ICB Christmas Event Recap: The Course Walk

Our last event of the year was also our first time at a gorgeous old venue right in the deep horse country of Kyalami. It was too beautiful not to photograph, and Amanda from the $900 Facebook Pony and her epic course walks inspired us to try something more imaginative than just taking pictures of jumps.  Hence: the Epic Puppy Course Walk, courtesy of my sister Rain, Ice the puppy, and some mild delirium due to sleep deprivation.

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Coming out of the startbox, the track went straight towards number one. The top pole was taken off for my class, so it was a very simple little log, but it was a steeply uphill approach. It was a fair preparation for the relatively challenging course, but it rode well for all but one rider, who had 60 penalties here.

ICB2

This was a max height A-frame and looked rather imposing, but as A-frames seem to do, it rode beautifully.

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Number three rode as nicely as Ice is cute, although it was a fairly wide oxer.

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Number four was terrifying. After number three the stretch was just long enough for one’s mind to wander, followed by a 90 degree turn and only four or five strides into the shade and to this narrow fence with bales all over it. Unsurprisingly, three riders had stops here.

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Number five was slightly complicated by a branch that hung in the approach, forcing one to jump at a slight angle. Except if you ride a 14.3hh pony. Then you just go under the branch. (Epic win). All the horses navigated this one just fine.

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Number six was beautiful – a straightforward log at the end of a long straight gallop, just asking to be jumped straight out of a big stride. It rode like a dream.

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Number seven proved to be the most problematic fence on the course, with three eliminations. In itself it was quite low and not the widest fence, but the horses could just catch a glimpse of the water as they jumped, so a lot of riders came to grief here.

ICB8

The water was rather a pain. It wasn’t flagged, but approaching number 8 was almost impossible without going through it. Circling would set one up for a perfect approach, but it did mean entering the water twice. Arwen was hesitant to go in the first time, so I made a very tight 90 degree turn to number 8 and made it out that way. If she would trot into water I would undoubtedly have circled.

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8 was a little step, with a higher section (pictured) and a very low one. The higher section was easier to approach, but because Arwen was basically jogging once we reached it, we took the lower one and the line from 8 to 9 rode just fine. 9 is the double log in the background.

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Number 9 was unassuming, but it was a short, steep uphill approach from 8. If one lost impulsion through the water and wasn’t quick to get it back, it was very easy to get a silly stop here. Everyone managed it fine, though.

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10a and b were a fairly terrifying combination for the level. This max height vertical was 10a, with just two strides to…

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… our first open ditch ever. It wasn’t very wide, but it was pretty deep and I was scared out of my socks. This combination rode well for everyone.

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Number 11 was set underneath a shed, which was a little intimidating. The log itself was very low, though, so it didn’t cause any issues. It was a very fair question.

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This skinny was set in the middle of a massive field all alone, asking for a run-out. Luckily for me, Arwen locked onto it as she jumped number 11, so she jumped it almost as well as Ice. It did cause a stop, though.

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Spooky number 13 (less spooky without a balletic teenager on it) was the culprit of the only rider fall on cross-country, but it was actually pretty low in the middle and the approach was easy enough.

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There was a long gallop to number 14, the second open ditch on course. This ditch was really very shallow and caused no issues.

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Number 15 had a fairly difficult approach – a quite sharp turn up a hill. Arwen and I slowed down, angled it and jumped fine, but it was quite big and spooky.

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16 was an extremely inviting little slanted ladder and rode well for everyone except the resident idiot (viz., me). Its landing was slightly downhill, nicely preparing us for

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a drop that looked about the size of Pride Rock on the morning of the competition. It rode beautifully for me, though, and all the horses jumped it on the first shot.

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This branch was another epic win for Arwen and me. We just ran under it like bosses.

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18 was a last challenge – a max height oxer set on an uphill as the already tired horses headed for home. This caused no issues, though, and rounded off a beautiful and well-built course nicely.

Needless to say, the ditches had me trying to digest some butterflies, but it turned out to be the showjumping I should have worried about…

 

 

 

PBH: Just Keep Swimming

Alli over at Pony’tude made my day when she opened up her Equitation Evolution blog hop. I am kind of a sucker for progression posts. Ever look at pictures of you riding and thought you may as well withdraw from the next show and spend the rest of your life herding cows bareback where nobody can see? Well, it helps to look back and realise that as badly as you suck now, there was just so much more that sucked then. (Hopefully).

