Confident Rider Challenge Day 19
Yes, this is day 19. I can’t believe it. 19 Days of videos, blog posts, and working with my horses. And today is a fun day for me to talk about with you because today we are talking about actually riding our horses! Yes, today is the day we are getting back in the saddle again!
Getting In The Saddle
This past week has been a roller coaster week for me. I have been working with Ethan, a lot, I got clearance to ride from the doctor, and Ethan had a minor setback. Actually, I should say, I had a setback. And I decided in order to be secure riding Ethan my first ride would be on Frisby, also known as old faithful.
Frisby is a fantastic horse for me, because he tends to be lazy. You really have to push him to get him going. By the time I am tired, Frisby is just getting warmed up and ready to go. So he is perfect for me to get back in the swing of riding. He is so quiet and calm (most of the time) that I can not work with him all winter long, and then just decide to go for a ride and he is ready to go. THAT is the kind of horse I love.
But Frisby is getting older, and I like him having his retirement, so even though he is a fantastic confidence booster, eventually Ethan will be the one I will be riding consistently. But for my now, until my confidence is in check, Frisby is the one I will be riding.
The First Ride
For the first ride, just getting back into the swing of things is important. Feeling your horse, how he is moving underneath you, where his feet fall while walking, trotting and cantering. Going with the movement of your horse instead of against it. Making sure your hands are quiet, and your seat is too. And we can’t forget our legs. Our heels need to be down, and our lower leg needs to be in slight contact with our horse’s sides.
The first ride will be to regain all of these skills. And probably working a lot slower than we may want to . But in my opinion, it’s better to go slow, and move up rather than jumping on and galloping off into the sunset, remember my movie analogy?
And for my first ride, after we get tacked up and walk to the arena, I spend a few minutes walking Frisby from the ground. I double check my girth, and make sure he will stand quietly next to the mounting block. And when he does this, then it’s time to get into the saddle.
Lots Of Walking
And then we walk some more. Ok, we walk a LOT more, in both directions before we begin to work on trotting. And while I am walking I focus on my legs, and making sure my heels are as low as they can be. I push my weight into my heels, while remembering to sit tall in the saddle.
To sit tall in the saddle, I try and stretch my shoulder up as tall as I can, while at the same time I am trying to being my shoulder bladed together in the back. My hands move with my horses mouth while I hold the riens at about his withers. This produces a nice bend in the elbow so I should have the shoulder, elbow, heel alignment that we are all told we need.
These are the things I concentrate on as we walk around the arena. And because I am more confident in my synthetic saddle, that is what I am using for this first ride.
I also have the video camera recording my ride, and I asked my husband to come and help me by taking some photos. The pictures will not only be for my blog, but I can review them, and the video, to see how my position is in the saddle.
Not Quite Ready For Trot
And even though I would love to write that I was able to walk trot and canter with Frisby, that didn’t happen. And I’m ok with it. I didn’t realize all of the muscles I would be using for riding. And by the time I was done walking, I was done. But it was a great ride, and I cannot wait to do more! I think it is safe to say that my confidence IS coming back.
Ok, I know this post is late. (Sorry) But the goal for the day is to get in the saddle. Even if it is only for 10 minutes, spend some time walking your horse around your arena, or wherever it is that you ride. Concentrate on your hands, your seat, your heels and your voice. How does it feel to be in the saddle. Does it feel good? Are you nervous? Or does it feel familiar, and help you to remember the happiness you have had in the saddle before?
Think about how you feel when you are riding your horse. And once you get off, take a few minutes to reflect on your ride. You will always have room to improve, so don’t get down on how you did. The thing to remember is that you did do it. Be proud of what you have accomplished for the day, and come back tomorrow for another challenge!