Thursday, September 8, 2011

Panama takes me down a peg

My husband, Michael, took this entire week as vacation, so I haven't had as much time to ride as usual — between our plans and a new medical study I just started participating in at my doctor's office, we've been pretty busy.

I did manage to get out to the barn Tuesday evening for a little bareback ride, however.  It was raining a little bit that evening, but not hard.  Panama was a little jumpy when I was tacking him up, but I wasn't worried.

I didn't want to continue borrowing my friend's bareback pad, so I started out by trying to ride bareback without it.  I have been feeling much more secure bareback lately, and I figured maybe the pad has given me enough confidence to try riding without it for one night.  Unfortunately, Panama was feeling rather perky, and as I discovered, having developed better balance doesn't mean that Panama's back has stopped being narrow or slippery.  After we trotted once around the arena with me constantly having to alternate between asking him to slow down and pushing myself back off his withers, I gave up and decided to borrow the darned pad one last time.

And of course, once I had that pad, I stopped feeling like I was on a slip 'n' slide.  Just like magic, there was my balance again!  Panama calmed down after a few minutes and started trotting a little slower, too, which also helped.  He was a bit fired up, for sure, but I think he was also stiff and bouncy without the pad because me bouncing on his spine without the benefits of a pad isn't any more comfortable for him than it is for me, and as a result he hollows his back and speeds up, which of course just makes us both more uncomfortable.  Maybe someday we'll both be able to go bareback without the comfort and sticking power of a bareback pad...  But we're just not there quite yet!

As disappointing as it was to realize that I haven't actually gotten good enough to ride either comfortably or securely without the pad, I was quite thrilled at my sticking power when I've got that pad under my butt.  Panama was a bit fired up Tuesday night, and spooked once at something he thought he saw across the arena (nothing was there) — he didn't teleport sideways or anything, just slammed on the brakes from the trot, but I hardly budged.  Without that pad, I'm sure I would have been climbing off his neck — if not picking myself up from the ground!



At September 8, 2011 at 9:11 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

You really seem motivated to learn as much about horsemanship and equitation as possible. I suppose if I were younger, I'd try bareback. Well, I did ride on those bareback pads when I was a child, but things are different now.

At September 8, 2011 at 11:43 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM, I feel like many of my weaknesses as a rider (and, consequently, many of my falls) are due to my position, so you could say that I am motivated, yes. I almost always have a recent memory of a bruised bum (or other body part) driving said motivation. LOL

I have found that I really enjoy riding bareback, though. Panama isn't terribly comfortable without a good pad, which is why I've never done much of this before. I feel like both of us are more in tune with one another when I'm bareback, though -- he's more sensitive to my cues, and seems to be more careful with me in general.


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