I almost talked myself out of hopping on Phantom, but a friend was going for a quick ride so I said I would too. But I didn't want to tack up. Which means riding bareback.
I rode Phantom bareback about a year ago. Before that - maybe 4 or 5 years ago?
Last year, when I stepped over Phantom at our tall mounting block she went flying backwards - "where the hell did you come from??" and I slid off. I then had to school being able to put my leg over a couple of times before getting back on, at which point she was super worried and it took a solid 5 minutes of walking before she relaxed and took longer steps.
So I didn't have high expectations for this ride. Not to mention the fact that last year I had to grab mane at a walk because my balance was so bad.
This year, I took my time making sure Phantom was ready for me to get on. She was much better about walking forward(ish) right away.
Sadly, my balance did not improve. I still had to grab mane at a walk. It was actually better if I rode with one hand on the reins and my other hand resting on my thigh. It just seemed to make me sit more evenly on her back.
I tried a short trot. Phantom took pity on me and gave me the slowest trot she's ever given me. Which was good because that was all I could manage.
I didn't stay on for very long - I could feel the stretch in my psoas. And not in a good way.
I'd like to be able to ride bareback much better, which means I have to practice it. We'll see.