Friday, December 12, 2014

bareback in the dark

Haha. Hellloooo interesting google hits... ahem, Annnyways... 

This week has been a bust due to weather. I'm sure that statement comes as a shock to you - and that it's the first time you've ever heard that, ever. 

But the skies cleared on Wednesday night and I decided to venture forth to the barn and rescue Isabel from the mud of her pasture - only to subject her to the sandy arena depths. 


can you feel the excitement?

It felt like the perfect opportunity to break out the bareback pad I bought on consignment almost a month ago... I figured - the arena is going to be trashed, per usual, so any speed work is out of the question. Therefore, why not have a ride that's focused on my own muscles instead of Isabel's? She'll at least be mentally engaged, if nothing else. 



I was further bolstered by the many bloggers who ride bareback on the regular like nbd. Tho one cautionary tale stood out to me - Jen from Cob Jockey recently wrote about some friction-related issues with her bareback pad. A lot of comments on that post described at length how bareback pads rub and slide and generally misbehave. 


My new (to me) bareback pad is pretty stiff and felt kind of rough, so I opted to add my no-slip half pad underneath. The idea is that this will add an extra layer of padding, help keep everything in place, and reduce any potential friction. One day I'll have to do a proper review of this half pad too... one day. 

Anyways, the bareback pad sat nice and snug on top of the half pad, and off we went! 

there are four horses in this picture

The arena lights are on the fritz again. Seriously. It's driving me fucking nuts because there are only two lights - and one simply does not work (it pops on then buzzes off into a sad death every few minutes...), and the other works only sometimes. Plus - if they've been on for any length of time, then are turned off - good luck getting them back on again any time soon... Ugh. /rant

But the lights magically came on tonight (I say magically bc they only worked hours after the poor trainers gave up and cancelled their lessons on the first dry day in a week) and riders were out to capitalize. This included three kids (all also bareback bc why not?) and one boarder doing a ground work training session. 


 obligatory pommel shot

No big deal tho. Isabel went a couple laps to check everything out and decide if there were any monsters, and where they might be hiding. I just worried about situating myself on the bareback pad (after nearly eating it just trying to get on... #adultproblems). 

But the pad was shockingly sticky. Like, I seriously felt GLUED to it - and the pad itself was anchored in place on Isabel's back. This may seem like an exaggeration - but I felt more secure on that pad (in knee patch breeches) than I do riding in a saddle with out stirrups. Crazy. 

'what was that noise?'

This meant that I actually felt secure enough to try and get some real trot work out of Isabel. Usually when I'm bareback I don't really try for 'work' from the horse, bc I feel so insecure that I'm too likely to balance and/or pull on my reins - not ideal for helping the horse move out correctly. But with this pad? No problemo! 

So off we went, just trot trot trotting around every which way. It was kinda awesome! I could really feel my hips and seat relax, and my thighs could actually really lengthen and act as part of my seat. In a saddle I usually end up pinched in my knees or braced in my stirrups (or both!) - so it was really cool to completely change that, while still feeling secure. 

I also noticed that my upper body was seriously collapsing on me tho. Every few steps I had to remind myself to sit up and back, and to pick my hands up.  

'eh nvm, it's probably fine'
(also - yes that's isabel's winter coat and no, she's not clipped)

So I'm thrilled with how well the bareback pad worked for me - and definitely plan to do this more often. (I know I've said that before, but I mean it this time, I swear!) 

Our ride was cut a tad short tho bc the kiddos left the arena and - even tho another horse was still present - the monsters started coming out. Isabel had been working pretty well to this point, so I just aimed at restablishing calm forward niceness at walk and trot after some spooks turned into canters that turned into llama jigs... 


'what do you have against llamas???'

Once I felt like we could get back to work in earnest (if I had wanted to), we chilled in the middle for a while snapping photos and chatting with the boarder working on groundwork, then called it a night. 

