Flailing Backwards

Sunday, we brought Whiskey over from the old barn and moved him into the new barn.  Before he had a chance to really settle, I tacked him up and took him on his first trail ride with two of the barn buddies.  This was intentional - I wanted to see how he did when his brain was completely fried, surrounded by new horses, in a new environment.

 And my horse (squee) was a fucking champ.  He led, he followed, he crossed water with his face shoved into a palomino butt, and he led back over the water.  He still walked like a drunken moose, but steering takes time, right?  I was overall exceptionally pleased.

Chill enough to grab a snack.
I gave him Monday off and tacked him up Tuesday evening, after having ridden Archie.  Whiskey is squirrelly about the mounting block in a way I haven't seen in other horses - instead of walking away, he walks over it.  We spent a good ten to fifteen minutes with a handful of carrots, walking up to the mounting block, standing, getting a treat, losing our mind, and doing it all over.

Once he was standing sorta still, gazing off at something in the distance, I mounted.  And my dear stiff drink bolted backwards.

It was really fucking scary, I'm not gonna lie.  But time slows down when you're in those situations.  I knew he was getting too close to my car, so I moved him over and he responded.  I kicked out of my stirrups.  The next thing I know, I'm falling and he's falling with me.

My saddle on the ground, divots in the dirt.
I can't say if he reared or what.  I didn't fall far and am relatively unscathed.  My immediate reaction was that he reared and flipped, but not over backwards - sideways.  So his fronts may have left the ground, but not very high.

We both got up and we were both pretty shaken up.  I called another friend, Big G's mom, and just walked her through what had happened.  She advised putting him in the round pen to check for lameness and also so he didn't think he was going to get out of work.  I dropped his saddle and did exactly that, where he was apparently fine.  None of that flailing and falling felt malicious - it felt panicked.

A tiny bit of road rash on my elbow and a bruise on my stomach.
I texted Ox's owner and asked if she could meet me Wednesday night, as I didn't want to try mounting him alone again in case something worse happened.  I've mentioned this before, but Ox's owner is a retired h/j trainer and she also used to saddle break racehorses.  And she's got a good twenty years of experience on me.

Her suggestion was to treat him like an unbroke horse.  He's got so many gaping holes anyways, might as well.  So I still tacked him up, but we went to the round pen again and worked on moving his haunches and just basic lunging.  My homework is to get him moving his shoulders, backing, and continuing the haunches and lunging skills.  He doesn't listen to voice commands very well, so that needs to be taught.

You'd think that I would be less invested in training up a horse like this, who dumped me while the ink was still wet on his sale contract.  But I had problems with Archie and now I know the little bastard's soul.  I wouldn't be interested in a horse who was easy.  I still love the guy.

I like to think that Archie is telling him that if he tries that shit again, his ass is grass.  
You might also be screaming  PAIN.  Which, yeah, was my first reaction, too.  No reaction to pressure points and the guy just had a physical.  My tack fits (for now) and nothing was changed.  He just derped and took me with him.

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  1. A one off thing is just a one off thing. No sense overthinking it. Love your approach--think about it, call someone you trust, make a plan.

    Here's to a long and happy future for you two!

  2. Yikes! At least he's cute ;-) You'll get there for sure, you've definitely got a great approach.

  3. I'm glad you are okay! By all accounts it sounds like a scary, fluke thing. I like that you have a plan and I can't wait to hear about your adventures.

  4. I had a horse who did this. He was a 3 year old TB colt, and it was I think his first time using a mounting block. He had been fine mounting from the ground. He flew backward and I was grabbing onto his neck for dear life. I think he was just surprised. After some slower work with the mounting block, and a ground person to hold him, he was fine.

  5. Running backwards is scary. I'm glad that you are all okay. I agree that starting over is a good thing to do.

  6. Sounds like you guys have a solid game plan! Glad neither of you were hurt in the weird occurrence!

  7. Maybe he even spooked backwards and tripped. That's a lot of leg to keep track of :) I'm sure he'll be fine but what a scary thing to deal with!

  8. aw ouch! bummer about the fall, but glad you're alright! the mounting block is tough, yo.

    1. hey - just following up bc i saw your comment on my 'shaping' post. if you're interested in more ideas of the same type of work, you may find the post linked below useful too. it describes how i sorta got the ball rolling with charlie on the ground, and the steps we took to first start introducing the work. good luck!


    2. this one is maybe interesting too, tho it's a little less 'how to' vs just.... summarizing some of what we work on


      (sorry if this is annoying ha, but i kinda get excited about this subject and am now digging through my archives.... lol)

  9. Somedays it's real hard to horse. Sounds like you have a great plan in place to help him get over any concerns :)

  10. Many horses have mental hangups about the mounting block. Since he has an unknown history, you can't really take anything for granted. Glad you are okay about it all. Best of luck!

  11. Sounds like a derp moment to me. He just doesn't get the mounting block concept. Glad he didn't flip over on you!

  12. I agree with Alli - derp moment! Glad you guys were ok :)