It's been two years since my Total Knee replacement, and three since his serious hind end injury (best guess is that zigged when he should have zagged, on ice, and went down in the pasture) and we've been slowly making our way toward real riding. He's clearly bored stiff in the ring, but we normally walk the trails and with the hard ground, I'm using Old Mac boots - which he interprets as the right to run. ;).  I still can't post for lengthy periods and his sitting trot is impossible unless he's really up on his toes, but I can ride walk, canter, forward seat (as long as the stride is smooth) so with the bugs in the bush frosted out for this fall, I've been letting him run a bit on the trails.  Now, we've never been out of control on trails. Bounce is usually a babysitter to airhead youngsters and such, but with my returning confidence in the saddle, he's tossing off the babysitter mantel.  
Yah so....after 7 years of careful babysitting -- the sum of our mutual ages is over 72 (and 59 riding years between us), you'd think I'd be watching for this.  

On Saturday, we're set to gallop up this hill, he's into his third stride uphill though thick grass and trees pressing close to the trail.  He suddenly plants his butt right underneath his girth, full stop and 180 degree spin spook.   I didn't get a vote - I kept going in a straight line with the predictable result.   Grass was long and deep, but the ground was hard.  I think I hit a rock - helmet did its job.   Channeling my bush riding rodeo days, I tried to hang onto him, so he did another couple of spins dancing around me and then took off up the trail.  I yelled at him ...and here I thought I had been teaching hjim to come on call because I couldn't limp my cane into a muddy pasture to get him. :D.  I do need to convince him that spooking in place (allowed) does not include a change of direction (not allowed).

He stopped, came back, let me catch him and then tried to climb into my lap while I looked for a rock big enough to climb back on.    Then we went back to the spot to discuss why a smart Morgan of 17 yrs. who has been riding these trails since he was three years old ought not to be spooking at a purple wildflower nodding its head in the path, especially if he manages to launch Mom in the process.
We went the rest of the way in walk, sitting rodeo seat in full collection, with him tossing in an odd "neck-buck", like, "can we go go!!!!.    This is odd behavior for hm but I had lost my sense of humor at this point.  We did 45 minutes of bouncy walk including the biggest hills, and then we went back to the ring for a 20 minutes in collected walk and canter.  I was pretty sore on Saturday night.  I kept moving on Sunday - including schooling the little monster at 2nd level work - and managed to make it to work today with nary a hint of discomfort.   Comforting to know that despite the grey hair, I can still bounce, belatedly.  He hasn't done 3rd level stuff since before his injury, but he's certainly ready to go back to 2nd level work again whether I am, or not.

Luv my little Rocket Launcher, but hate being the rocket when he lets go!

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