24 comments:

  1. What a good idea to add the half pad. It looks comfy! Glad you guys had a successful bareback ride!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it went so much better than i expected!!!

      Delete
  2. Yay for pony time, sounds like fab fun with the bareback pad.
    Kika knows all about the drama llama and agrees with Miss Izzy - there be monsters everywhere!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. seriously lol!! and naturally it was only in one location, when we tracked left. tracking right? nbd. silly mares....

      Delete
  3. I love riding bareback, I do that at least once a week. Back when I hated Phoenix's saddle, almost every ride was bareback, lol. Interestingly I've never had rub issues with two different bareback pads. I use a thinline bareback pad currently which has built in non-slip on the bottom and thinline material on top. There are some awesome bareback pads out there!
    Sidenote - I miss being at a barn with lights outside! Although I couldn't go without an indoor where I live.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i've heard great things about thinlines!! my pad is unfortunately an old beat up find from the consignment store. seems to work tho! and yea i definitely love the outdoor arena (with lights pls!!) but am missing an indoor now lol

      Delete
  4. Lol llama jig...I love that! I have the same struggle when riding bareback (or no stirrups) with my upper body collapsing. I just really have to keep focusing on it to keep myself from doing it, but I've gotten a lot better lately! Keep with it! I love bareback and I think it's great for your seat, leg, and confidence!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i agree completely! i wonder why the collapse is more pronounced without stirrups... i guess bc bracing on the stirrups keeps everything more put together?? anyways, more bareback rides are definitely on the agenda!!

      Delete
  5. i really want a bareback pad! i have a training saddle (to school racehorses in the paddock with) that i use as a bareback pad but i don't feel secure at all and don't usually do much. if i had a decent pad i'd wtc and jump. HAVE to have a pad too because of killer shark fin withers.............

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea shark fin withers are noooo good! and security is pretty key - with this pad i actually think i would be ok for cantering and jumping (if the footing were better and there were no monsters lol). in any case, i found the pad at a consignment store for $11... so they're out there!!

      Delete
  6. Oh my god that llama...lolololol

    Sounds like an awesome bareback ride! I love it when you can feel yourself relax and use your legs and seat better! What a good feeling!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it was definitely a good feeling - one i'm looking forward to translating into muscle memory!! and that llama may or may not be my phones background right now lol

      Delete
  7. I am (clearly) a huge fan of riding bare back! I think it does wonderful things for your seat and leg, and really helps you develop a good feel for your horse and how they move!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Llamas all day! I am not brave enough to google the title of this post, but I can see you you mean by interesting google hits ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahahaha yea... i googled it, and then immediately deleted my browser history and bleached my eyes. just sayin :)

      Delete
  9. Ooh you make me want to ride bareback really badly! I'm in the same boat as you with letting my upper body collapse, but it helps my balance so much when I sit up and drop my leg down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh do it!! it was amazing to me to realize how much i'm balancing in my stirrups vs using my core to stay upright... def needs more work!

      Delete
  10. You're making me want to nix the saddle next ride as well. Also, yay for functioning lights!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yay for functioning lights indeed!! it seems like the saga that never ends.... and definitely go for the bareback ride! it was enlightening :)

      Delete
  11. Ahaha that llama! Your bareback setup looks so comfortable! I usually grab a saddle pad and then when it slides back I have to grab it and hop forward to get it back in the middle of his back. Classiness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! i was really pleased with how this setup worked out - until it gave my mare welts... whomp whomp

      Delete
  12. Great idea to use the halfpad! I need to get a bareback pad I think. I love riding bareback and I feel just as comfortable bareback as I do in a saddle, unless we are making sharp turns at high speeds haha. I bet having a pad like that would make it more comfortable for him though and the extra stickiness definitely doesn't hurt! I'm glad you had a fun ride and that the lights worked for you. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The stickiness DEFINITELY helps me lol. I really don't feel very secure bareback, tho I guess practice makes perfect

      Delete