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.
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....