BRONWEN HEALY PHOTOGRAPHY

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20 March 2014

Falling Off....

I came home from my ride on Arche feeling slightly despondent.  I came off The Big Horse today.  Call me a great big pansy but I don't actually like falling off.  As far as falls go it wasn't so bad and I truly truly did very very nearly stay on.  The upside is that Arche isn't Freelance and when he unseated me he didn't also gleefully send me flying up into the air with a wicked buck.  I hated it when the mare did that.  It made me land harder.  I don't enjoy hard painful landings.  They are v. bad...

Being back in the saddle is a great thing for me.  But it comes with it's own headaches, and my head is one of my biggest.  It's easy to overthink things and goodness knows I have a tendency to do this already.  I know that it's one of my faults and it is something I am working hard at trying to reduce this tendency.   But I still do it, damn it all.  I suppose fear of falling off is a little bit like trying to face the fear of having your heart broken again, or being put back in a bad situation.  It's pretty hard at times.  

I have been able to sit to the things The Big Horse has thrown at me so far.   Except today.  Damn....  To be honest I found him a real handful on a number of occasions.  I'm still learning about the horse and still discovering what 'dirt', if any, he has in him.  I think there's a little bit of dirt there but it doesn't seem to be terribly nasty and evil dirt.  Having said that I thought I ended up having to put him under a lot of pressure and I thought asked a lot of him today.  Am I making excuses for the horse, like I can do for people?  I probably am.  Toughen up and harden up...  Right???   

It was a large group of us today:  6 horses.  At least 3 of the horses (my lovely Arche included) have the capacity to bound sideways a good 3-4 metres in a millisecond.  And they exercised that right over and over again today!  Alas the shying horse also tends to tuck their body up, making sitting such a huge leap sideways more problematic.  It's all designed to throw a predator off their body.  It's little wonder they can dislodge a rider pretty effectively.  It's marginally better when they startle forward, although the feeling of the horse trying to turn itself inside out and taking it's backside out from underneath it's rider isn't great either.  I want to shout impatiently and indignantly to Arche "bring that back, I need to sit on your back!!!!" when he does it.  As my seat regains its strength and I move instinctively, following the movement of the horse, like I was always able to do I'll probably feel better on these rides out.  But my mind plays games on me.  A lot of people say motherhood does this to you.  Not to mention being on my own and self employed.  If I go down and can't pick up a camera I've got a real problem, right???

We were dealing with large trucks and cars hurtling along beside the road at 100kms for some parts of our ride.  Not to mention very-scary-logs....  Lots of them.  And kangaroos.  What's that saying?  Horses are afraid of 2 things...  Things that move.  And things that don't...  In addition to his shying Arche wants to hump his back and pigroot when he gets into a canter and that makes me cross.  I'm still getting a handle on his canter and I suspect there are more miles to go before we have it sorted.  I have to be able to get him to go forward to my leg in the canter and keep my backside in the saddle when he gets cross at me.  He also exhibited some excellent spinning and ducking and dancing up and down on the spot.  My friend Tash and I used to say we don't need to be heroes, we just fall off..  On a couple of occasions when I actually got off The Big Horse and led him past the offending monster.  And for one of those times (past the large machine cutting the branches) I said to myself 'no chance, I'm not even trying' and I was made to feel less of a chicken by the others mostly getting off and leading too.  The workman were nice and turned the machine off.

Arche was so tired but he got naughtier as we got closer to home and being tired didn't stop him shying and carrying on like a pork chop.  I often say children are like horses.  And my children turn into fractious and warty toads when they are tired.  My dad used to say I was impossible when I was tired.  Actually he still says that.  So have others.  So I disagree with the logic people use when they say that a tired horse won't play up.  I think they end up running on nervous energy and that their fatigue adds to their general state of discomfort.  Like I said, I asked a lot of him (and me!) both physically and mentally.

I have my dressage lesson with Di tomorrow.  That's great because I feel I'll appreciate that after losing a little bit of confidence today.  As always I try to take a deep breath and calm myself down by telling myself it's not as bad as I think and that tomorrow it will feel better. My neck is sore and twingy but then it was sore before I fell off.  It is worse than it was before I got on though and so I've been to the chemist and have something to help it settle down.

On a happy note this morning I checked my email and discovered a one word email from my friend Rick.  Last night I emailed him 3 images of Helsinge.  He doesn't allow many people to visit his farm but he trusts me with his horses.  Rick can be a tough marker and can also be a little disparaging of photographers.  When he does this I crossly tell him off and tell him he's also been using crap photographers.  What did he say about Helsinge's photographs????  "Stunning!"..  I was v pleased...

The Big Horse Arche...  We blotted our copy book a little bit today.  Back to basics tomorrow with a lesson with Di Barnes.

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