Used to be….

I could grab a bridle and hop on my horse and go for a quick ride, bareback, through the woods. Brandy (my mare) was always a willing ride and we would do quick in-and-out jumps at the creek and find all sorts of things that were totally necessary to jump.  All bareback.

And then I was introduced to English riding and fell head over heels for riding huntseat so bareback riding fell by the wayside.

About 7 years ago I rode my big mare Aimee bareback to explore a couple hunters in our woods… I didn’t have time to saddle her so I just bridled up and took off (with Sophie in tow… geez I was crazy!!).  That was the last time I rode bareback.

Until yesterday.

After spending the afternoon watching the Rolex highlights and then the Preakness as well I felt the need to go for a little horse jaunt, but since Ri is most likely pregnant (starting to see signs of a bag under there) and is currently on pasture rest (ie she’s too moody to ride) I thought I’d take Lady.

Now I’m still nervous about riding Lady.  I haven’t ridden her since she was diagnosed as having Thumps. So I didn’t really want to saddle her… but I really wanted to ride… so I opted for no saddle which would necessitate a short/slow ride.

What I didn’t allow for was that since Lady has been on her new feed plus her electrolytes and since she’s always been fond of being taken out on rides that I would have a prancing pony under my knees instead of sedate, slow moving draft mare.

Our ride started out well. She was willing to walk along calmly behind the Ranger (Jim was driving ahead of us with the kids). But then somewhere in the woods she decided that it’s boring to plod along slowly and that it would be much more efficient to just trot.

So I didn’t fight her over that as she does have a lovely smooth trot and my body was definitely remembering those days riding Brandy at break-neck speeds through the woods, galloping over anything in our way… instinctively my legs were tightening around her big barrel which not only helped me stay balanced but encouraged Lady to move on a little faster.

So on we trotted.  Uphill and downhill.  Over logs, around branches and trees… ever following behind Jim and the kids. 

During one of the downhills I attempted to slow Lady down to a more sedate walk and realized that I actually had no brakes.  Lady had taken up the bit and was not willing to break from her trot… so I rode through it and we kept going… making a sweeping uphill turn that brought us near the path back to the pasture gate.  At that fork Jim decided to start back down again and while I gamely tried to ask Lady for a slow walk one more time, I realized that my legs were spent and I was done.  So I turned her for the pasture gate.  Jim was quick to notice that I was no longer behind him and caught up to me before I headed all the way to the gate.  After a dizzying moment of spinning to whoa I completely conceded defeat and dismounted on the path.  My legs were gone.  Even my calves were vibrating.  So I tossed Jim up on Lady’s back and I drove the ranger back to the gate where we let Lady (who finished the ride in excellent condition) go back to grazing.

Jim decided to take the kids on a continued jaunt through the wood trails and I spent some time messing with Lady and Ri and Pip too before heading down to the house.  

Happily I survived all of last night with no leg cramps and that weird mystery pain in my back has gone, but I’m definitely still feeling the ride in my thighs and calves.  I’m slated to go riding with Julie this afternoon.

I’m definitely opting for a saddle this time 🙂

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