Friday, January 7, 2011

Preparing for the Saddle

While I wait for my saddle to cross the country by truck, I've been making preparations. January is officially "No Stirrups Month" and I have totally removed my stirrups from my saddle. Although I rode regularly up until Thanksgiving, December was so awful and blustery that I gave it up entirely. Now Grey and I are back to a 3 day a week routine albeit in the confines of our 50x50 foot indoor area. That gets pretty boring pretty fast, not to mention hard on the joints, so to make each short ride count more, I've ditched my stirrups entirely. I still start with one hand on the grab strap, mostly to stop my hands (and then shoulders) from raising but I've stopped waddling around and am back to full weights at the gym. The first episode hurt for several days. It was the middle of the third ride before my balance improved enough to let go of the grab strap. In my own defense, it is only 17 degrees in the barn and despite my insulated breeches, there is a layer of "freeze" on my legs that is not present in the summer!

This has an added benefit. Besides strengthening my legs, and improving my balance, Grey and I get to work through his urge to take advantage of a loose seat or any movements that are out of the ordinary. He has a rather evil sense of humor when he feels me loosen up, and is overall a rather silly guy. Now and then I try bareback, but it can get a little tricky.

Up until I was in my late teens, and got into Saddlebred show horses exclusively, I rode bareback a LOT. The horse is not as wide as I remember.

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