I had a Thelwell moment this week which made me feel all the emotions at once – horror as I could see it unfold in my mind’s eye and laughter as it was a comic moment.
My little rider was trotting along, having recently come off the lead rein, when her pony stopped and put his head down to scratch his nose.
Now this rider is only little, and not that experienced or strong in her position. We’ve been working on her keeping her heels lower than her toes in recent lessons.
Anyway, as her pony put his head down he pulled her forwards so that her shoulders were on his withers, her legs had swung back so her toes were pointing down.
Time seemed to freeze.
The pony continued to scratch his nose, oblivious.
His rider was hovering at that critical point. She could go either way at any moment.
I couldn’t run up to the pony as he’d shy away from me. I started edging closer, telling my rider to sit up, whilst hoping her pony would just lift his head and push her back upright into the saddle.
He didn’t. He didn’t do anything other than continue to scratch his nose in his own little world. But before I could reach them without making the situation worse, his rider slowly tipped further forward, until, to his great surprise, she somersaulted down her pony’s neck.
He jumped sideways in surprise, as she hit the floor. Unhurt, you’ll be pleased to know, but shocked. She got back on and continued the lesson happily, with the specific instructions that if he put his head down again she needed to push her heels down and slip her reins. We’re getting some balance reins for next week to try to stop this reoccurring as we build up her core strength.
I wish I’d had a camera as it was comical as she hovered at the point of no return.