Tuesday, December 16, 2014

bareback lesson bc why not

The welts on Isabel's side from the bareback pad girth grew a little larger on the second day - prompting concerns about hematomas. But we put some heavy duty ointments on them to draw out the swelling and they were very much reduced by Saturday morning. 

But I still didn't want to put a girth on Isabel in case the swelling came back. So I texted trainer P asking if she thought I should just sit out on the lesson or ride bareback. She obviously said to come ride bareback, so off we went! 


We kept things pretty simple, for my own sake. Plus I buckled an old stirrup leather around Izzy's neck as an 'oh shit' strap and used my no-slip half pad for a little extra grip and cushioning. It was sooo much fun! 

P had to prod me to actually get Isabel working over her back while flatting - saying that not having a saddle was no excuse for not working properly. And we actually had some verrrry nice moments at trot! Canter was ok-ish, tho I got pretty tired during the second canter and quit early lol...  



The transitions - particularly downward - were the most worrisome for me, so P recommended that I pay close attention to each footfall and to ask for my downward when her outside hind hit the ground. Then the next beat would be inside hind and outside front - which is also a natural part of the trot, so the transition could happen very smoothly without that fast disorganized trot. Good food for thought!


For jumping, I just kept a hold of the oh shit neck strap and let Isabel do the work. I think she was pretty happy to have me let go of her mouth a bit lol. I also learned that jumping from a trot is much harder than jumping from a canter. 



Isabel made things pretty easy for me - and was moving forward nicely to make the striding no big deal. Tho she did have a few sassy moments - including head tossing and some dolphin leaps / fancy prancing after the lines. It was kinda funny - tho had she put her head down or twisted sideways I would have been a goner lol. 



But overall we just had a great time jumping little Xs while I tried not to fall off. It's interesting looking at some of these pictures video stills bc some elements of my position are better than they normally would be with a saddle. 



Particularly, my lower leg was very well-behaved during the ride and stayed in its place. I'm thinking that I really do brace hard on my stirrups and use my heels for leg rather than my calf. I will have to pay closer attention in the future. 



In any case, it was also a good confidence booster bc I had previously felt too insecure and unstable to do any serious riding bareback. But now I know that the half pad and stirrup leather around the neck are pretty much all I need to feel ok about things. And it was definitely good practice to get my core and leg muscles working properly without being dependent on a saddle. 

We unfortunately only got a couple jumps on video, and none of the dolphin leap excitement... but it's still fun to watch (for me, at least). 

enjoy!

36 comments:

  1. You guys are awesome!! That is the way to do it, life giving you lemons and you made lemontinis!!

    You did say the H word....

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    1. lol lemontinis -yum! and yea.... i did say the H word, but only bc we're about 99.9% positive that's not what's going on - thank god!!

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  2. Emma you look a MILLION TIMES MORE BALANCED bareback!!! I think your saddle/stirrups are contributing to most of your position issues... you look fabulous in these pics & video!! :D

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    1. thanks - and isn't it crazy how different it looks??? and it felt totally different too... might need to start thinking more seriously about other saddle options bc clearly something isn't working lol

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  3. You look awesome!!! LOVE the second to last photo.

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  4. Wow! You looked so secure and balanced. My leg muscles were burning just imagining doing a lesson like that..:P

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    1. thanks! i was actually less sore than i expected, but the burn was definitely happening lol

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  5. I agree with everyone else - your position looks incredible!

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    1. thanks! isabel kept it very easy for me, so i didn't have to actually work very hard during the ride. always a bonus!

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  6. Your position is awesome! Way to rock the bareback lesson.

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    1. thanks! not sure i would have been able to do it even six months ago, so i'm pretty pleased :)

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  7. Your position looks really good sans saddle!

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    1. thanks! it feels like my hard work is starting to pay dividends :)

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  8. All hail Emma, queen of the bareback lesson.

    I would've fallen off or something like 10 minutes in.

