Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bareback butt-steering

Last night I discovered I can steer Panama with my butt.  Pretty damn well, too.

A book I've been reading, Enlightened Equitation, talks about steering by weighting the front of the seat bone in the direction you want to go (without leaning forward, of course).  I decided to try it out next time I rode bareback, which I did last night.

I was actually amazed how well it worked.  With no other cue than just weighting my seatbone — no rein, no leg — I could not only turn him, but specify how tight or wide the turn should be.  I have to make sure I don't lean, of course, but riding bareback tends to prevent me from doing too much of that anyway.

That gave me an idea, and I decided to find out how much else I could do with my butt.  Back up?  Sure.  It took a few tries for him to figure out what I was asking, but I figured out that by sort of digging my butt in, I could get him to back (with crazy ears on me the whole time, like he was saying, What the HELL is Mom doing NOW?).

Stopping him with my butt is more difficult — we'll need some more practice.  The book says to tighten your butt muscles downward, but I found it was all too easy to tighten the legs too when I did that, which of course signals the opposite of stopping.  I'll have to work on that one some more next time.

Not that I need to be too worried about stopping bareback.  The half-halt still needs a little work, but it's getting much better.  Everything else is great and only takes the barest whisper of cues when I'm bareback.  He easily breaks to a walk, or even goes from a trot to a complete halt in just a few steps.

I'm feeling good enough about it that I might try cantering him bareback soon.  I thought about it last night, but it was an uncharacteristically busy night for a 9:30pm ride.  All the night owls showed up on the same night, and as a result there were four of us in the indoor arena (which is fairly small).  Usually it's just me and my husband, so I wasn't willing to attempt a canter with so many distractions!

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2 Comments:

At September 20, 2011 at 7:11 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Interesting. I'll bet your butt got quite a workout. Maybe you could start an exercise class on bareback butt-steering for movie stars who have to keep their hinies fine.

 
At September 20, 2011 at 10:27 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

LOL, NM! That makes me think of those silly riding machines that people think are going to help them tone their legs, butt, and abs. I always want to point out that riders are toned because riding is damn hard work, and requires a lot of leg and core strength just to stay on. Can't duplicate that with a machine, no way.

 

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