Monday, July 27, 2015

The Fly

It started out like a pretty ordinary ride. My horse was cute. That's not news.

Even clover drool is adorable

He warmed up okay, complained a little bit about rein contact like he often does, had a fine but not phenomenal left lead canter. Nothing I couldn't deal with.

And then.

Then he started bucking.

Crap. Remember how I have a back problem?

Now, Mo is a very athletic little guy. If he wanted to plant my ass in the dirt, he would. He's been known to buck to get out of work, but I really didn't think we were having that kind of ride. And he wasn't acting mean about it.

So I was all "WHAT THE HELL" when I heard what the problem was: a bloody enormous deer fly had planted itself right on the top of his croup.

Ordinarily I wouldn't beat Mo on the top of his croup with my dressage whip. I really wouldn't. I'll tickle him if I feel like he's about to duck behind the bit, but I think actually smacking him like a barrel racer would result in the kinds of histrionics I was already attempting to sit. But since the bucking was fait accompli, I held the reins and a chunk of his already-pathetic mane in one hand and did everything I could to dislodge the fly with my whip. Honestly, the twisting around like that hurt more than the bucking.

At least this was the comfortable kind of bucking, where he mostly jumped up with all four feet and then kicked his hind legs out. I'll take that any day over planting the front feet and kicking the hind feet up over my head.

I got the stupid fly off but hadn't managed to murder it, which is too bad, because just when he took a breath, the little shit was back, and we had to start over. I got the fly off again and tried to gallop away from it, but... we were in the ring. Where could we go where he couldn't find us? I couldn't gallop the whole ride. So when he came back a third time, I waited until I had a second of not-bucking and jumped off (ouch, landing on my feet without a careful slide-off was not in my plans). Mo was kind to let me get all the way off before he lost it again, and I was holding a rearing, bucking animal. I hastily ran my stirrups up so he wouldn't catch a hind foot in one and give us a real tragedy and then trotted him back to the barn. When we got to the safety of the wash stall, he took a huge deep breath and nuzzled my arm.

Was it an excellent training move to jump off a bucking animal and let it be done for the day? Ordinarily, no. But for one thing, M is out of town, I don't have any friends anywhere nearby at the moment, and no one knew I was riding anyway (maybe I need a texting buddy for when I'm riding alone?). So even if he'd been trying to be bad, I think it would have been the right call to get off. But he wasn't--he was being bitten by a fly large enough to carry your cat away, and he has the bumps on his back to prove it. I think it's okay for him to know that if he's actually being attacked, I'll get him away from the thing that's hurting him if I can. Or is that a stupid justification?


  1. Not a stupid justification! I would have done exactly the same. Not worth either of you getting hurt! I on the other hand have a horse who comes to a screeching halt if there's a fly, like MOM GET IT OFF GET IT OFF. Adorable, except when you almost go flying over his ears.

  2. I hate horse flies. Totally legit response in my eyes

  3. Yikes!! The real question is what kind of bug spray will keep it from coming back?!

    1. I don't know! I had some super expensive stuff on him and that didn't work. Blah.

  4. I would bail too! I do think horses get that you're trying to help them. All of my horses in the past have learned the difference between a training whip response and "here let me help you kill that evil creature with my whip/hand/reins" response.

  5. UHM, fuck that. I'd totally have bailed too, poor MoMo. Also, I volunteer to be your texting buddy :-)

  6. ugh yea please don't get yourself killed bc of a fly!!! :(