I can say we are a burgeoning pair. She puts up with me riding entirely off my inside rein and I put up with her dislike of the pigs. The mare is one of the most patient horses I have met, and I am lucky to have found her and her truly wonderful owner.
So it may have started with a bomb, but hopefully it will end in a bang? Or perhaps we should be going for something less destructive entirely.