Saturday 18 February 2017

A Wee Bit Ta Clarity

(The above title written in my best scottish accent, look oot Outlander  ;)

My office mate in my day job has the strongest Scottish accent I've heard.  He's a very nice man, so we're definitely guilty at times of chatting far more than we should, particularly considering we're both overloaded with projects.

We get along well, and I enjoy working with him. After a year, I can now hear the difference between beagle and bugle and bagel. (We had a funny conversation about foxhunting months ago, me wondering why on earth he thought I needed to take bagels ;) But, I have to admit, when someone else comes in to discuss a project, oftentimes my first instinct is, "Whoa,  they are so easy to understand!" I guess even though we sometimes chat the day away and I'm not consciously noticing the accent,  my brain is still using energy to "translate" on the fly, even though technically we're both speaking the same language (me much less poetically, of course.)

I'm biased, but B might be cuter than ever right now.

What does this have to do with horses, you ask?

Bear with me.

As you know, B's cough returned this past week. The vet has yet to come, but I still wanted to to try to get Bridget out for a walk today rather than having her stand around.  As you also know, we're currently in saddle purgatory. Thinking we were just going to wander around, I just put a bridle on her and decided to hop on bareback. A barnmate suggested borrowing her bareback pad, which made sense because I needed to go grocery shopping later :)

So, I hopped on. And Bridget instantly marched off, happy and in front of my leg. Obviously she was happy to get out, so I felt good about my choice to let her stretch her legs a bit. I also felt really comfortable. I think on some level I've been fighting the various saddles a bit, so it was super to be able to just let my legs hang where they wanted to go and sit where it felt comfortable.

B's cough was quite minor today, so I'm hopeful the hay soaking is going to help. Since she was feeling great in walk, we moved up to trot. And it was amazing.  So we cantered, and did transitions and just generally played with all the things in an easy and fun way. B was relaxed and happy and soft the entire time. Lateral work was no big deal, coming back and going forward in the trot brought no loss of contact or balance. She was working really well and in such balance that even though I had no saddle it was the easiest ride I think I've ever had on her. I didn't need my stick at all, and I could have left the spurs off. She was responsive and with me the entire time. Magic. I didn't want to get off.
Still sassy, tho

So, back to the wee language barrier thing. I think the saddles we've been using have been contributing to our own version of that. Without the saddle, there is no compensating or translation. We can have our discussions directly. No need for us to repeat ourselves, very few misunderstandings, and nearly instant comprehension and action. We were due for a good ride, so I'm not going to say the lack of saddle worked a miracle. I also didn't make her work very hard, so avoided any arguments there! I do think that our little adventure was very helpful in adding a bit of clarity as to where some of our problems stem from, and also some ideas as to what we'd both prefer in a new saddle (I think we're officially minimalists!).

So, for the foreseeable future, you will find me reenacting my childhood and cruising around on my pony without a saddle. So much fun, highly advise if you're feeling a little burnt out in your regular routine or your horse needs a bit of a time out from "real" work :)



  1. That's such good news! I've decided to make at least one or two bareback rides a thing for my horses. It's good for my seat too! :)

  2. Love this!! SO glad you got in a positive ride. Soon I'll be putting a post up about the good riding bare back all winter has done for me!

  3. I love riding bareback! I don't think my current horse has ever been ridden bareback and I need to set aside a day to fix that, I just had to wait til I moved him to a barn with an enclosed riding space because I know he will be very very surprised. And I am not entirely sure how he'll react.

  4. Bareback riding is great!!

  5. Ha that's awesome!!! Sounds like a great and reassuring ride! I ended up having to ride bareback for a couple weeks while Isabel had strange welts in her girth area, and the resulting experiences were very much part of what led me to go saddle shopping. Suddenly my position was better! My horse did (somewhat) less porpoising!! It was a miracle lol!