Friday, February 3, 2017

Bareback Boot Camp

The cold and dark winter months have become synonymous with what I call "bareback boot camp". It first started off as a way to get in a quick ride during the week while making good use of  a bay butt warmer but over the past 2.5ish years, riding bareback has become something I make a point of doing every so often for a quick self tune-up.

Away we go

When I first started as an adult beginner, bareback riding played a huge part in helping me develop better balance and seat. Looking back, I really do think it was the biggest thing that got me to improve as quickly as I did. Nowadays, these rides have been honing in on straightness issues that sometimes creep back into my riding. My biggest physical limitation still is tightness that I have on my left side and shoulder which causes issues going clockwise in an arena and some general lopsidedness. It's not horrendous but it is obvious to me. When I do manage to straighten myself out, Quest also straightens out underneath me and I can feel her move out a lot more freely, like she's clicked into a more comfortable gear. This is something that I'll need to keep working on myself and commit to muscle memory.

A few of the canter sets we did earlier this week felt really good though and it is obvious that Quest was enjoying the faster gait. Smart mareface has already figured out this will now be a consistent element of our rehab rides and asked me to GO a few times during that night. We are still in rehab mode though so I had to tell her no but wow, the sass was strong- it seriously felt like she was on rocket fuel lol

Since we added back cantering, I was curious to see how the mareface trotted out. I could have lunged her but I'm a lot more cautious/careful about repetitive small circles nowadays. The arena was totally empty/devoid of helping hands so I made do by propping my phone against the wall and had at it.

Love how our legs move in sync with each other lol

I probably should have taken off her blanket for the video so she could move completely unencumbered but it suffices for my needs. It was a good excuse to practice doing a trot out too. Quest is a pro at it now (she was totally clueless when I first got her lol) but practice makes perfect.

Although bareback riding is great and all, I am really looking forward to having daylight when I leave work- we will finally be able to fit in some trails during the week.

10 comments:

  1. Bareback riding is something I'd love to get back into. I've never trusted Gem enough to go beyond a walk but now that I have her home we can do more of it.

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    1. There is definitely a trust aspect to it as well so it's smart to start off small. I think Gem will surprise you in a good way though (:

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  2. She looks great! I am planning to incorporate one day a week bareback with each pony in 2017. Henry is still full-time bareback because his saddle isn't here and it's helped my balance in a big way, I have a tendency to tip forward a bit and if I'm bareback I can't or I will legit probably fall off.

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    1. Agreed, it really does points out bad rider habits quickly! I have to really watch myself to correct that lopsidedness or its a mess waiting to happen lol

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  3. I love riding bareback! All of Ink's rehab tack walks have been bareback so far. So much easier for lazy days (and warmer!)

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    1. It definitely was something started out of laziness haha it was so cold that first year of owning her that my hands were frozen before I could finish tacking up, bareback riding was a much quicker/easier/warmer option!

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  4. Haha sounds like a blast!!! Love the gifs too

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    1. I'm going to try and incorporate more gifs into future posts- must share all the media!

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  5. I use the cold months to tune up my riding bareback as well. It's beneficial for keeping warm too! Love this post :) And I agree that doing a lot of bareback when you're learning is the key to developing good balance quickly.

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  6. I love that your legs are in sync, too, in that clip! What a cool side effect of filming that. <3

    I'm a big advocate of bareback riding. Everyone I've ever given lessons to has to start that way because I feel it teaches correct balance and use of one's body when riding a horse the quickest way possible. So many people end up using the saddle as a crutch! Then again, I'm the freak who rode bareback for years when I was a teenager just because I could. I have no apprehension about riding bareback whatsoever. It's just "another day" for me!

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