My mare, Raven and I, were playing in the back 22 acre pasture of the MRH ranch, having ourselves a grand time exploring the pristine country. I was confident that we were connected in partnership and solid in our feel of one another as she made changes in her gait based just on the subtle changes in my body.
As we were trotting along the east fence line of the pasture, I heard a train approaching and turned Raven to face it. We’ve ridden this section of the pasture before while trains passed by without meriting even a flick of the ear or a turn of the head from Raven. This train, though, was traveling much faster than the previous we had encountered, which significantly amplified the train’s energy and noise.
Raven danced side to side in agitation, and I, still believing our previous connection could prevail, tried to soothe her nerves with loud exhales while stroking her neck. In a split second, she spun on her hind legs towards the barn, and I could sense something dramatic was about to unfold. Before I could decide to dismount, she was sprinting full force across the pasture, her energy that of sheer panic.
The tension in her body was so extreme that I felt I was sitting atop stone—no breath, no give, no flexibility. Raven had transformed in a mere instant from a willing partner who was boldly exploring with me into a prey animal fleeing for her life.
I was scared, but because of the time I have put into learning horsemanship, my mind was still able to sort through all the possible options available: emergency dismount, one-rein stop, circling, disengaging her hindquarters. But none of these options seemed possible. By now, she was speeding too fast to dismount or safely pull her around. I imagined the gruesome outcome of one or both of us being seriously injured.
My only safe choice was to ride as fast as she could run, and I knew that I had prepared for this moment through all the lessons and clinics she and I had taken over the past few years with Emily in the MRH program. The time had come to fully trust in my riding and leadership skills.
So, I resolved to ride what she gave me and to not fall off. “I am NOT going to fall off”, I told myself from the conviction of my own self-preservation. I repeated this mantra as Raven raced up the huge pasture, through the open fence and across the back alley of the paddocks. As we reached the obstacle course where other students were gathered with their horses, Raven’s pace slowed just enough for me to bend her around to a stop. I let out a huge sigh of relief while shaking my head in disbelief that we had survived her flight without injury.
I promptly dismounted Raven, quite shaken (Emily later told me a few "choice words" came out of my mouth) and shared with everyone the events leading up to my rather rapid entrance into the current lesson that was taking place.
Emily used the incident as a learning opportunity to review emergency stops at every gait, but also applauded my ability to stay cool headed and ride what my horse gave me, as it is what kept my mare and I physically safe. How thankful I am that because of our prior and proper preparation, I had the horsemanship skills needed to be able to walk away unharmed!
- ￼￼￼￼Notes from Emily -
I asked MeeMee to write this piece as I felt her experience offered a tremendous learning opportunity, not only for herself, but also for others. Although emotionally terrifying, MeeMee did an exemplary job of keeping herself and her horse safe by being able to stay in the saddle at high speeds. We must never forget that we are creating relationships with prey animals. Although a proper education helps horses act more like partners than prey, there is always the possibility that their instinctive nature, which is prone to rapid and sudden flight, will take over.
Therefore, with consideration of and respect for the nature of the horse, it is terrifically important that we equip ourselves with the necessary skills to ensure safety around these magnificent, but also powerful beings.
Take Home Lessons:
• Learn how to read your horses emotions, both on the ground and under saddle, allowing you to identify the potential for a problem before it
becomes full fledged.
• Build your horses confidence with an emergency stop (either one- rein or calvary style) at all gaits: walk, trot, lope AND gallop and prior to needing it.
• Build your confidence and ability to ride with an independent seat at all gaits: walk, trot, lope AND gallop. If you are not yet a confident and capable rider at higher speeds, be judicious about where you take your horse. Commit to building your seat so that you can ultimately ride anywhere with safety!
• Have the courage and discernment to know what to get off and be comfortable executing an emergency dismount. There is a great deal of wisdom in knowing when it is better to support your horse with leadership from the ground rather than the saddle.
Wishing you many safe and successful rides atop your special equine partner!
Mica - Steadfast and Sensible Mare
Mica is a 12 year old appendix mare and is as sensible, reliable, and steadfast as they come! She is a kind and quiet mare and has demonstrated herself to be unflappable and very even natured, both on the trail and in the arena. Mica is an extraordinary trail horse due to her steady mind and even demeanor. If you are looking for an experienced horse that will keep you safe on the trail, this is the horse for you. Mica has been used as a lesson horse both in an indoor and outdoor arena and on the trail. She as well has lovely, ground covering movement which would allow her to really excel in the dressage ring. She is easy to handle for the vet and farrier and ties and trailers well. This is a great all around mare -- steady enough for trail, obstacle or cow work and elegant enough for the competition ring! Mica is priced to sell before winter, so come meet this lovely mare today!
Medical History: Up to date on all shots. De-wormed and trimmed regularly.
Rider Experience: Beginner to Intermediate
Price: $3500 (*price to increase as training increases)
Location: Currently in Bennington, NE
Visit website for additional photos, video(s) and information.
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Scout - Terrific Trailhorse and Western Dressage Prospect
Scout is a talented and steadfast 15 year old AQHA gelding. He has a steady mind and a quiet disposition, which make him a willing partner both on the ground and under saddle. Scout is well versed in his groundwork and is also a smooth and enjoyable ride. Scout has a diverse background having been ridden both english and western, in the arena and on the trail. He is an excellent trail horse whom boldly and confidently navigates obstacles and varied terrains. He has as well been around kids and worked in a therapeutic riding program. Scout handles well for the farrier, trailer loads and ties and is current on all his vaccinations. Come meet this handsome and endearing gelding for yourself!
Medical History: Easy keeper, completely healthy and sound. Up to date on all shots. De-wormed and trimmed regularly.
Rider Experience: Intermediate
Location: Currently in Lincoln, NE
Visit website for additional photos, information and multiple videos.
Check out the new Western Dressage videos of Scout!
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Saddles Offered for Sale
We currently have available a selection of fine used saddles. Please visit our Tack and Equipment For Sale page to view and learn more about our current selection.