I have been doing so much ground work with Cookie that I hadn't realized it's been since May that I have rode her. So today I thought I'd leg up and see where I was in my training.
Re-learning how to ride has been a challenge. The brain knows what to do, the body not so much. Even though I have been working hard to lose weight and get in shape, the muscles I'm using are different than those we ride with.
I have a 1/2 wall I use to mount Cookie. It's attached to another wall that is slightly higher and forms an upside down L. This is the right height for me to be able to swing my leg over without having to hop to get on. Thankfully she isn't any taller or I'd have issues. lol
I gave her a good brushing from head to tail, bitted her up with a D-ring snaffle and fitted the bareback pad to her. I noticed when I cinched her up she turned and looked at me. I don't know if there's a problem there or if she was just looking. I ran my hand down under the cinch and it was barely tight so I know it's not too tight for her, though it was too loose for my liking but I left it there anyways.
I lead her over to our mounting wall and brought her up to the proper position. This part she does fairly well, although she needed a small reminder. The second time of lining up was a charm. I swung my leg over and was getting settled in. Finding my balance and relaxing.
When she "thought" I was ready, she started to walk off. I caught the inside of my leg on that cement wall. Needless to say we need to work on Cookie's hearing. Whoa was not in her vocabulary this morning. <sigh>
When she stopped, I gathered myself, took a deep breath and relaxed. Then I picked up the reins just enough to make contact with her mouth and asked her for a walk. We did pretty well for the first minute or so. I was making my adjustments, relaxing my legs and trying to catch her rhythm in the walk so I could move with her and find my balance. We circled the back yard a few times and as we went under the pear tree, I knocked a pear down which landed with a very loud thud. Cookie hopped forward but stopped. It was a minimal hop thankfully. If she had really jumped forward or sideways, I'd probably be looking at that pear close up. lol
I didn't ride very long this morning. 5 minutes tops. I didn't want to overdo it for Cookie or myself and I was beginning to feel that spaghetti sense in my legs so I knew it was time to dismount before I was unable to walk. We walked over to the mounting wall. I had to back her up a step or 2 and asked her to side to the left. She did awesome! I'm so proud of her. I was able to step off just like I had gotten on.
I had to stand on the wall to get my legs as close to normal as possible so I wouldn't just fall down. When I get stronger, I will practice mounting and dismounting her in order to convey that she is to stand still until I ask her to move. We will be practicing this on the ground also, though she does pretty well from the ground. We're still going to practice standing still until asked to move.
I have a dream I would like to make a reality within 6 years. It involves riding across America on wild horses, so I've got to get my riding legs back on and re-learn muscle memory so I can be a more relaxed, confident rider without those wobbly legs.
I thought I should note also, the reason I am starting bareback is I don't have a saddle right now. Learning bareback first I think will help me in the long run because there's nothing to grab a hold of except the strap on the bareback pad or Cookie's mane. 2 things I choose not to grab a hold of. If I get nervous or really unsteady while riding, I'll take both hands and grab the front of the bareback pad for a few steps. This helps to steady me and I usually release after 3-4 hoof steps.
As my sister said to me recently... One day at a time! :)
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