Unfortunately right now I only have photos from 2012 onwards (you should see the 2010 ones. gosh.) but there’s still a difference…

Jumping

Probably the second time Magic ever saw a jump, before I even started leasing him. This must have been early 2012.
Probably the second time Magic ever saw a jump, before I even started leasing him. This must have been early 2012.
August 2013. Poor old Magic. Look how grumpy his little face is. Who can blame him? At least I’m still on top.
Magic1
August 2015. For me the most remarkable difference is just in the way Magic is jumping. His knees, always good, are now at an unnecessary level of awesome. He’s also able to actually use his back, instead of just leaping awkwardly. And he looks happy and secure. 90% of this is simply because I’m releasing, not as much as I want to, and not quite as much as Magic needs, but already vastly better. Most interesting is that he looks more relaxed here than in the other pictures, but this is at a show and the others were taken in his home arena.
Hands fail
August 2013. Even stoic little Arwen looks pretty annoyed with my hanging onto her mouth. She’s also jumping with a flat back, but gamely tucking her knees up to make up for it.
August 2014. My first time jumping anything bigger than 50cm in the K&M and it's showing. Already I'm giving her some more space with my hands, but my lower leg is on a mission of its own.
August 2014. My first time jumping anything bigger than 50cm in the K&M and it’s showing. Already I’m giving her some more space with my hands, but my lower leg is on a mission of its own; as a result I’m balancing on my hands.
My favourite photo yet when it comes my jumping position. Arwen's getting plenty of room from my hands, but I'm not all the way up her neck. While I am a bit too far forward, I'm also balanced; my weight is in my lower leg (which is behaving itself for a change) and not on my hands. As a result Arwen is pretending to be a little warmblood and making a bascule.
My favourite photo yet when it comes my jumping position. Arwen’s getting plenty of room from my hands, but I’m not all the way up her neck. While I am a bit too far forward, I’m also balanced; my weight is in my lower leg (which is behaving itself for a change) and not on my hands. As a result Arwen is pretending to be a little warmblood and making a bascule.

Flatwork

May 2013. Yeah... moving on...
May 2013. Yeah… moving on…
May 2014, winning our first dressage show. We look better, but my toe and my eyes and my hands and my shoulders... And Arwen is quite far on her front end and quite heavy in the contact.
May 2014, winning our first dressage show. We look better, but my toe and my eyes and my hands and my shoulders… And Arwen is quite far on her front end and quite heavy in the contact.
June 2015. Not Arwen, but a far younger and less experienced horse also doing her first Prelim test. Much of the niceness here can be attributed to Nell simply being fairly amazing, but I'm at least looking up, my legs are kind of behaving and, while my arms look awkward here, it's actually a good thing; it's just the moment of the rise that makes them look stiff, because they're really being supple and keeping my hands as still as possible.
June 2015. Not Arwen, but a far younger and less experienced horse also doing her first Prelim test. Much of the niceness here can be attributed to Nell simply being fairly amazing, but I’m at least looking up, my legs are kind of behaving and, while my arms look awkward here, it’s actually a good thing; I’m at the top of my rise and my arms are straight, keeping my hands low and still.

Ultimately it goes to show that we should all just keep on swimming and take the little steps forward, because they do add up. Nobody is going to wake up one day and be able to ride. If I can improve my release by half an inch once a week, then in a year I can go from having no release at all to having a good one.

And we are all still learning, and will keep on learning for as long as we can find someone to heave our ageing bones into the saddle. Glory to the King.

ZBHBH: Everyday Fail

For me, this title can probably be changed to “Fail Every Day”, but I digress…

I failed to see a distance. Magic failed to see a height.
I failed to see a distance. Magic failed to see a height.
Never mind the solid oxer! Photographers are TERRIFYING
Never mind the solid oxer! Photographers are TERRIFYING
How not to dressage. (Proof that Arwen is a saint. Don't worry, we don't do this thing anymore).
How not to dressage. (Proof that Arwen is a saint. Don’t worry, we don’t do this thing anymore).
Mane eating. Third photo from this show that demonstrates epic failure, but really, this was the awesomest show ever.
Mane eating. Third photo from this show that demonstrates epic failure, but really, this was the awesomest show ever.
Down banks: Where horses go horizontally forwards and riders go horizontally backwards.
Down banks: Where horses go horizontally forwards and riders go horizontally backwards.
How not to calm down a panicking baby horse
How not to calm down a panicking baby horse
Poor Magic
Poor Magic
I realise I failed at remembering the halt at the start of Prelim 3. Reed fails to stretch in his stretchy trot.
I realise I failed at remembering the halt at the start of Prelim 3. Reed fails to stretch in his stretchy trot.
That time I paid lots of money and called in lots of favours for a lesson with an international dressage instructor and then we shied at baboons for an hour.
That time I paid lots of money and called in lots of favours for a lesson with an international dressage instructor and then we shied at baboons for an hour.
I don't even know
I don’t even know
Staying in the warmup arena: FAIL.
Staying in the warmup arena: FAIL.
HATE SNAFFLE. SNAFFLE EVIL.
HATE SNAFFLE. SNAFFLE EVIL.
Um...
Um…

