All of my work at the walk has been bareback, and even though Dr. Tolley cleared him for regular work, I kept riding bareback at the trot. It helped me avoid doing too much work, and frankly, I need all the help developing my seat that I can get. But since I can't stay bareback forever, I finally put a saddle on Speedy earlier this week.
As soo as I put my feet in the stirrups, I realized they were too short. They're the same length I ride in when I get on Sydney, but after being on Speedy for so many rides with my legs hanging straight down, I knew I needed to take off my stirrups. I am so glad I did!
For our second saddle with no stirrups ride, I started to ask for a bit more forward in the trot. Unfortunately, I can't do a rising trot in my saddle without the stirrups (although I can get pretty close bareback) so I have to do a sitting trot. My sitting trot has not been all that great. I don't feel too bad about it though as this is an issue for all lower level riders.
At the slowest trot, it's no big deal, but as I asked for more impulsion, I realized that I needed to help Speedy out by learning the feel of the sitting trot ASAP. I tried thinking of pedaling a bike backwards, having spaghetti legs, or being made of jello. All of those things made me a bit stiffer. Suddenly, I remembered something Christian had said to me a few months back, sit up tall!
All of a sudden, I had it. When I sat up and opened my chest (not with a hollowed back), I cold feel my seat "engage and start talking" to Speedy. Speedy kicked his butt into gear and got off his forehand. It was the most glorious feeling. I laughed out loud and simply enjoyed the sensation. I asked for more and more forward and felt his back come up beneath me.
As we were tracking right, we're still just sticking to the 20-meter circle or 10-meter figures for now, I asked for a bit too much and Speedy rolled into a pretty nice canter. It was the first time he's cantered since February. I couldn't believe how balanced we both were. He hasn't carried a rider at the canter in months, and I had no stirrups. I wanted to just ride it all day long, but out of concern for his soundness and lack of conditioning, I brought him back to a trot.
It was the most fun I've had in a long time. Eventually, I am going to have to start riding him fully tacked up, but my riding-halter, bareback, introduce the bridle, saddle with no stirrups plan is definitely achieving what I had hoped it would.
We're heading to the cabin for the rest of the weekend so I won't see you until Monday. Have a great weekend!