Homeland Farm

Homeland Farm

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"That dismount was a perfect 10!!"

      As I mentioned in an earlier blog, (or two), my cousin Zenya and I grew up next door to each other and shared a great love of horses and riding. We spent hours riding on the big power line behind my house, or cutting out new trails in the woods. Not every outing went as smoothly as we hoped it would, as you probably know by now.
       One fall day, after my horse Angel had given birth to her foal Flicka, Zenya and I decided to try riding the horses down the road for a short ride. It was Angel's first outing without Flicka following along behind us, and I wanted to see how she would act. I had left instructions for Flicka, who was about three months old, to be locked in the stall until we were out of sight, and then she could be let out into the corral.
      We had an old barbed wire corral off the end of the barn, and we were in the process of taking the wire down and replacing it with white board fencing. At the time we went for our ride, we had done three sides, leaving only the side that faced down the road left to finish.
       So, Zenya and I rode off on Ebony and Angel, and it seemed Angel really enjoyed her first trip without her daughter. We went down the road at a canter, hearing the upset cries of Flicka, who was in the stall. We were only gone half an hour when we decided that we would head back, because we really weren't sure how Flicka was handling the separation.
      As we walked back around the bend in the road, I could see Flicka quietly nibbling some grass out in the corral, safe and sound. I relaxed then  because I had expected to see her running around, all lather and foam, and calling for her mother.
       I had just remarked to Zenya that the foal seemed to be handling the temporary loss of her mother quite well, when all of a sudden, Angel let loose one loud, long bellow that almost shook me out of the saddle. Flicka's head shot up, and she raced to the fence, stopping to look longingly down the road at us.
        Of course, if Angel had decided to be quiet, everything might have been ok, but instead, she hollered again, even louder and longer then before. At this point, my mother had come rushing out onto the front porch to see what was going on. I looked over at Flicka, who was now racing around the corral, whinnying and crying for her mother.
      Suddenly, I knew what she was going to do. She was going to try and jump that barbed wire fence!
       "Get Flicka!!", I yelled to my mother, as I gathered up my reins, ready to take off for the corral. I was about ready to urge Angel into a lope, when I saw Flicka take off for the fence.
       "Flicka!!" I yelled, as I saw her slim, golden body heading straight toward the wire, full tilt. I held my breath as she jumped, her long legs flying, and prayed that she would get over the fence. Ebony, our Quarter Horse mare had gotten caught in some old wire, but she just stood calmly while I untangled it from around her thick legs. I had awful visions of what would happen if a young foal got caught in wire.
       Flicka seemed to be half way over the top, and I really thought she was going to make it, when she toppled over the hung there, upside down, her legs twisted and caught in the cruel barbed wire. My heart caught in my throat, as I saw her swinging back and forth, still crying for her mother.
      I dug my heels into Angels side, not that she needed prodding, and we were off. I raced up the road, my eyes focused on that little body in the wire.
Just as we headed up the driveway, I saw my father race across the corral , and start to try and untangle Flicka from the wire.
      Angel was now in a dead run, as we blasted around the end of the house, My mind was on the condition of Flicka's legs, as we started to turn the corner. Suddenly, I knew I was in trouble. As Angel careened around the house, I felt the saddle slip a little, then a whole lot to the right, until it truly seemed I was riding my horse parallel to the ground. I made a feeble attempt at getting the saddle back up where it belonged on TOP of the horse, but no go.
       As Angel and I began to part ways, I managed to glance at the corral to see my father, still bent over Flicka, who was now lying on the ground in front of him. I turned back to matters at hand and realized I was now airborne, and heading toward the stone well house at a frightening rate of speed. I scrunched my body up into a little ball and got ready to crash. I slammed into the ground  and felt the wind go out of my lungs with a rush. I rolled to a halt at the base of the wellhouse, and just lay there, dizzy and trying to catch my breath.
        Looking over at the back of the barn, I saw my mother come rushing out the back door. She stopped and looked at my crumpled frame lying on the ground near the well house, and then looked over at the drama unfolding in the corral. I could see her standing there..torn between two tragedies that had the misfortune to be taking place at the same time.She stood there only a few moments, and then decided. She rushed to her baby, and then yelled, "She's okay Carmen! How are you doing??"
         By now, I had managed to sit up against the well house, and after a puff on my inhaler, I was almost as good as new. Zenya walked over to offer me a hand up, and we walked over to the corral, where Angel stood, saddle hanging under her belly, nose to nose with Flicka. The filly suffered only a few small cuts on her legs, I had a bruised rib cage, and we decided we had had enough fun for that day. I'd like to say that was the last time I fell off a horse, but it wasn't...trust me.
Liam riding his favorite Steed Old Bill

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