You’re running late.
There are two sub-reasons why it isn’t wise to ride when running significantly behind schedule.
- Why are you late? Perhaps the universe is trying to tell you that today is not your day.
- Stress. When you rush, you’re prone to make mistakes. A horse can sense an anxious human from a mile away. Riding tense is never a good idea.
Tuesday, I got stuck on the metro for 30 minutes due to a “sick passenger.” When I finally got home, I sped off to the barn. There was significantly more traffic than usual. I soon knew the reason: 3 ambulances came flying by. Another 30 minute delay and I pulled into the neighborhood surrounding the barn. I see a little old dachshund on the side of the road looking lost and spent 30 minutes getting him back home. Needless to say, by the time I got to my mare, I was in a rush.
Your gut tells you not to.
We all have this little voice that tells us when things aren’t quite right. While tacking up I sensed it a few times and quickly pushed it out of my mind.
The generally bustling boarding barn was quiet except for the staff. There was an eerie light between the recent storm and the coming sunset. One of the staff asked if I would be riding indoors or out. My gut said “in,” but my mouth said “out.” Rookie move.
When you ignore “The Signs”…
Even as I led her to the mounting block, the nagging worry crept in. But it was too late.
My “stubborn switch” had flipped. I was determined to ride.
I made it halfway around the arena, and my mare reared straight into the air, front legs flailing like a freestyle swimmer. Down she came, and up once more.
This time, it was different. I just felt like we might flip. I wondered if I should bail, but decided to ride it out. (Stubborn switch, remember?)
And then she sank in the sand of the arena to her hocks, and righted herself. Did I dismount? Nope. A few circles and then we went to the indoor to finish the ride.
Mind you, this mare has been injured since August 27, 2012. She has been on stall rest with limited exercise since October. A funny landing transports my worries to more vet bills, less exercise, and a depressed horse.
So I did what any rational horse-owner would do: I cold-hosed and poulticed all four legs. (For pictures and tips for poulticing, check out this post.)
It turns out my mare was beautifully sound when jogging for the Vet yesterday. She even threw in some bad behavior for good measure.
Lessons learned: know when NOT to ride, keep your stubborn switch ‘OFF,’ and when in doubt, poultice it out.