Today my muscles hurt. But not the usual ones. Lately, I’ve felt my abs after doing lots of sitting trot on the 18 hand warmblood I’ve been riding. And other days, I feel it in my thighs after really working on collecting Liam’s canter. But today, I felt it a little different in my thighs, and in my seat, and in my stomach. How did I accomplish this? And on a Monday no less?
Well, for starters, I didn’t take Sunday off as I usually try to do. But probably more importantly, when I rode on Sunday I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I had a short, easy ride. But I did it without a saddle! Liam was perfect. At first, when I led him to the arena with only his bridle on he had this look, “Mom’s really lost it now. She even forgot my saddle today!” But once I climbed on his back, he walked on without a care, and soon he was round and reaching for the bit, stretching down in the walk, then trotting, and then even cantering. Riding bareback helped me realize how much stronger my core has gotten, and how that creates a balanced seat that moves with the horse. I could really feel that I could let my legs just hang around Liam without trying to grip and hold myself in place, but I felt even more glued to his back since my body was staying loose and moving with his. It was a good feeling.
We didn’t do much or for very long, I mostly just wanted to spend some time with him since it seems to be bothering him that I am riding so many other horses and not spending as much time hanging with him as I used to, even though I still ride him everyday. I know it’s not the same, and in all honesty, I miss him too, even though it sounds silly since I see him all day every day. It’s different somehow to see him or ride him as part of the routine of a busy day, versus going out to the barn to do nothing but give him treats and talk to him and admire him, and take him for a ride that’s just me and him and not a lesson. It was a lot of fun, and apparently a good workout too!