I’ve only been home two days this week, so I’ve been cramming and jamming to get ready to leave again, this time for 5 days of R&R with Rich on the west coast. We’re headed to Portland to visit my father at his river-front downtown condo, then we’ll head to the Oregon coast for a couple nights at the beach. There probably won’t be a lot of sunning and swimming at the beach—more on the order of sitting by the cozy fireplace and reading and watching the fog roll in. But we’ll enjoy it for sure. It’s a good time to be gone because we are in the middle of a remodel on our house and are living in the bunkhouse.
My riding time with Dually has suffered this week, partly because I’ve been gone so much and partly because he twisted one of his sliders so there was not much serious riding I could do. Thankfully my farrier made time to come fix it last night—just in time for me to be gone again.
I did ride him the two days I was home this week, but since I couldn’t ask too much of him because of his sprung shoe, I decided to ride bareback. It’s a good thing to do every now and then. When was the last time you rode bareback?
Until Dually hurt his back last fall, I probably hadn’t ridden bareback in over 20 years. At least not ridden more than a walk bareback—and it was a real eye-opener for me—I just thought my balance was good! I rode all winter bareback—partly to help Dually heal from his injury. I knew I wouldn’t over-stress his back doing big athletic moves while riding bareback. Also, since we were relegated to the indoor for 5 months and my riding needed the tune-up, it seemed like the right thing to do.
Recently, I hauled Dually to Denver for the expo there and that was the first time in five months I rode him in a saddle. I realized, too late, that I should’ve saddled him once before my demo—he was a little froggy! But after a couple crow hops, he was back to his good ole’ self.
The past two days of bareback have been a good reminder that the occasional tweak to my riding that I can get from riding bareback is a good thing. And Dually always enjoys a mellow work out. I think we’ll do that more often. The bonus is you don’t have to huck your saddle! Plus, it has given me an idea for recording some more audios for mounted workouts. With any luck, maybe I can get that done by the end of the year—along with all my other projects!
I started riding bareback a couple of years ago because I felt like I was becoming too dependent on the saddle and was bracing myself in the stirrups. Not only is it nice in that it only takes seconds to get ready to ride, but that it forces you to concentrate on everything you do. I now find that riding in a saddle is cumbersome and I don’t feel like I have any contact with Estes. Did you feel that way once you started riding Dually in a saddle again?
I also attribute all of the bareback riding I did two summers ago to saving my butt last summer when the horse I was riding totally lost it on the trail and reared up (I thought he was going to go over on me and so did the wrangler from another ride who saw the whole thing). If I hadn’t done all of that bareback work, I know I would have been bracing myself in my stirrups and ended up under a panicked horse instead of being able to stay balanced and get him back under control.
I think that bareback riding is becoming a lost art and that a lot of riding instructors are over-looking the importance of being able to stay on a horse without a saddle.