Pictures to come... I'll be sure to have them up ASAP
Guilt is an amazing thing. It does crazy things to your mind, and impairs your decision making skills in (upon occasion) disaster-inducing ways. At least that's what happens with me. Guilt is really the only reason I can find to explain why I decided to take my high strung, hot headed, 6 y/o mare out on a hack... on her 3rd ride back after a month of stall rest. Yes, not my brightest idea. It wasn't until I'd hopped off her after having just sat one of the most terrifying bronc rides of my life (something touched her while we were walking through the forest, and she... exploded) that the fact I could have just hand walked her occurred to me.
I should have known that, no matter how amazing my girl is, that her pre-ride piaffing was not a good sign. Nor was her attempt to hide behind me at the sight of... a truck that is not normally parked in the parking lot. Yep, both of those should have set the warning light a flashing, but I soldiered on. For the first part of the ride, things went quite well. It was frosty, and in spite of the blue cloudless sky that had dominated the horizon for the majority of the day, dusk brought with it grey clouds that hung low in the sky. Though only 4:30, the sun had already sunk behind the horizon when we started our hack, & pinkish-orange light cast long shadows over the slowly dimming land.
Though tense, the mare was pretty good. Her brief bit of trot that she snuck in as I hopped on sent me into a panic; she had only 1 day left to survive her stitches! If she did something now... but (not without considerable effort on my part) I slowed her back to a walk, and we headed toward the entrance to the forest. She seemed to relax a bit as we walked into the forest. Cadence power-walked on, and all seemed to go pretty well, until... she stepped on a stick. This led her to brush into a tree branch, and set her into a full on bronc spree. She spun around to face the way we came, and leaped forward before launching herself straight up in the air, rearing, and then bucking. I landed on her neck, managing to almost stay in the saddle, and grabbed a hold of her neck thinking 'I must not fall off!' Fearing that if I fall, she would continue on with her antics and mess up something on her leg. She was still spinning around and hopping up and down at this point in time, and I knew we were seconds away from taking off again. No can do, Mare. As carefully as I could, I hopped off/emergency dismounted, while taking care to maintain a grip on my reins without catching her in the mouth. Once off, she trotted around a tree a few times (???) before I finally got her to settle.
Generally, I would have hopped back on at this point in time. However, my paranoia of her being injured was strong enough that I hand walked her for the rest of our hack. Aside from a minor incident that involved her kicking out & bucking as we walked down the barn's drive (I have absolutely no clue what prompted this...) everything went pretty well.
Do I regret our little 'walk'? Yes. I REALLY REALLY want this whole episode to be over, and if she's somehow hurt herself with her little 'episodes' then I don't think I'll be able to forgive myself. Howeve, I'm just trying to think positive; she'll be fine. Stitches are coming out today. It'll all be fine... it has to be.
What I must have looked like trying to stay on Cadence: (Just not NEARLY as pro...)