Thursday, June 12, 2008

Like a Monkey on a Pogo Stick

Well, time to change Hormonal Mare’s name to Crippled Mare. Actually, she is doing much better. She is still tender, but is able to stay off bute without being hopping lame as she was 2 weeks ago. In fact, she moves sound on soft ground and only shows slight tenderness over hard surfaces. I rode her for the 2nd time today (2nd time in the past 2 weeks). Both times we rode bareback. I must have been a real sight to see.

Bareback is so friggin’ hard. I have not ridden bareback in over a year. The first time we rode, this previous Tuesday, I could hardly stay balanced and was all over the poor horse’s back. She was very tolerant of my fat butt sliding all over, so I was pleased with her. We are only doing walk/jog bareback for right now. My poor muscles cannot handle anything harder.

Several times I felt like I was about to slip over her side. Every time we turned, my upper body went in the opposite direction. I have never felt so unbalanced in my life!! That ride really proved to me that I am seriously out of shape and need to get off my fat behind and do something about it. Really, it’s embarrassing to ride like monkey on a pogo stick. I’m sure my neighbors found it almost as amusing as the time I split my pants open (with no underwear on, no less).

Today, my second bareback ride in the past year, I was much better. Even after just Tuesday’s ride, my balance was amazingly improved. If any of you want to get superwoman strength and balance, try going bareback. It’s brutally painful at first, but it seems to get easier with each ride and your balance will improve drastically.

The only reason I quit riding bareback for the past year was because my previous 3 year old, a HUGE 16.2 hand AQHA gelding, hated bareback. His eyes would literally BULDGE out of his head and he’d basically go ballistic. Needless to say, NO bareback riding for fruit loop gelding.
Crippled Mare (hahaha, that really isn’t quite true, but its catchy sounding) is such a sweetie, bareback doesn’t faze her in the least. She stands like a statue to be mounted and does everything I ask calmly. The only attitude I got was my first bareback ride when I was sliding all over like ice cream on the frying pan. The swished her tail a bit, but that was it.

As far as the hoof, I now am 99.9% sure it is a nasty bruise and not an abscess. Since she is slowly, oh so slowly (think of melting ice in the Arctic), getting better than it must be a bruise. When she went pretty sound today, that really eliminated an abscess from my mind. The farrier comes back out on Tuesday, so hopefully we can get front shoes and maybe even pads on her. I am still undecided on the pads. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Crippled Mare stays somewhat sound and doesn’t go lame again. I actually like riding her and haven’t been too happy to be sitting on my couch the past 2 weeks. UGH!


cdncowgirl said...

Bareback is something I want to do but am pretty scared to try. I have pretty crappy balance for a rider. Thanks to the dumbass who pulled onto the highway and broadsided me (about 17 years ago and my body is still screwed upover it!)
Also trying to ride a skinny little OTTB mare bareback is like trying to ride a 2X4! Don't have that excuse now as we have a rather round little gelding I could take for a spin.

*fingers crossed* that CM's hoof is "just" a bruise and nothing more serious. Shoes can make a huge difference if that's the case.

bigredhorse said...

I too struggle w/bareback w/BRH. I've ridden my friends' Appy mare whose a DREAM bareback and do OK at the walk/jog, but w/him I'm not quite as confident and I think he can feel that and then reacts by crow hopping sometimes. I'm sure he's just reacting to my "clenched butt", but it still unsettles me a little. I really do need to work on that more.

I use a bareback pad and it helps A LOT! Just having that little bit of grip makes a big difference. I would definitely recommend that.

As far as a good exercise to help w/your seat/leg development, posting w/out stirrups is a great one. A wonderful exercise I read about on Julie Goodnight's web page is posting trot and building up in increments.

Let's see if I can explain this: post for 1, sit for 2, post for 1 sit for 3...etc. Build this up to 6 then work back down. Then alternate and post for 1 sit for 1, post for 2 sit for 1 and so on up to 6 then work back down. It's a great exercise and alot harder than you'd think!

Laura said...

I'm with cdncowgirl - I should try bareback, but I'm chicken!

I rode bareback a bit as a kid, but I seem to remember falling off a fair bit...

cdncowgirl said...

The only horse I've ridden bareback and actually felt safe and comfy was a Percheron gelding.

It was awesome! His trot was so smooth and soft, it felt ike you were gliding.

Maybe Mae said...

I'm totally with you on the bareback thing? When I was a kid/teen, I went through this huge bareback stage. I almost exclusively rode my Arab mare bareback. She had a comfy back and smooth strides, so it was nice. I rode bareback on the trail, in the ring, etc. and could go forever at the posting trot bareback. Now years have passed and I tried to ride the mare I'm leasing now bareback. I think I actually believed some of those skills from my younger years would have remained with me. HA HA HA. I was totally unbalanced and felt like a watermelon on her back. Plus, she's kind of a narrow horse and it wasn't super comfortable. I couldn't even really trot because I was worried I'd fall off.

But your blog inspired me and I might at least try it again sometime soon. :)

3maresforme said...

Not that I have soooo much experience that I think I can help anyone, but....
Bareback got a lot easier when I spent a solid 30 minutes jogging around the arena turning, going straight, just moving the whole time, trying to glue my seat to my girl's back, and thinking "lengthen your legs" not "grip like you might fall." Really, it worked like a dream. Imagine the inside of your leg growing downward as if you had weights in your heels. You will stop using your legs like a vice and you will find you are so much better balanced!

amarygma said...

My horse is so cinchy he gets pissy over a bareback pad! I was like Oh is that killing you?

cdncowgirl said...

Stacy Westfall had a good article on riding bareback, I believe it was in Horse & Rider.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

The VLC is fine bareback but he's such a wide, round load that I don't feel comfortable riding him bareback. I like a little more narrow conformation for that, even if it does mean withers to avoid!

I will have to get over it though. When we go to silly open shows, I want to do bareback equitation. It used to be my best class - the one thing I would always win. I want to get back to that point!