Thursday, September 12, 2013

Holy Hammies

It's been a ridiculously busy week thus far (and I do realize that it is in fact only Wednesday... Or rather it was when I wrote this), but I was very much looking forward to a happy, fun lesson with the mare this morning (again, talking about Wednesday).. going over our foibles from the show and perhaps easing back into some serious work.

This image of loveliness was shattered by an incoming text from the trainer "Lunge line lesson or Bareback today.  You're choice!"

Um.  hmmm.  Both very productive things to do in lessons... and given my less than stellar Eq performances, probably well deserved, but Oh. God.  The only time I've sat on Prair bareback she kept threatening to rear, so that didn't sound super appealing... but given my mental exhaustion a crazy-picky Eq lesson on the line sounded like borderline torture.

sooooooo bareback it was...

Given my early(ish) lesson time, Prair hadn't been turned out yet so when I arrived, she was busy pitching a fit about being left alone in the barn... Which was exactly what I didn't want to see.  An irritated, cranky mare who's had two days off.  Picture perfect for our first foray into bareback riding. 
Dear god.

I did cajole S into hopping on her first just to make sure she wasn't going to freak out, but after four minutes of totally uneventful hacking she slid off and it was my turn.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how comfy the mare was to sit.  I've been moderately terrified of her shark-fin wither and slinky-dog back, but both were a non issue.  We stayed at a pretty dialed down pace the entire time but the focus was on relaxing my legs down and keeping everything floppy and loose.  Very helpful for my hips (which are never square) and straightening my ribcage.

We played with figure-eights, serpentines and transitions, then worked simple changes (performed on a figure eight as I passed through two poles) and a couple flying changes.  All very good things to practice when I can't get away with tipping over :)

It was very obvious that my abs need some strengthening as they were screaming at me the entire time.. my hammies were also... unhappy.  I think I don't engage them enough when I'm riding in normal tack, but it was oddly satisfying to feel them holding me down and back, anchoring me into the mare. 

Yes, they were burning... but I suppose that's good for me too.

The whole process was made significantly more comfortable (and easier) by borrowing a friends ThinLine Bareback pad, which aside from being shockingly comfy, was also very, very grippy. 

Helpful Torture Device

At no point did I feel loose or unsecure - and now that I've successfully attempted riding the mare bareback, I think that maybe I will try to force myself to repeat the process once a week. 

All in the name of fitness.

And a more independent seat.

And more straightness.

And confidence with the mare.

And building better Eq muscles.

And because it sorta makes me feel 12 again and secretly I'd like to be comfortable jumping without tack....


  1. Go you!! Wow that pad looks fancy shmancy =)

  2. Cool that the lesson didn't go too bad.

  3. :D I've wanted one of those ever since I saw Brooke's. Sounds like oodles of fun and OMG BAREBACK JUMPING. I haven't done that since I was like, 15? Maybe 16.

  4. I have that pad - it is awesome. Kind of pricey but worth it. I feel super secure on my guy with it, and it stays in place nicely on him as well.

  5. Want one! I love to ride bareback but need to invest in a pad bc I hate a hairy butt! And something to hold onto in the oh sh moments can be nice too! :) get vids of the bare sic jumping!

  6. That pad looks amazing! I've done one no stirrups lesson on my guy - thankfully she took pity on us since he's only 4 (might have been 3 at the time) and let me use the saddle with no stirrups in place of bareback. It really is a love/hate thing, isn't it? I know I vowed to work without stirrups regularly after that (either last fall or early spring) and haven't done it a single time. Good luck in keeping your idea, it's a good one but hard to keep yourself to!

  7. Lauren had that pad and I rode Lucy in it a few times. I LOVED it. It is the best bareback pad I have ever sat on.

  8. Did not know Thinline made a bareback pad, I want one now!

  9. Oh I need one of those pads!!! Bareback on Henry = painful.

    But like you said- it's good for so many things!


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