_

_

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Henry Lesson #5 (October 29th) & Saddle Fitting Adventure




I usually ride Henry on the Thursday before my Saturday lesson and then give him Fridays off (as there isn’t much time between both jobs to do much other than feed him on Fridays).  My Thursday ride started really well.  He started off with a super forward walk (YAY!  GO HENRY GO!). 

 

But as we progressed into the trot work things got a bit funny.  He didn’t really feel off but his head seemed to be bobbing slightly more than usual.  I lunged him and he looked totally fine.  I decided to hop off and was left sort scratching my head. 

Mr. Frosty Ears


 

I texted ST that Henry wasn’t quite himself.  I said that I wanted a lesson either way (even if just for another pair of eyes).  I suggested she book us in for a shorter one just in case he was more off, then it wouldn’t throw her schedule off too much and he could have a shorter lesson if he was feeling like himself again.  I kind of threw saddle fit and extra deep footing (that needed to be levelled out desperately) as possible culprits.   ST suggested riding him bareback to see if that made a difference…..

 

....!



 

So I hadn’t ridden Henry bareback yet.  I know that RK did a little bit during his training (mostly when he was getting Henry used to a person sitting on him).  All of my internal organs are rearranged when I post his trot... I hadn’t even attempted to sit it. He has a wonky big ass trot.  It’s smoother when he’s moving forward, but forward is our ongoing struggle. 

 

After my unpleasant ride on Mystic my nerves were a little shot.  But on the Friday before my lesson I summoned all my courage and put my bareback pad on the baby warmblood and gave it a try. 




 

His walk felt great again.  I attempted to trot just the long sides in both directions.  I almost bounced into oblivion.  But he felt sound and happy with no head bobbing at all.  So that was good news. 

 

I texted ST the good news and then we kind of hemmed and hawed about if I should do a bareback lesson for the Saturday lesson.  We decided to try it. 

 

So for extra good news the arena was all levelled out for me on Saturday morning (yippee!).  We did about 5 minutes of walking before ST instructed me to get trotting! 




 

I was able to do about 10/15 minutes of trot.  My leg really wanted to creep up and my knees really wanted to grip (these are two fun things that make you bounce more!).  I had a few really nice moments where I let my leg stretch down and I was relaxed enough to follow his movement better through my body.  I felt like because I was bouncing so much it was hard for me to genuinely ask him to go forward.  I felt like I was giving him some mixed signals and it wasn’t very fair (go forward Henry, SLOWLY, go forward SLOWLY).  

 

So I suggested instead that ST give me a hand free jumping him.  So we did! J


Henry Longlegs at sunrise



 

And homeboy has hops.  We freejumped over two fences in a line, with the second one maxing out at 3ft.  He sailed over it and seemed to really enjoy himself!  I am such a turd for not getting video, will have to try it again on my own and share some videos/photos of Henry the jumping bean!




In other Henry-related news…

I finally had the Equipe saddle fitter out and unfortunately that other saddle I liked won’t fit Henry.  I guess his wither is very long, which is difficult to fit (this is also why his current won't work, and likely is uncomfortable for him).  The fitter gave me two models/styles that will work for him.  They are both $$... so I will be saving all my pennies and hopefully will be purchasing something for him in January.  So I will be riding bareback in the meantime… Holy crap.  I've had a few bareback rides since my lesson and am gradually improving (also my baby warmblood should be sainted).

Henry from saddle fitter night (if you look closely you can see the chalk marks on him... he creepily loved that)


Henry did have a massage last Friday (November 11th) and his back looks great and has no ouchy spots so I don't think the bareback riding is negatively affecting him.  Coach D has watched me ride bareback and doesn't think I bounce much at all (...tell that to my internal organs).


I still need more work before I can do an ST lesson again (I don’t it’s an effective use of a lesson at this point, as I really just need practice).  Hopefully if I work really hard at my bareback riding we can start up again in a week or two.  It’s not the end of the world for him to be in lighter work as he’s also going through a bit of a growth spurt anyhow. 

I warmly welcome and tips or tricks for sitting super bouncy trots!

26 comments:

  1. Maybe some yoga right before to loosen up your hips/lower back? That works for me but I have super tight hips and lower back to start with, so I don't know if that is very helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a great idea! I am the least flexible person alive so I bet that would help a ton :)

      Delete
  2. I always think bareback is such a good time until I'm like five minutes in, and then it's like, OH GOD WHY AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep that's pretty much where I'm at with it hahaha

      Delete
  3. You are very brave to ride bareback. I'm glad that he was so good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm very lucky he is such a laid back young horse... just wish he wasn't so bouncy haha!

      Delete
  4. You'll be a bareback pro in no time!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think you're doing so well with Henry. Bareback can be hard to get used to and jumping 3 ft. woo hoo, good for both of you. One thing is for sure you'll have great riding legs by the time you get your saddle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thank you! I wish I could afford a new saddle for him right now, but hopefully we will build some other skills in the meantime :)

      Delete
  6. You are going to be strong from the bareback riding!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yea I'm not super eager to try bareback on my new guy either lol. It's hard work... But also a long way down to the ground

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah Charlie is a giant! I don't mind riding bareback, but Henry is so so bouncy... it's super tricky.

      Delete
  8. Confession: I haven't sat on a horse bareback in about 15 years. MAJOR props to you! It sounds like Henry is growing up! So excited to follow along on your journey together. Also, I'm super excited he likes jumping!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He has a cute jump too! Kicking myself for not getting pictures or video. I hope to not sit on him bareback again for a few years after we get our fancy new saddle!

      Delete
  9. You're taking the no stirrup November thing extra seriously! ;) haha. Hopefully you can find the perfect saddle in January, but until then, sounds like you're going to have some rocking balance and leg strength!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a whole new level of extreme no-stirrup November haha! I really really hope we can find a saddle soon. Come on lottery ticket!

      Delete
  10. I prefer it when Suzie jogs along like a western pleasure horse when I'm bareback, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the nice slow trot! My drafties are so comfy. Henry's slow trot is even bouncier... D:

      Delete
  11. More bareback riding and strong abs will have you sitting any bouncy trot in no time. Tensing up always makes you bounce more, too, which I always do when I'm concentrating on something with my position (usually involves some kind of holding my breath). So, to combat that, I try to talk. I find it easy to cop out of talking to my horses (because really, they don't care or need me to blabber) but another human around...can't cop out of that so easily! So bring a friend while you ride and just talk to them about whatever. Your body will relax and you'll have more success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a great idea! I will give that a whirl. I am muttering to myself half the time anyway haha :)

      Delete
  12. Just more practice riding sitting trots! Just try to set a short goal of five strides or whatever and go from there.

    Situps, crunches will also help, because you need to absorb the shock through your hips, but need your core to be stabilized.

    I am so ingrained from starting out riding western that I prefer to sit the trot on just about everything, including jackhammer horses. It's not until my switch to dressage and getting scolded all the time for sitting on my baby's back that I even post the trot more often than not. Practice makes perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! These are great things to keep in mind :) I will definitely be adding sit-ups to my gym routine. I don't love that I have to sit the trot on his baby back :( At least it's only for a month or two.

      Delete