Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First bareback riding lesson in almost thirty years!

At my daughter's lesson on Sunday she apparently posted without stirrups for fifty-three steps.  Yes, she counted.  Apparently, when you are eight years old it is important to count how many steps you can post without stirrups ... so you can challenge your mother to a dual.  But since I can't make it to my lesson on Friday our instructor quickly scrambled and suggested instead of a practice ride today I make it a lesson.  Unfortunately, Misty - the horse I usually ride during my lessons (as opposed to my horse who just ends up hogging all the attention because she needs the training) wasn't feeling well from her vaccines. 

Another win - I successfully took a horse's temperature without her trying to kick me through the wall.  A few weeks ago when Toadie wasn't feeling well after her dewormer I tried to take her temperature and having only done it one time before about three years ago, I apparently was not gentle or deft enough in my approach because had I been standing in the wrong place I would've gone through the wall ... and the arena, and the bleachers and the stalls on the other side of the barn.  Trainer K. said that she wasn't sure anyone had ever taken Misty's temperature so she didn't really know what she'd do, but I figured it's Misty - it couldn't possibly be worse than Toad. And as it was she did nothing.  Well, except register a slight fever.

So, Trainer K. graciously said I could ride Tasha  - who she was going to ride during my lesson.  Only as far as I know nobody ever rides Tasha in a saddle except my daughter and the one other little girl who rides her in lessons.  So, the catch was I had to ride bareback.  I rode Girlriend bareback once for maybe five minutes a few years ago, but she is so narrow and soooo boney and so bouncy that I didn't last very long.  And I rode a lesson horse at my old stable for about ten minutes once when we were playing "musical horses" but I can't remember who it was.  So, I guess I have ridden bareback a couple times since I was a teenager.  Luckily, Tasha is nice and big and wide and has a very smooth trot so it was actually incredibly comfortable.  And it really helped me with relaxing my legs and letting them hang which I have trouble doing.  We worked a lot on my leg position and relaxing my ankles and keeping all that when I used my leg on her (which usually resulted in my tensing up my leg and bending my knee up).  And we worked a lot on trotting and "combing the reins" to get her on the bit and stretching her neck down. 

Near the end of the lesson I was supposed to be standing and listening to something Trainer K. was saying and all the sudden Tasha (in all her mellow 28-year old glory) actually started fidgeting and trying to walk away.  I told her to "whoa" and she fidgeted a little more and we had to turn a circle to go back to Trainer K. and I thought for a brief second how weird it was that all the sudden out of the blue she had all this "Misty/Girlfriend energy" (they are both ex-gaming horses).  Seconds later Trainer K. said, "Uh-oh," we heard a scuffling commotion that was growing louder, and then a horse went galloping by the north arena door with his head held high and his tail held high and a lead rope flying behind.  Trainer K. said, "Crap. That's one of the stallions, you guys stay down here."  And went out to help the barn owner catch the wayward horse.  Old Tasha's still got some life in her!  She still perked up at the sound of a runaway stallion!  I find that very endearing.  We walked around the arena and she was very alert and even a little bouncy and I reminded her that she and I are both too old to be having any more babies.

After the stallion was safely back in his stall Trainer K. came back and said she was out of time and had to go get her horses out of the pasture so I asked if I could keep riding and she said, "Yes, but no cantering, Ok? You have to promise not to canter."  Which just made me laugh because I hadn't ridden bareback in so long I had been worried about trotting - did she really think I was crazy enough to try cantering? Really?  But then she left and I was working on correct posture and trotting and I caught myself thinking, "Wouldn't it be fun to try cantering bareback! Just a little - just halfway around the arena ..." and I realized that maybe Trainer K. had been on to something.

No my core muscles are really sore.  After my last lesson my triceps were really sore.  But Trainer K. is happy about that and says that means I'm doing it right. 

Oh, and I scored off ebay a lovely new (to me - used otherwise) Wintec Pro Dressage saddle with nice brand new leathers and Korsteel irons and and a full exchangeable gullet set.  We tried it on Toad today and it fits really well!  Hopefully, we can try riding her in it tomorrow.  Although, I'll be dragging my daughter along with me because we discovered this evening that she has lice. Again! WTF??? This is the third time this year.  I don't even know what to say about that except where the fuck is she getting it from? Sigh.

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