I figured he'd be okay, I knew it would be a large group, but he was fine with the group of seven two weeks ago. He really was good, a little nervous at the start but then he quickly settled in. About halfway through after everyone had commented on how calm he is for a three-year-old things got a little western. Something gave Rem a good spook, which launched me forward, which spooked Rem more causing a bucking fit.
I don't think I made 8 seconds... It was more like 2 big bucks and I was unseated leaning much too far forward on his neck. At that point I knew I was going to bite it so I tried to land on my feet but it didn't work out that way. I wound up on my side with the reins still in my hand. Rem was careful not to step on me because I was quite near his feet but he was still spooked so he flew backwards and I still held on. This caused one side of my reins to snap and he wasn't done moving back, and I was still on the ground. One more tug and my reins were history. I got up and caught Rem after he took a few confused steps around. He was fine and so was I.
From the time I hit the ground to the time my reins snapped my worried onlookers were urging me to let go of the reins. I know they were only concerned for our safety, but I have a strict rule that I follow when I am launched from my horse. If I can hold onto my reins, I will.
For two reasons:
Reason number 1: I am a RIDER not a WALKER. I am not one to simply let my horse loose when I am miles from home/the truck and trailer/where ever. Luckily for me Rem decided to stick around after the reins broke, but I know people who weren't so fortunate to have such a "loyal" horse. I know most horses, when presented with the opportunity to stick around and eat grass or high tail it down the trail, will choose the more tasty option, but I'll take my chances and choose rope burn over walking any day.
Reason number 2: Lesson learned: Launching Jessie = No fun. Yes horse, if you're going to throw me to the ground I will prove to you what a wonderful anchor I make. It probably smarts a bit when you have a bit in your mouth and you try to drag off (insert large number) pounds.
Now I understand there are circumstances that are out of our control in these situations and one cannot always keep hold of the reins, but I like to try. I also understand that it's not always the horse's fault so causing pain by hanging onto the reins isn't quite fair in every situation, however, if you've got a good horse they should hit the end of those reins and slam on the brakes, which is what I hope Rem will do if ever presented with this situation again.
I was able to tie my reins back to my bit and finish a nice ride, with nothing but a little rope burn and some hurt pride. Rem was as calm as can be, like nothing happened... silly mustangs.
So what do you all think? When you take a header into the dirt do you hold onto your horse or pitch the reins away and worry about landing safely?