Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Withers are NOT a girl's friend

I meant to ride Sunday, and then yesterday, but the soonest I could seem to find the time was today.  We had our 6-year-old nephew over Friday and Saturday, and required Sunday to recuperate!  And then yesterday I had work to do...  You know how it goes.

Anyway, this evening I tried out a bareback pad that Spaghetti's owner is lending me.  She is blessed with a rounder horse than mine, and probably a better sense of balance on his back, so she doesn't often use it.  Panama is difficult though because he's so little — standard bareback pads don't fit him.  Tonight I had this one tightened up as far as it could go, and it was still a little looser than I'd like.  Now that I know I like riding with a pad, I'll have to try to find one with a smaller seat and girth.

The pad made a world of difference — it was a suede pad, so it made it slightly easier to stick.  The real advantage though was that I didn't feel like my bony parts and Panama's bony parts were constantly making contact.  I think he thought it was better, too — usually, after a lap or so of trotting, he slows to a walk on his own, but this time he was open to trotting a little longer.  I think that's a good sign that riding bareback without a pad is a bit uncomfortable for him, and the pad fixed it.

Even with the pad, though, the withers were a bit uncomfortable.  We did lots of trotting, and toward the end I was feeling a bit raw in front.  It may have something to do with the nylon strap and trim that is right in that general area between his withers and my, ah, crotch.  Nylon straps don't provide much padding.

I think there is also something to be said for me needing more practice riding bareback.  I seem to remember, when my trainer gave me a few bareback trotting lessons on her horse a few years ago, that after a few times I stopped getting so sore from that contact.

Now that I have a pad, though, I do plan on riding bareback a little more frequently.  Maybe I can even learn at some point how to haul myself up without a mounting block!

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