Getting old sucks!
I used my BB pad on Ava for a 30 minute trail ride. All went well, but I could barely walk the rest of the day.
I also rode Joy with the BB pad. I hadn’t ridden her in… well, it’d been a few weeks. She’s such a sweetheart that she never once put a foot wrong. (I should add that I didn’t ask much of her either.)
I did notice though that with the BB pad it feels like there’s nothing below my knees. I have to be very concious about how far in to bring my calf in order to put it on her. On the plus side, it allows me to be very clear about a release of pressure from leg aids because my lower leg comes completely off her. It actually helped some. Her responsiveness to moving off the leg became sharper.
This past week I’ve been riding her nearly every day using the bareback pad.
We had a few snafu’s. At one point I rode her toward the end of the pasture. I could feel her getting tense, then Ava hollered loudly and Joy lost it. She bolted for home.
I thought I was a gonner.
I seriously contemplated bailing.
But.. Joy came back to her senses in less than two strides, and although still tense, she was listening again.
After that, things went fine. She was still a ball of tension, but she relaxed after about 5 minutes of weaving through mini pine trees at a walk.
She’s a thinker, that one. If I don’t keep her mind engaged then she’ll find all kinds of things to look at.
I’ve been mostly focusing on getting her to bend left at the walk. I’m trying to stretch out the right side, get her a bit straighter, a bit more reactive to moving away from the left leg, and also teach her the concept of outside aids. I can’t do much to fix her straightness issues until she figures those things out.
However, I was playing around a bit yesterday and actually got her to do two strides of sort-of-shoulder-in each way, and two strides of sort-of-haunches-in. Not great, mind you… but she tried and it (in a broad sense of the word) resembled the movement to a degree.
I was beyond thrilled because it means she’s starting to figure out the idea of moving away from pressure, and letting me catch the energy on the outside. Only briefly… but the idea is there.
I probably won’t be able to duplicate that again. Hahaha
Mind you.. it’s all at the walk. We do some trotting, but I’m not strong enough to trot for very long bareback. I get tired.
We wrapped up the session by hand walking her to the neighbors and then out behind our house through the field.
I’m still too chicken to try riding her on the trails. Soon though… we’re getting close.