Tonight was a fabulously playful ride. It was later in the day and I really wasn’t feeling like “training”. I went through my usual grooming routine and then moved on to a light lunge session. Lunging lately has become so boring. Athena is so good at it. She picks up each new gait on cue, drops down to a lower gait with an exhale and you can just see it all over her face… are we done yet? I got this. LOL
So after a few circles, mostly to be sure the sassy wiggles were out. I decided to bridle her up and go for a bareback ride. This was Athena’s, 6th bareback ride. I couldn’t be more proud. I got on with no issues and we walked off calmly. I had Nick hold her bridle so she didn’t trot off… but honestly I think it added more tension. We would have been just fine walking off on our own.
We walked around the arena first. I was definitely stiff and unsure, my legs off Athena’s side so not to provoke a faster speed. My uneasiness, made Athena a little stiff, but after a few laps we both were relaxing. In hindsight, out of a lack of trust I had my reins a little shorter than I probably should have… note to self… just relax. Trust her. She knows her role. Once I was feeling a little more comfortable we ventured out of the arena and over to the paddock. We wandered up and down and all around. I loosened a bit… and could very consciously tell when I was tipping forward with my pelvis. I could also feel Athena tense up when I tipped forward. Hmmm… I think this bareback riding is actually a really good thing that we should do more of.
It felt so good to play. To not be serious. To wander around feeling Athena’s movement… to feel us come together as a riding pair. To start tense, and to relax as we walked. To feel my own balance, in tune with Athena’s and then shift to the side and bring myself back to center. As we rode I found myself loosing my reins… but still unsure that was safe. I’m so proud of how far we have come. Tonights ride gave me the idea to do 100days of stirrupless riding, bareback riding. To work towards cantering bareback. Maybe we won’t do 100days consecutively… but I will be doing a lot more riding like this. It’s fun. It’s different and it’s brining Athena and I together in a totally different way.
I remember the first time I got on her bareback. She was so tense and stiff it was like trying to balance on a round ball, rolling back and forth. I could hardly touch her with my legs as she would scoot forward. Tonights ride was so far from that… and it’s only ride 6. I can’t wait to see how far we go in 100 days of bareback riding!