Today, however, on the long side home, I let Foxy out a bit hoping to use up some energy. Apparently, Vi couldn't hear me when I told her I was going to let Foxy out and so she lagged a bit on Emmett. I stopped Foxy on the downside of a little hill and turned to wait for Vi to catch up. Emmett came galloping over the crest of the hill at which point Foxy decided Emmett was running for his life so she better run for hers. She wheeled around on her hind legs and leapt forward into a pretty fast canter and just as she was taking off I heard Viola hit the ground behind us. By then it was too late as Emmett pulled up next to us almost immediately and we were on a long downslope. Foxy turned on the afterburners going into her full-speed-ahead gallop and it was all I could do to stay in the saddle and try to haul her up while resisting her with my seat. Unfortunately, there was no place to disengage really and the cattle gate was coming up really fast.
I was fine to walk back and get Vi, who was up and stalking down the trail toward us. We cornered Emmett, walked the horses through the gate, got back on and rode back to the ranch.
Even though I'm not fond of being whipped off a horse into a metal gate, I'm glad something was there to stop Foxy, though I had kind of gone into my zen-stay-with-the-horse-no-matter-what mode in my brain. I probably could have ridden her out but there are a number of unfriendly obstacles on the other side of that gate- like a road crossing, the hang-glider landing area, the dog park, a super narrow gate and several trees.
As much as I love a thrilling, adrenaline-spiking ride(which these days is pretty hard for me to come by- even jumping doesn't get my adrenaline up much- having a horse like Foxy will desensitize you to all but the most life-threatening of circumstances), I have to say, I really don't enjoy Foxy going DOWNHILL at full gallop- which easily tops the speed of even former race horses I've ridden.
I also don't like seeing, er, hearing my daughter fall off. Happily, while she skinned her knuckles and elbow and bit her tongue pretty damn hard- the recent rain made for a somewhat softer if muddy landing and Vi seems less the worse for it. She did bitch up a storm about breaking two nails but when I expressed concern, she replied, "I'm fine. I've seen you with WAY worse." I'm not really sure that is a good barometer since I am well known for Doing-Stupid-Things-And-Getting-Hurt around the horses. Granted, I'm hyper anal about keeping my students safe and, knock on wood, have a relatively good record with students not coming off(and when they do it is generally minor). I am consistently amazed at the ability of people to fall off horses when the horse is walking or stopped, but at least that usually doesn't result in serious injury. *eye roll*