Is this the face of a mare that will spaz, fall over, and take off?
Yes, yes it is.
Fi had a couple days off after her adventures at Equine Affaire. I had school work and then my husband got rear-ended. This has us with one car between the two of us and cost me another day at the barn. With Fi, that pretty much doesn't matter. She takes days off in stride.
It was cold, brisk, and there was a wound up TB gelding attempting to jump when we went down. Attempting being the key word, he was taking fliers and bucking and generally being a handful. Fi was in her hackamore since my goal for the day was to ride with as little hand as possible. The hackamore usually keeps me out of her mouth. We warmed up nicely, just the occasional head toss when she was told to move off my left leg. She demonstrated her little Western jog, maintaining it off of just my seat and legs. I loved it.
The oopsie moment came when I was going along the rail and the TB jumped the jump right next to us. He landed and exploded next to Fiona. Fi exploded alongside him, half-rearing and trying to bomb off. I rode through it and kicked her on. As we turned back across the ring, she went off again. This time, I lost my balance. It happens to everyone eventually. I realized I was in a bad spot and decided to bail. I remember kicking free of my stirrups and trying to grab her mane, but at the same time she started to go up again.
I once had a horse flip over on me. He reared up and flipped over backwards. I managed to bail and kick clear, avoiding serious injury, but it's not the kind of thing you forget.
As soon as she started to go up past a half rear, I went for her mane so I wouldn't pull her over but missed. It just happened too fast. I'm pretty sure the hackamore is why she hit the ground next to me. I let go of the reins but it was too late. She didn't flip over, but she did lose her balance and we both ended up on the ground. Fortunately I kicked free with plenty of time, so I just landed next to her. She went down very softly. I'm quite sure she was trying to avoid landing on me and she didn't get up until I'd already pushed myself to my knees.
Unfortunately, being Fiona, once on her feet she took off for the barn. When in doubt, she goes to her safe place. Now this is where it gets interesting. There were a couple ways to get out of the ring. She could:
a) Go through the open gate that was right there
b) Go over the Novice sized coop that was next to the open gate, the one she has jumped many times in lessons
c) Go over the fence that goes around the ring that's about 3'6"
Yeah, she jumped the fence. Whacked it on the way over, since it was probably the biggest thing she's ever jumped, but she gathered herself up and jumped it surprisingly nicely. I ran after her, chasing her all the way up to the barn where I found her hanging out with some working students that heard her tearing up from the ring. Being the princess, she was completely calm and had waited at the entrance of the barn for someone to come get her.
I wheezed over to check out my girl. Since she fell, we had to go over every inch of her. We did find where she'd scraped the front of each of her hind fetlocks, probably while leaping out of the ring. The left was pretty minor, the right was bleeding but shallow. I was really thankful she had her boots on, so the only damage was below her boots.
I walked her back down to the ring so we could get back to work. I passed the TB that had been jumping on my way. The rider said she'd had more than enough excitement for one day. That made two of us.
I remounted and Fi went back to work like nothing had happened. That's the princess for you. Exactly one minute of chaos, followed by going back to work like a little angel. My trainer commented on the fact that Fiona chose to jump out of the ring, rather than go out the open gate just ten feet over. We also discussed the fact that she was so organized about it. We've decided that she'll be doing some free jumping in the future. If part of the issue is having a rider around, we can work on that.
Fortunately I've got nothing more than a couple sore muscles to show for today's adventure. Every once in awhile Fiona has to remind me (and everyone else) that there's a reason she's not considered amateur friendly.