Monday, March 2, 2009

Saturday's bareback ride

I mentioned in Saturday's post that I managed to get in a short bareback ride. We didn't do all that much, but I guess it's the small battles that are important, right?

First of all, I almost didn't ride because it was windy. Not super crazy windy, but it was definitely windy. I still feel somewhat precarious on his bare back, so I'm hesitant to ride without a saddle when there's a chance he might jump or bolt — and I really didn't have the time to tack up.

But although he was quite ornery, Panama wasn't being jumpy at all, so I decided to ride after all. He did fine, too — he even stood still when I mounted by climbing the fence and practically vaulting onto his back (since he won't stand close enough to the fence from me to simply climb on).

Again, we practiced a lot of walking and framing up. The barn owner was mucking, and dumping the bucket into the dumpster makes some noise, which made Panama a little tense and extra-alert; however, I had him walk back and forth across the pasture while that was going on, so that he could keep the dumpster in his sights, and he seemed okay with it that way.

We also practiced a few more turns on the forehand, just like we had last time I rode him bareback. He's doing those beautifully, with just a couple of mistakes.

The halts are rather less than spectacular. Apparently the last thing Panama wants to do is stop moving once he's already in motion. I'm working on making sure I'm sitting back and down enough when I ask him to whoa, so that my body language and commands aren't sending mixed signals.

And of course, I also worked more on sitting back and relaxing a little on the walk, and not gripping so hard with my thighs. Apparently I'm getting better at this, because my legs were not nearly as sore when I finished riding, even though I'm sure we rode for about the same length of time!

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