I love this blog hop! This must be hands down the funniest one hosted… and it’s given me an idea that may just have to become Riding on Water’s first blog hop.

Praise God for the horses that keep the best of us humble.

SFTSBH: Heart Horse

Jen from Stories From The Saddle asks:

Do you currently have your “heart horse”? What makes a “heart horse” to you? If you don’t own a horse, have you ever leased a “heart horse”? 

I encounter so many horses, with up to 20-25 different ones to ride in a week, that I’ve learned two things: 1) All horses are amazing, 2) regardless, certain horses just click with certain people, irrespective of whether they are actually that person’s favourite colour/breed/age/level of training.

So for me a heart horse is literally that horse that makes your heart turn a cartwheel and stop in its tracks, that makes it beat slower and faster at the same time. For those of us who are a little besotted (i. e. me), a heart horse makes you hot and cold all over and yet when you’re in the saddle you feel like nothing is too hard for God and you and that horse. It’s a lot like falling in love with exactly the right person (I imagine, anyway), only without having to make coffee and remember birthdays and run the risk of them suddenly not being who you thought they were. Horses don’t lie.

To me a heart horse is simply, at its core, utterly compatible with me, no matter how wrong the size or level of training. For me obviously they’ll all share similar characteristics because I like certain things in a horse. They’ll all be generous, with a good eye, a good walk, tremendous loyalty, and a big heart.All of my own horses are heart horses for me, and I was just ridiculously blessed because I only ever picked out one of them. The rest just sort of fell in my lap, as perfect as they are. But you’ve all heard so much about them that today I’m going to describe three horses that are absolutely heart horses, which I don’t own and never will, but I’m quite happy to run the risk of heartbreak rather than keep these bright spirits at arm’s length.Double Reef was probably the first OTTB I ever rode and, unlikely as it seemed at the time, I loved him. He was 16.3 hands of dark bay moodiness who didn’t think twice about aiming me a kick or a bite, but once I was on him he carried me as proudly and as carefully as if I was made of fine china. Once a top racehorse, Reef was sold on after racing to an owner that severely neglected him. When I met him he was the most pathetic, skeletal sight I’d ever seen, and his perfect legs, enormous eye, and chiselled features only made it worse; he was the stern sad ruins of a castle, not a tumbledown shack. With care, the Mutterer nursed him back to his fiery dark finery and he went on to teach countless kids how to ride. He taught me leg-yields and everything I needed to know about thoroughbreds and ridiculously long takeoff distances. He never shed his characteristic grumpiness, but we used to trust him with our four-year-old Down’s syndrome student because Reefer would have broken his own legs rather than allow any harm to come to that little boy.Double Reef was grumpy enough but in his heart he loved his job and, above all, he loved to run. It was easy to see why he campaigned successfully until the age of seven. There was nothing he relished more than snapping out his endless legs to their full length and eating up the ground in gigantic strides that left me breathless and clinging to his torrent of dark mane. He had an enormous heart.Reef is now semi-retired and I haven’t ridden or even laid a hand on him for years, but he’s one of those horses I’ll never forget.Not long after Reef left my life, I met Reed, who was his carbon opposite on the outside but within he was very similar. Reed was a 14.1 pony stallion and may have been nothing to write home about if it wasn’t for his amazing temperament and his dazzling colour. He was the most golden palomino I’ve ever seen, dappling gloriously in summer, with an attractive little head. And I’m not a pinto fan, but his white patches just made him prettier. He was almost excessively polite and friendly and didn’t have a grumpy hair on his head. But he too was gentle, willing, and loved his work. He had a surprisingly long stride and stylish bascule for his size and conformation, and I trusted him with everything in me. Beginners could ride him, and frequently did. In the time when he was in regular training, he would have done anything for me. He even cleared 1.20m with me once, which he really shouldn’t have been capable of. If I’d had more time I could have helped him become an awesome child’s event pony.Reed was the first client horse to break my heart and I don’t think he’ll ever be the last. After a super summer of steady training, the influx of young horses his owner needed backing pushed him off my schedule a little and a few months ago he was eventually sold on to the other end of the country. He’s gone to a high-profile home, but I’ll always miss him.wpid-img_48255714538967.jpegSurprisingly enough, for all my fear of stallions, my third client heart horse is also a stallion. We call him the Storm Horse: a magnificent grey tempest of a horse, a Nooitgedachter stallion of the highest standard, standing nearly as tall as the top of my head and appearing four times bigger from his sheer overwhelming presence. When he walks in, you know about it. He has a commanding presence, a regal power about him that you can’t help but notice. And he wasn’t piece of cake to train: smart and tenacious as he is, as a colt he used all of his intelligence and resilience to resist everything the Mutterer wanted him to do. It took quite some time for him to decide to use his powers for good, but once he did and the stud could show him he raked in National Champion Nooitgedachter stallion in-hand and under saddle without apparent effort.
But somehow (and how the Mutterer predicted it, nobody knows) the big stallion just decided to give me his gentler side. He has a reputation for being dangerous, but he’s never attempted to hurt me. He moves around me with a half-awkward carefulness, akin to the way a big man holds a baby, and has never put a foot wrong with me on his back. That gentleness, the obvious joy he takes in his own power, and his faultless fidelity must be what attracts me so much to him, but one thing is obvious: the Storm Horse chose me for his human, and it doesn’t look like he’s going back on that choice.Thanks be to God, and glory to the King.

