I have a big mouth, did you know that about me? It gets me in trouble a lot, not as much as it used to but enough. Well, this is a story about my big fat mouth. So Sunday was my first show of the year, on Saturday I paid to do the schooling so I could be sure Mia would be good with the course. We were moving to Novice for this first show of the season and despite going over everything 2 weeks prior, I know she is sticky over stadium fences so I wanted to make sure it was all A-OK.
K and I got to the facilities and met her dad and her cousin as they were going to follow us and take some pictures. We started out over the stadium poles and, as expected, Mia decided that stadium poles in a field are HORSE EATING poles and must not be trusted. She balked at them as we trotted/cantered by them during our warm up, over jumped the first stadium fence quite a bit and then went said nope, nope, nope to the second jump. I had to smack her several times before she would even approach it and then leapt over it like it was on fire. Ugh, come on mare. We jumped over it several more times before she relaxed enough to jump fence two and with 2 hard smacks going to the third stadium jump, she then went over fence 3 without a refusal. Ok, note to self, carry a crop to beat the pony over stadium fences. SMH.
TWH was, unsurprisingly, awesome and was very happy to be out on course. His little ears were pricked super forward and K said she could tell he was really enjoying himself. Mia and I went over 2 novice xc fences before continuing on the path with K, as the Novice path no longer followed the Starter path. K went over her fences and ended up in the "high meadow". We came upon the ditch that I almost fell at 2 weekends ago at the clinic. I figured I should jump it a few more times and really focus on keeping my heels down, cause if I have problems with my heels, I need to work on it.
I called over to K and her crew that I was going to go over the ditch and this time try not to fall off, you know like at the clinic. Her dad asked if I wanted pictures and I said nah, I should be able to tell if my heels were down. Mia and I trotted up to the ditch which, if you remember, is in a depression, there is a small hill going down to the ditch on both sides. Mia got to the ditch and came to an abrupt stop! Uh, what happened? Mia refused? I smacked her with the crop but didn't want her hopping over it from a standstill (since I didn't want to fall off) so I circled her around and tried again. This time I kept my heels WAY down and leg way forward and she again came to a quick stop. My core went forward due to the quick stop and then Mia backed up. Completely unprepared, I did a quick somersault over her shoulder and hit the ground. Yes, I fell off of my green horse for the very first time.
Thanks to my very bad habit of having the death grip on the reins when I fall off, Mia then proceeded to drag me about 10-15 feet up the hill and then a little further before she finally stopped. By then everyone noticed something was amiss and said I then "hopped up like a spring chicken". I wasn't hurt, I just hit my butt and damn it, I was pretty ticked and was GOING to make her go over the ditch! Everyone meandered over and asked if I was ok as I got back on and then I proceeded to play my favorite game, Beat The Pony. When Mia refused a third time, I smacked her with the crop until she jumped over the grass beside the ditch. At least it was forward. I kept smacking her when I represented the ditch again and she again jumped off to the side but at least she wasn't fully refusing. And I was keeping my heels down :) I represented a fifth time and I was able to get her over the actual ditch and by the sixth time she jumped it without needing a beating. Progress! Sheesh. Thankfully it wasn't on my course on Sunday, I was just doing this to practice.
As K finished up her course, I picked Mia up into a canter and went over some starter and then BN jumps before starting the Novice fences again. By the time I went over the next Novice fence, the XC machine was back and Mia didn't care any longer what we were jumping as long as we were jumping. What I think happened is that she hadn't had enough of a warmup to have the XC machine confidence she needed yet. When presented with an iffy situation, she just decided to say no because she doesn't realize yet that NO is not the right answer. My hope is more experience will fix that. We finished our entire XC course without any other issue, even over the stadium fences.
So me and my big mouth taunted Karma enough that I then had to fall off. Thankfully my butt has enough padding that it doesn't hurt but when I laid down Sat night, I realized my shoulder hurts. A fairly significant amount of hurt actually. Being drug by my arm apparently isn't a good thing at my age. I woke up nice and early on Sunday for my show and downed a couple of Aleve, it is show time!