It was not the force of the blow that sent me sprawling. It was the extent of my weakness. The horse barely "bumped" into me but it was enough to throw me off balance. My helmet rattled out of position and I found myself falling into the picnic table, then bouncing off.
For the second time in this attempt to ride I heard myself shrieking. This time it was directed at my husband and not my horse. By now my horse had some understanding of what I needed from him but he was confused about the reprimand from Dave.
Legs didn't want to be in trouble with Dave but he wouldn't abandon me either. Despite the horse's urge to distance himself from the now unpredicatable man, my horse stood firmly as I fell, preventing me from landing on the ground, blocking my fall with his body.
As I struggled to regain my balance, I saw the worried expression on my horse's face and I heard the tone in Dave's voice as he defended his action. My jeopardy really wasn't over yet. I needed to diffuse the situation. I couldn't take the chance Dave would misread the horse again and trigger another reactive response.
I knew Dave was concerned about me getting bumped in the head but he really didn't get his part in causing it to happen. His tone conveyed his misjudgement of my horse amd the fact he thought I was still at risk . Legs was definitely sensing the man's displeasure but the horse seemed willing to incur Dave's wrath to do what he thought I needed. In this situation it was the man I didn't trust.
I figured I should deal with both of them at the same time to be sure Dave didn't do something to cause another instinctual reaction from the horse and to reassure the horse. I praised Legs for his wisdom and loyalty while I explained to Dave he had misread the horse's affectionate gesture and the jeopardy his respose created. I also explained (for the umpteenth time) the interaction was between Legs and me so if there was a problem, it was mine to fix.
Taking this all in, I realized the magnitutde of what my horse had just done. Not understanding the reprimand from Dave, Legs had risked further discipline to keep me safe. That's an awful lot to expect of a horse. Don't you agree?
Once I had both settled down, I repositioned my helmet, stroked my horse on the neck and tried to mount again while wondering how much could be left in my energy reserves. I hadn't really planned on an instruction session for my husband to be included in this ride. I was definitely testing my limits to extremes I'd never imagined. I prayed I hadn't gone too far.
By this time my legs were visibly shaking and my left knee actually did give way just as I stepped into the stirrup. I fell forward towards the horse's neck, scrambling for the horn as my body struggled to imitate the mounting technique of a person with a toned body. Somehow in this process I got my leg over the saddle and my bottom into the seat but my entire body shook.
Once in the saddle I laid there like a rag doll. There was no energy for steadying myself. I keep hoping my shaking would quiet and praying I wouldn't fall as my body complained of its exhaustion. Somehow my focus gradually changed from thinking about the jeopardy of the situation to realizing I was actually really on my horse. With that new perspective my fear was washed away as I as began drinking in the sensations flooding my body and my spirit as I finally experienced that feeling of Legs beneath me.
To be continued.......