Unofficial Blog Hop: Instructors

Emma first brought my attention to the discussion of the various trainers – instructors, in the more British dialect we use in South Africa – we’ve chosen, and why we picked them and stick with them.

If you’ve been around Riding on Water for any amount of time you’ve undoubtedly become acquainted with the quirky but inimitable Horse Mutterer, my instructor of eight years – amounting to the vast majority of my riding career and not far from half my life. Geez, the Mutterer has been teaching me ever since he was just a pair of nostrils and a ponytail floating somewhere above my head. Although, come to think of it, that’s still a fairly accurate description of my view of him, minus the ponytail (to my mother’s unspeakable dismay).

My mom first recruited the poor unsuspecting young Mutterer – then only a few years older than I am now, but already boasting a total of over 700 horses he’d put under saddle and innumerable blue ribbons won in the showing arena – to teach my sister and I when I was ten years old in the spring of 2007. How exactly she stumbled upon him, I don’t remember. I was too little to care.

We then owned two horses that had been running around in the veld for several years; a goldenhearted old chestnut gelding by the name of Rivr, and Skye. Poor Mom had been dragging Skye and I around our little round pen (the remains of which my current ring is built from) for months and I was still refusing to suffer her to let go of Skye’s bridle. I also rode (for want of a better word) bareback, mainly because none of us had the foggiest idea of how you put on a saddle. The Mutterer arrived and promptly strapped his virtually indestructible trail saddle onto Skye’s back, plonked me unceremoniously upon it and sent us forth, sans lead rein. I was much more afraid of the Mutterer than I was of falling off, so I obeyed, clutching poor Skye, doing splits on his saddle (I was much too small for it then, and always will be) and, after a few minutes, enjoying myself hugely.

Whereupon the Mutterer summed up what has been basically my entire riding career to this point, with characteristic accuracy and economy of words: “She rides good, but she’s scared.”

In a matter of two years, buoyed by a tide of my unquenchable enthusiasm, under the Mutterer’s guidance I went from jumpy beginner to fearless kid who could, and would, ride anything with four legs and stay on top. It was four years after my first lesson with him that I landed my first paycheck – from one of his clients.

The Mutterer is about as atypical and yet exemplary a riding instructor as you can get. At shows people don’t spare a second glance for this tall, silent man leaning on the rails in jeans and sneakers while everybody else’s trainers are running around screaming “MORE LEG!” in their white breeches and long boots. Shouting has never suited either of us well; it makes me nervous, and it makes him hoarse, besides which the Mutterer seems to consider that once I’m in the show arena his job is done – it’s up to me then. He was also deeply disinterested in teaching me forward seat, rising trot without stirrups, or diagonals as a novice. Instead I learned how to warm up and cool off my horse by myself, how to mount without a girth (the one lesson where I came perilously close to finding a ladder and strangling him), how to work my horse equally on both sides, and what to do if she started bucking. Later on he would never teach me the aids for shoulder-in, travers, half-pass, or turn on the haunches. He taught me how a horse responds to pressure, and how to teach him to do so, and from that I’ve often believed that I could teach my horse basically anything.

