It’s been a little over a week since I moved Belinda to a new boarding facility.

After having spent the better part of a year at a very small private boarding facility, where for the last several months there were only two horses on property, we’re both very excited to be a part of a new active community. Belinda, my hanoverian mare, is loving her new pasture mates, the oversized grass pastures she gets to explore and her stall at the very front of the barn where she gets to watch the day-to-day operations.

At 18 years old, Belinda is no greenie. Our workout routines are pretty typical. Being a mare that loves her job and thrives on routine, I gave her a few days to get acclimated to the schedule at the new barn and to make some friends, but then it was right back to work.

I’ve owned Belinda for years now, and before that, knew her and rode her for several years under her previous owner. I’ve never fallen off her before.

Until this week.

Perhaps I was overdue for a dump in the dirt. It has been years since my butt has involuntarily left the saddle.

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Super scary Chicklet

It was our second ride in the new arena. At a neighboring fence line stood Chicklet, the barn’s resident miniature donkey, who is super friendly and rarely naughty. Chicklet went on being Chicklet by just standing there, at the fence line, and Belinda just wasn’t having it.

Before I knew it, I was on the ground in the dirt and my big mare was standing next to me, snorting wildly at the donkey on the other side of the fence.

Falling off (barring there are no major injuries) is always a lesson in humility, among other things, of course. I couldn’t believe the mare had managed to toss me so easily. Luckily the only thing that hurt was my pride.

The fall, though minor in every which way, was a good reminder of how easy it is to get hurt in this sport. It reminded me that even though I ride an 18-year-old made horse, there is inherent risk every time I climb into the saddle.

I was able to get back on and keep schooling my mare after the fall. And we’ve since moved Chicklet into the arena while we ride. Belinda is slowing coming round to the idea that the donkey, who is one-eighth her size won’t swallow her whole.

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