Thursday, August 7, 2008

Saddles, we don't need no stinking saddles.

Huey's abscess is looking much better now. The swelling is mostly gone and the puncture is filling in nicely. We haven't been able to ride him since before our vacation. Although he was ridden by my instructor twice last week. I'm sure he doesn't object to the extra attention without all the work.

But last night my instructor said, jokingly I think, "You know you could just hop on him bareback with a halter." Well, I suppose technically there was nothing preventing me from using a saddle, since the abcess is on his cheek. I hadn't ridden bareback since I was a teenager. I used to hand-gallop my OTTB in the back fields with just a halter and lead rope. I remember how her back moved like a piston and feeling like I was a part of every breath and stride. My mother was horrified. "You did?!!!"
"Ya, mom. But only when you weren't around of course."

Suddenly, I felt dared to do it. Could I regain my teenage wild exuberance? I walked him down to the safety of the indoor arena. So much for fields of grass. Huey turned to look at me. "Are you forgetting something?" he seemed to ask.

"I suppose I need a mounting block." I said. Huey started to wander away from the block to nibble on a hanging longe whip. "Maybe you better hold him." I told mom. I had to hold onto his withers with both hands to get aboard, but I still almost slipped right off the other side. "Umm... Why don't I lead him first while you get your seat?" Mom suggested.

After about 5 minutes, I started to feel more comfortable. I could feel each breath Huey took, waves of muscle under his hide, every foot lifting off and setting down. I convinced mom I could take the lead rope myself now. I finally let go of my death grip on his mane, "Wee this is as much fun as I remember!" We calming walked around the arena for another 5 minutes. "Thank you for being such a good boy, Huey. I guess I've bored you enough for today." We went in for a long grooming session and snacks. So much for galloping through green waves of grass!


Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad he is feeling better. Even if you weren't galloping through the grass fields of the past it brought back nice memories right?

Pony Girl said...

I'm glad Huey's cheek is better. Good for you to try the bareback!
I ride my horse bareback now and then...I'm still a little shakey about it. My horse has a great wide back for bareback. I am just afraid he is going to jump sideways and lose me. I do think I need to do it more often, it's so good for balance. I actually want to get myself a bareback pad too, I think that would help me feel more secure and yet not interfere too much with the whole experience.

billie said...

I rode bareback when I was young but cannot do it anymore - my horse has a very high wither and it hurts! We got a Little Joe bareback pad this year and it has enabled me to ride "semi-bareback" - like sitting on a cloud.

My daughter was jumping her pony tonight bareback, in shorts, and I just stood there shaking my head. I can't even comprehend doing that!

Glad the cheek is better - I'm enjoying your blog since seeing it on one of the Brillante award pages!

Anonymous said...

Hello.this is the first time to visit your site.
IT is good that your horse is getting better.
I love horseback riding,but I can't do it now.
You know, horseback riding is not popular in Japan.
There is no horseback riding club around my home.
Have fun with your horses!
I'm happy if you link to my site.
baratch's pet blog!

A Bay Horse said...

Thank you for the suggestion of a bareback pad. I was wondering about those. I think I should get one!

SolitaireMare said...

I always loved to ride bareback. I still do but now I use a bareback pad for a little extra security.

There's a model I very highly recommend. It is contoured to fit the shape of the horses' withers and spine and has a slightly grippy seat and the best part - no stirrups or stirrup attachments. I wrote about it over on my blog at, please browse by when you have time and read about it!