Why do I stick with the Mutterer when I think I could learn more about seat and technique from a top competitive rider? For two main reasons; the first being that as a horseman, and in his understanding of the mind and body of the horse, I consider him utterly unsurpassed and have never had a reason to revise this theory. And secondly because the Mutterer and I just really get along. Over the years we’ve built a student-teacher relationship that blurs the line into friendship despite the gap of thirteen years between our ages. His oddball teaching methods are absolutely compatible with my even odder learning methods. A lot of students who would have been surprised by how far he could have taken them have quit after a few months of lessons because it’s just too hard. You need to half kill yourself trying before he considers you worthy of any form of encouragement. He doesn’t want you to ride for his praise, but because you cannot imagine not riding. For me, who rides for pretty much this reason, and to whom praise in the mouth of strangers always tastes of arsenic’s sickly tang, it works.

And I thank God that it does.

Arwen5

FCEBH: Satin for the Queen

What is your favorite ribbon / prize / award that you’ve won in relation to horses? Is there a story behind it? Or was it a bucket list prize you’d been chasing for ages? It doesn’t have to be from a traditional horse show, and ribbons that are the favorite bc they are the prettiest are just as awesome as awards with a great story. 

My favourite ribbon is probably Arwen’s first place in her first dressage test, not only because it was one of my few actual successes in terms of placings, but also because it took quite an effort to even get in the dressage arena to do the test. We had just been eliminated from the 80cm class for having three stops by the second fence, so we both had to dig pretty deep to forgive one another and get back in harmony. In the end we just settled back into each other and rode the test as well as we’d ever ridden it, barring one botched transition.

So proud
So proud

But come to think of it, there is one another ribbon that comes in a very close second, and that’s the first ribbon I ever won on my own horse. It was almost six years ago, I was twelve years old and blissfully unaware of my extreme ignorance, and the local riding school was holding a gymkhana. We borrowed somebody’s trailer and Skye, despite not having seen a trailer for about six years, stepped right into it.

It was chaos, as the local gymkhanas usually are. Skye was a woolly mammoth and I gave up on trying to get the dust out of her hair, making up for it by plaiting a bunch of red ribbons into her mane. (Poor Skye has put up with a lot). I strapped on my old starter kit saddle, which I still use for backing baby horses because now I don’t care if they fall on it, and scrambled on. The arrangement was somewhat haphazard; we all warmed up together in a 20m lunging ring, during which Skye had every right to kick the other horses and most graciously did not. The instructor bellowed at me through her megaphone when I dared to ask my horse to trot, telling me I was going to make her tired before I even got into the ring.

Skye, albeit unendingly trustworthy and entirely bombproof, had nearly no schooling. In fact, horses that come to me for 8 weeks’ backing are probably better schooled when they leave than she was then. She could walk and trot and canter and stop and turn and jump little jumps, and that was it. Bending was optional, going on the bit was a rare bonus, and cantering on the correct lead was totally out of the question. We were both, however, totally fearless, and there was also the matter of the riding school horses’ schooling – there wasn’t any. Skye looked like a graded dressage horse. We blasted through the gymkhana course and came second in the jumping, having gone clear.

The walk-and-canter race was our great moment of triumph. It was simple enough; we all lined up at one end of the field, galloped across to the other side, turned around and walked back. If you broke into a trot you had to make a circle. The first one across the finish line was obviously the winner. Skye and I won by half the length of the field for the simple reason that when we finished the gallop we were the only ones who could stop and turn around immediately instead of randomly wandering off towards the bottom of the field. Also because Skye walks like a steam train when she’s on a mission.

The old charger deserves a medal. She got a ribbon with “clear round” on it, but in my eyes, it might as well have been the 554 red roses awarded to the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

In jodhs for a show

10 New Ways to Fall Off a Horse

Eighteen months ago, I wrote the original “10 Ways to Fall Off a Horse“, which proved to be ridiculously popular for the simple reason that pain is hilarious.

However, in the year and a half since writing that post, I have tried out several other methods of eating dust and hence the list needs an extension. So without further ado, 10 new ways to fall off a horse, with maximum pain, precision, and extra helpings of embarrassment.

1. Have trouble jumping a relatively small double with your favouritest pony stallion ever. Eventually the Horse Mutterer charges in and orders you to do it properly this time. Fumble the first element, plant hands on pony’s neck for balance, and fall off when pony stops. Bonus points if you land in the six inches of open space between the pony and the jump.

