I had to be out at the barn around dinnertime to teach a lesson. I was determined that I was going to get on a horse. I didn't care what I did once on, but I was getting on dammit.
I had let the kids loose in the arena the day before to get rid of any sillies since they had been off all week. I wasn't sure if Cisco was looking a wee bit off behind, so I decided that I would ride Phantom.
So I brought her in and fed her. And while waiting for her to finish eating, tried not to fall asleep.
I was bagged.
But I was riding.
Grooming and tacking up sounded like it was going to take too much work. But I was going to ride. So, bareback?
When I was younger I used to ride bareback all the time. I'd jump, do flying changes, and barrel race for fun. I think I've only ridden Phantom bareback 2 or 3 times. Which means I've only ridden bareback 2 or 3 times in, oh, 12 years.
The first issue was getting on. The mounting block is tall enough that I could just put my right leg over and be sitting on. Perfect! So I did that.
And Phantom went flying backwards. She was all "WTF?" So I slid off. And she gave me the hairy eyeball as I stood in front of her.
I took her back to the mounting block. First I leaned over her. She tensed for a second but then leaned back into me. Then I put my right leg over and kept my left leg on the block. That was fine, so I did it a couple more times and then took my weight off my left leg and sat on her. She stood this time.
|Hard to get a decent picture while on the horse.|
When we walked off, it was a very short, tight walk. One of the reasons I wanted to ride bareback was because my back was very tight, so I doubt that I was helping the situation.
The other thing that wasn't helping? I had no frikkin' balance. I felt like I was going to slide off the side. At a walk. Holy crap. I had to hold a chunk of mane for the first few laps.
It took a few minutes for Phantom to relax and drop her head and start to walk forward. It took way longer for me to stop constantly trying to shift my weight to the right. I so need to ride bareback more to try to break this habit.
Eventually I asked for a trot. Phantom picked up a slow, bouncy trot that I sat to (posting while bareback is too much movement for her). I started giggling, and didn't stop for a lap and a half of the arena. It was mostly the overtired, no idea why I'm laughing but can't stop kind of giggling, which honestly, felt really good.
It didn't take too long for Phantom to figure out that I wasn't going to fall off so she could speed up. I managed about 25 minutes of riding before I could no longer ignore the screaming of my right psoas. I didn't canter - she hadn't been ridden for a week and if I was going to slide off over her right shoulder it would be at a canter. I'll work up to it.
I think I'm going to try to ride bareback a bunch through the winter. I've always enjoyed it, and don't really have a reason as to why I've stopped. Hopefully it will help that sitting to the right problem - there's nothing to step into while bareback!