Not Even I Can Stop Me

1 05 2012

Today, I am *very* happy, in spite of having reason to think several of my toes might be broken. Heh. This morning I was given my first lesson without a lead! I think that’s it now and I’ll be free from here on in. My mount today was Lotto, a brown horse with three socks and a star, stripe and snip, and they had me tack him up myself, mount him in the yard and ride him into the practice arena (where the dressage riders were already practising) unassisted. I had real difficulty getting him to turn at first, but by the end of it I was doing it without difficulty – the two pieces of advice that did it were ‘relax your body’ and ‘imagine you’re steering a bike, not a horse’. When I did both of those things together, I had no difficulty at all.

First thing this morning, Lotto was tail-flicking and aggressively attempting to bite and head-butt me whenever I went near him. Having recently read a handful of articles online about horse behaviour, most usefully this one about how horses in herds have pushing contests to establish dominance, and also having exchanged anecdotes with a friend in the UK who also rides by email, I decided to try standing my ground and gently pushing his face away with one hand whenever he went for me as a way of dealing with this. It worked remarkably well, as by the time we put him back, he was calm and friendly towards me.

However, the reason I think I’ve broken most of my toes on my right foot had nothing to do with Lotto – a seal-brown mare called Tifon stepped on my foot as I was leading her back to her stall after grooming her. I think she was trying to barge past me so she could go for the weeds opposite the stable door, and I foolishly leaned into her to try and stop her. When I cried out in pain she stopped in her tracks, but didn’t move her hoof until I asked her to with my free hand. Needless to say, That Hurt. Immediately afterwards it felt okay, but my three middle toes are swollen and paralysed now. Thankfully, however, my big toe and pinkie are fine, so I can still walk comfortably with boots on, and it’s not my mounting-foot so as long as I take things *reasonably* easy this week I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’ve broken toes before, and find they heal very quickly.

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