Monday, August 9, 2010

“Grab life by the reins.” ~Anonymous

. . . and some times a bit of mane too.

I will get back to IR in a bit right now I just have so share something.

I did something I never thought I would do again. I rode bareback in a halter.


I went out to the barn today and Corrie seems a bit sluggish today, I thought about not riding but Sensei said I really should do something because she needs the exercise. I hemmed and hawed until he suggested I ride bareback with a halter. Then I slammed on the brakes and came up with a dozen excuses. I think I got played in the next few moments, because all of a sudden I am walking to the arena with only a halter and lead. . . oh and in the halter was Corrie, of course.

After crawling up the pipe fence, I slid on and was holding on to the mane as tight as I could. Corrie just walked around. I had only the lead, I didn’t have it tied up like a set of reins, so steering was a bit of a challenge. I would flip the lead over her head, but I was a bit terrified of doing this so she just kind of did more of what she wanted than what I wanted. As I got more comfortable I actually started holding her mane less and less. Sensei would look over the arena gate from time to time; mostly to tell me to breath. I keep forgetting to do that.

I NEVER thought I would be able to feel a horse like that again. Just feel the muscles moving. Feel the rolling and the movement of her back. Feel the heat and even the sweat. I remembered all these feels again. I was so happy! There is something so special about the feeling of riding without a saddle.

Sensei came back in and warned me that he was going to be running some horses up to the barn and so I hopped off while he did that. Before I hopped back on, I tied the lead like a rein. When I went to get back on, I had to crawl up a panel fence again. Corrie normally is really good about this but she swung her butt out and started to back, I yelled at her to stop. Sensei peeked over the arena gate door when he heard me.

“You’re pulling on her.”

I was thinking: “She started it!” Instead of saying that, I tried to figure out something else, but I am on top of the fence and trying to not let go. I am trying to figure out how to not pull, not let go of the lead, and not fall off the fence. That was a lot of figuring for a few moments time!

“You’re still pulling on her.”

I made a few adjustments. I stopped pulling, she stopped pulling. Amazing! Yes, I knew that would happen.

“Now what are you going to do?”

I am still on the fence, one hand on the lead. Corrie is no where near me. “Are you going to tell me or do I have to figure it out?”

“I would prefer you figure it out.”

Like I didn’t know that answer was coming. Sensei never stops teaching: be it a student or a horse. I mean it, from the time he slips a halter on the horse he is training all the way up to the barn. Likewise, if he thinks I should be leading, haltering, standing next to my horse in a different manner, I hear about it. And I better have a good reason for what I am doing. Sensei told me in my last lesson, “I don’t care if you do it right or wrong as long as you can confidently tell me why your doing what you are doing.” So as Corrie was standing several feet from me with her butt swung out away from me, I sat there a moment trying to figure out what Sensei would do.

I could have solved this problem easily, but I am trying to learn how to not only solve the problem at hand but train the horse as to what is expected in the future. We sorted things out and I slipped on again with a few instructions about what I did right and wrong. I really like that. Feedback is so important to learning.

Sensei brought out a haffie he has in for training after I assured him I would be fine. I learn so much from just watching him, and I was still just walking around anyway. I am amazed at not only how well he works with the horse, but at the same time he is working with me. I asked him at one point, as he was working the gelding closer to me that I would have preferred, if what he was doing was for the gelding’s benefit or mine.

“Both, and breath.” Typical.

By now I have let go of the mane almost completely. I am able to steer pretty well. I walked around for about an hour. My inner thighs are starting to sting too. What a great feeling! I really didn’t want to get off but I had something to do that I couldn’t blow off, trust me, I really wanted to.

I can not believe I rode bareback today. I honestly can not believe it even now. Well, then I get and walk across the room and my muscles remind me. What a day! What a great ride! Some days are just like that!


  1. That's something I haven't done in awhile. It's so good for your seat and posture.

  2. Bareback is cool! I only rode bareback from the time I started riding as a small child until I was in my late teens. I don't do it much now - too old and my mare Maisie doesn't much like it when I do (besides she's 16.2 or so and getting on and off is difficult). But my younger daughter only rides Dawn bareback, including galloping on the trails!

    I like your Sensei - he reminds me a lot of Mark Rashid. Wish I lived closer so I could come meet him.

  3. You're inspiring me - I know I need to ride bareback because it does help you get connected to the horses' movement.

    Sensei is quite a gift in your journey with horses...

  4. You are pretty lucky to have Sensei around for you, it seems like hes just the right person you need.
    I rode bareback once last winter and I should do it more often, I just end up slipping to the side and falling off, lol.

  5. Bareback! Wooohooo! Good for you, it seems like you're having lots of fun lately. That's quite an accomplishment.

  6. Congrats! Thats a big leap for you.
    I love riding bareback. You should get a natural ride bareback pad. I love mine. It has a big gullet so it cannot slide around but if you need to you can hang on.


Thank you so much for your positive comments. I love you hear from you!