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    1. lol i have to give a lot of credit to izzy for being so comfortable and relatively point-n-shoot :)

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  9. Your leg looks amazing! Bareback lessons from now on :P

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    1. thanks! i'm actually a little nervous about how it'll feel getting back into a saddle - will i revert immediately or will my muscles remember??? idk...

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  10. this is so BA. I like to tempt fate and ride the dragon bareback every once in a while but jumping bareback??!...and killing it?! That's some next level stuff right there.

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    1. aw thanks! it was surprisingly easier than i expected - and much more so at the canter than at the trot (even tho i was more nervous at canter...). really, it's just the transitions that are tricksy

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  11. You have my infinite respect. No way I would have lasted an entire (jumping!) lesson bareback!

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    1. that's the nice thing about riding in a big-ish group - we had plenty of time to catch our breath between rounds :)

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  12. You look fantastic! And you had fun, which is always important!

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    1. thanks! and yes - fun is my objective numero uno :)

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  13. I think the definition of being brave is riding an Arabian bareback over fences! She's so springy and quick! Nice job, your position looks awesome :D

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    1. haha that's perhaps a little generous - isabel is a very VERY good girl - but thanks all the same :)

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  14. Good for you... not sure I would be brave enough to do an entire lesson bareback! Your lower leg looks GREAT over all of the jumps. Love your big smile at the end of the video too :-)

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    1. thanks! now if only i could recreate that lower leg with stirrups... :)

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  15. Awesome job! My bareback time is usually limited to just a tiny bit of flatwork or a lazy day hack...I haven't jumped bareback in way too long!

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    1. thanks! and now that i think about it this might be my first time jumping bareback... guess i'm usually just to nervous to try...

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  16. Trotting fences is so much harder than cantering, I always take an age to get my eye in & see my stride from trot. *LeGasp*
    I totes admire your leg and position for jumping without a saddle. Hope the burn hasn't been too awful since the lesson!
    I was so tempted to ride my girls bareback last night to putz around and not have to spend 30minutes tacking up then another 30 intact in - which would result in my only riding one. How come we spend more time getting ready to ride than actually in the saddle?!
    Although maybe I'm the only one who has this weird imbalance! *blush*

    However in the end I decided against rash behaviour as I have never 'ridden' Nancy bareback and have actually only sat on her bareback once which she didn't seem overly fond of that day, but perhaps I surprised her. Maybe in an arena setting it'd be less odd than randomly getting a notion outside the gate of her field one summers evening and asking my cohort to give me a leg up and remain on hand incase things ended badly for my poor life choice...I don't think I even asked her to take a step *shamefaced*
    And as i hadn't actually managed to sit on either girl in exactly a week I figured I'd best not play with fire and hope to make good life choices by starting back with tack first; -)

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    1. yea i always sorta knew that trotting in was harder - but that point was REALLY brought home bareback lol.

      re: riding bareback - isabel has been totally fine, but it did take me a while to find my 'sea' legs (the lesson was the 3rd bareback putz in a week, so the muscles were already a bit warmed up). so i'd definitely recommend waiting til you feel totally comfortable - whether that be after the girls have had some consistent work, or when you have a couple other riders around just in case...

      that said tho... it was FUN!! i definitely want to make it a regular thing, and would encourage others to do so as well :)

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  17. You guys look so awesome!!! My leg is better bareback too so maybe I'm bracing as well... hmm... I should seriously try a neck strap for riding bareback too.... or maybe even for cantering then I can't grab him in the face with that stupid knee jerk reaction... thanks for the idea!! Anyway I love those jumping pictures. :) Would you mind doing a post sometime on group lessons? I've only ever taken private dressage lessons so I don't know anything about group lessons, but I've been curious about them. :)

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    1. Yea I will definitely post about that. As someone who has never owned a horse, I have pretty much done ALL the lessons lol.

      And re: neck straps, my trainer actually requires that all riders have them while jumping. She rides prelim w them, and points out that William fox Pitt always has one too. Def useful to have around!!

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