Friday, May 20, 2011

Back In the Saddle Again

... but not exactly as planned.

My thought was to ride and bathe both.  I rode Bonnie, did not bathe o'well theres always tomorrow.

I haven't ridden a horse, any horse, not even the Kmart Penny Pony, since I rode Karaat in the Dressage show last October.    I took a break to allow my body to heal, namely my lower back.   Seven months later, I'm as pain free as I'm ever going to be at my age. Time to mount up and get this season going!

Plan was to use my bran-spank'n-new western saddle and the bitless bridle  on Bonnie.   Well... Saddle fits really good, except my western girth is too big.. like WAY too big to be safely used.   So it came off and I quickly tossed on my All Purpose saddle.

Now for the bridle dilemma.  I was completely prepared to go bitless using the big and has something to grab hold of western saddle.  My scared of eating dirt  mud mind kept reminding me that ity bity English saddles have NO HANDLES and Bonnie doesn't have the big hair of the 80's mane like Rosie does.   So on with the bit.

Going back to that whole not riding in 7 months thing... My mares haven't been ridden in exactly that long either.  Oh boy.

I was prepared though.  I had a "riding plan" and it was simple.  No chance for failure, so simple.  I took a page from Kate at A Year With Horses and set up a four cone course, but added two in the middle of the box.  If you get a chance I highly recommend visiting Kate's blog, you won't be disappointed.

I decided to NOT lunge.  I know.. kinda.. dumb right?  I mean I did say 7 months of no riding.  Bonnie actually had 7 months of vacation, I've done nothing except groom, love, and hug on her all that time.

Taking a deep breath I pulled up my big girl breeches; looked at Bonnie and said out loud "You're either going to kill me in a bucking fit, or we'll be just fine."  I exhaled and mounted without thinking.

That mare is a rockstar !!

She was forward and looky, but not crazy jumpy as she can be when the mood strikes.  I had no plans for anything faster than a walk in the not exactly soupy, but not exactly dry, outdoor arena  and she wasn't much interested in anything faster either.

We walked between cones, exhaled halt at each cone.  I did square, diagonal, figure 8's, flower petals, etc.    I kept very light contact, just took the slack out of the reins as she gave it.  She gave me a few consecutive steps of soft, round and with hindquarters reaching up under her.  MUCH more than I expected for first ride.

All in all a GREAT day!



  1. Congrats on a great ride! I can't imagine taking seven months off - I bet you really are as healed as you can be though.

  2. JUst exactly the way it should be , a plan to succed, and great horse and a great ride!

  3. Very nice work - she looks pretty pleased with herself!

  4. So exciting. I'm glad you're back to riding! Just be very careful - after 7 months you won't have riding muscles and could easily reinjure. I know you know this, but as someone who fights back pain too, I can't resist saying it :)
    What a very good girl Bonny was for you. It's great the way you kept her busy without over doing anything. Perfect start back.

  5. Congratulations!! Sounds like you did it just right :)

  6. Good job Jeni! That's a long time to be out of the saddle and I'm very glad you had a nice ride. And good girl Bonnie! I hope you have many more good rides this spring and summer.

  7. Yea Jen!
    She's so cute, with her eyes closed! Glad that the beginning of riding times started so nicely.
    Its that a Dr Cooks? I'm glad to see the crown piece is one piece. I've am older one, and it pulls through not being one piece.

    Well, I pray your horses are faring better now, and things after looking up. And glad that your back has stabilized. I'm experiencing some body dysfunctions to o. boo!

  8. It all sounds wonderful! I'm so glad you had a great first ride in ages!

  9. Oh happy days glad you finally got back in the sadlle and so glad it was a positive time. I love your new header photo. It looks all very bright and green

  10. I'm so happy for you! You go girl! You're an inspiration for me, as it's been just over 7 months now (after I was kicked in the face)that I've not ridden as well. I really want to get back up there, too, but I've got so many other irons in the fire now. I just can;t seem to find the time to really focus on that issue.
    Love the bitless bridle. I have a Dr. Cooks and I'd like to try it on Apache someday, too.


  11. You go girl!!! Love the bitless ride!
    Bet that hiney of yours is a tad sore!
    xo, misha


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