As I rode Austin the other day (two days after our little tumble), I felt myself uncharacteristically whining about riding. This is haaaaard ... Normally, I relish hard; I thrive on the challenge. I even have a hard time getting off my horses because I like riding so much.
When riding Austin, I time my rides as I don't want to over-do anything. I set my watch's chronograph: we walk for five minutes to start, then we do thirteen minutes of walk/trot work, all of which is followed by two minutes of walking to cool down. It's a twenty minute workout.
Those first five minutes are fine, but somewhere during that thirteen minutes of dang this hurts, things start to well, HURT. I am not going to lie. Sometimes I sneak some walking into those thirteen minutes. If I don't, I really think I might die of some weird muscle spasm.
Thinking that I needed to stretch out my tense and cramped legs, I took the stirrup leathers off my saddle completely. I love that I can get on Speedy after two weeks of just hand walking and two short lunge sessions without even batting an eye at riding without stirrups. He's a total rock star.
The instant my butt settled into that buttery soft buffalo leather, I gave an audible moan of happiness. The bliss! I dropped my legs down along Speedy's sides and reveled in the deliciousness of a long and draped leg. Heaven!
I don't know that Speedy was all that enamored with the return to work, but I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Sorry, ladies, but I really don't see a switch to the h/j side of things in this girl's future!
It's been three days of no stirrup bliss. If you would have suggested that riding with no stirrups would ever feel good, I would have laughed derisively at you and thrown tomatoes or something. But being without stirrups did feel better than cranking my knees and hips into such an unnatural and painful contorted position that those jumping saddles require.
And lest you think that all I did was tootle around swinging my legs in joy, I should point out that I've been working on my sitting trot (still horrible) and canter departures. Even without stirrups, it was still more comfortable than riding in a jumping saddle. For the clinic, I will definitely have my stirrup leathers back in place, but for the next day or so, I am working on stretching out my kinked-up legs.
Yah for no stirrups! Feel free to call me crazy.