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Back in the Saddle Again

26 November 2012 Comments

My surgery was a little over a month ago, and I’m back to a fairly normal schedule at work now.

This is about the time I planned to start handwalking Ro. The idea was more to get me out and moving than anything. Ground work is my weak spot, no question about it, so I wasn’t fooling myself that it would help Ro much.

Unfortunately I keep forgetting to bring my iPod from work, and handwalking without music is one of the first circles of Hell.

So Saturday I decided to hop on bareback.

If you think riding bareback for the first time post surgery on a horse who has been out of work for a month is nuts, allow me to explain.

Ro is one of those horses who may need a day or two to adjust when coming back in to work, but no more than that. I did handwalk her once, and she was just fine. I wasn’t at all worried about her brain.

She also knows that a bareback day = an amble around for a bit and quit early day. I figured she’d be happy to amble around without doing much, and I wouldn’t be tempted to overdo things and start trotting, as I might have with a saddle. (I have no confidence in my ability to ride faster than a walk bareback.)

That worked fine on Saturday.

Today, Ro was feeling good and I was feeling pretty relaxed, so I asked for a few walk/trot transitions. I’m braver than I thought, I guess.

I didn’t faceplant, so now we’re changing plans again.

We’re going to start going to work on our bareback rides—over poles, transitions within the walk, lateral work, etc. Emphasis on keeping Ro connected and working; emphasis on keeping my position strong and not letting my upper body creep forward. When things are good, we’ll add in walk/trot transitions, with emphasis on good, connected transitions up and down. As we gain strength and I sort out my seat/confidence at the trot, we’ll build in more trot work. And, eventually, canter. Maybe.

For both our sakes, we’re going to alternate these rides with lunging/handwalking. Lunging to get Ro fit, handwalking to get me fit.

I think this is my plan for December, and in January we’ll go back to riding with a saddle and really go to work. If I do it right, we should both be fit enough by that point to jump right in with all six feet and not look back.

Tagged: Horses, Horses - Ro, Riding, Riding - Bareback

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