He's normally an angel
He’s normally an angel

2. When practicing Western mounted games, decide to give the keyhole a shot. Mess up several times before your horse suddenly gets the idea, slides to a halt, spins around and shoots off for the timeline. Unfortunately, you simply continue going in a straight line and plough into the dirt. Bonus points if the horse gallops over the timeline and then stops, looks around in puzzlement, and starts heading back towards you demanding why you departed.

3. Ride a young mare that’s just been backed. She’s not in the greatest mood, so when you ask her to halt, she rears. Be totally unprepared for this and slide off backwards, landing on your feet directly behind her bottom with the reins still in your hands. Bonus points if it takes the shocked Mutterer several minutes to catch up with events and ask, “Hey, are you okay?”

4. Get sick. Take antibiotics. Go to work. Have an allergic reaction to the aforementioned antibiotics and faint under your horse’s feet before you can even climb on. Bonus points  if the Mutterer, whilst scraping you off the floor, quips, “You’re getting seriously talented. You can fall off a horse without being on it in the first place.”

Yeah this is why I fall a lot...
Yeah this is why I fall a lot…

5. Ride a beautiful, smart, slightly absentminded four-year-old horse in front of his owner, his owner’s mom, his owner’s sister, and your instructor. Ask him to canter whilst going round a corner, forgetting to get his attention first. The horse obliges but his legs go in different directions, cross, and trip him up. He lands on his knees and you land on your face. Bonus points if you had an identical fall off the same horse two years ago.

6. Saddle up and get onto a gorgeous 16.2hh imported warmblood stallion while his owner and the Mutterer are watching. Ask him to walk on. Cling on for dear life as he proceeds to rear and spin around simultaneously multiple times; eventually fly off over his hip and eat dirt after the third rear. Bonus points if the Mutterer says, “Well done!” with no trace of sarcasm. (I’m still not sure what for).

7. Tell the owner that the mare is getting a bit on the pregnant side for riding. Heed the owner and ride her anyway with the owner watching. She says that she doesn’t feel like riding because she is pregnant. You ignore her and ask her to canter anyway. She says that she DOESN’T FEEL LIKE RIDING and removes you with just one buck. Bonus points if the owner doesn’t notice.

8. Your mom’s friend enjoys watching you ride, so she comes over to watch you working a horse that your mom wants to buy. He is a lovely, solid, gentlemanly guy and you trust him a little bit too much. Approach a jump too fast, cease concentrating, and shoot up his neck when he stops. Shocked by this monkey attacking his ears, he ducks out from under you. Faceplant on the jump. Bonus points if you bleed spectacularly. Extra bonus points to the horse if your mom buys him anyway.

This was worth it, though
This was worth it, though

9. Go on a hack with a young mare that was abused in her past, accompanying a fairly novice client on a quiet-natured stallion you love, and a fairly relaxed client on a Friesian. All goes well until you turn for home and they both let their horses run away with them. Your horse loses her mind, dumps you in the dirt and bolts off down the main road, expensive dressage saddle and valuable unborn foal in tow. Bonus points if the farrier comes to rescue you before you walk all the way home. More bonus points if you’re covered in dirt and soot and have to go to art class directly thereafter.

And the ultimate fall of all time:

10. Go to a Western mounted games clinic on a wonderful little mare (the first time you ever take a client’s horse to an outing). She goes absolutely wonderfully. The last item is your favourite – barrel racing. Unfortunately, there is only one arena being used both for the patterns and for warming up, divided by the timeline. Noticing that one of the riders has extremely limited control over his zoomy horse, you park in a corner of the arena while he takes his turn, figuring that if you stand still he’ll see you and hopefully avoid you. You are wrong. He comes blasting over the timeline at a ridiculous speed, sees you at the last second and yanks his horse’s head around. The horse cannot possibly see where he is going and smashes into you at a full gallop. Horses and riders tumble over each other and all end up lying on the ground. This fall has so many bonus points it’s hard to list them: The other rider runs away to catch his horse before you can hit him (a wise move). Once the Mutterer has retrieved your horse and failed to persuade you not to ride again, you remount, to applause from 100% of the spectators. The other guy remounts to perfect silence. The Mutterer manages not to kill the other guy but pointedly never takes you to games again.

RuachPromise1
I think this is the “you-may-not-barrel-race-you-have-whiplash” argument (possibly the only one the Mutterer has ever lost)