I was so incredibly proud of Bronwyn - as a general rule, I am always incredibly proud of her because she is extremely tolerant of my silly ideas - as she took it all in stride.
The idea started forming in my head the second I woke up to discover the farm covered in a layer of snow on Monday morning. Now... sometimes I have foolish ideas and Bronwyn flat out refuses, but most of the time when I have a foolish idea, she just goes along with it because we're cool like that. Unfortunately, my father thwarted my plan Monday morning because it was quite wet and slick and he insisted I should give the horses a day or two out to pasture in the snow so they could get used to it again. I set it aside Monday and planned to ride today but got so caught up running errands that I found myself out in the barn watering critters at 9:30 and just then realized that the entire day had completely bypassed me!
My father was with me in the barn, and he usually understands that when I decide to do something stupid or silly, the best thing for him to do is stand by and make sure I don't get hurt, because he's a good Daddy and that's what good Daddy's general do - let their little girls make stupid mistakes and then help them sweep up the pieces.
I tied a rope around Bronwyn's neck to give myself something to depend on if I needed it, donned my helmet, put her bridle on and longed her and then had to figure out the daunting task of mounting up... which is not always easy. I am not as flexible as I once was (who am I kidding? I was never flexible!) and no buckets ever seem to be tall enough to allow me to get my leg up over her back without causing an enormous cramp. Fortunately, she let me sidle her up to the core of the round bale in their pasture and I got my leg swung up over and spent probably a good minute
Now, the last time I rode bareback was back in May - to preface this and drive the point home about my "silly ideas" that I get that Bronwyn puts up with, let me just say... that time back in May that I rode bareback (two or three days) was after I had gotten dumped off her for the first time (and been dumped at all in 11 years!). I was extremely sore for about two weeks and when I got on her to ride bareback (without riding in a saddle first, AFTER she had had those two weeks off from work!) it was uncomfortable. It was nice to ride her bareback (I hadn't ridden bareback in about three years and then it was only once!), but it was extremely difficult for me to relax enough that I wasn't teetering dangerously back and forth. It was a good combination of worried about falling again and worried I was hurting her back. I have pictures that prove that she didn't mind so much, and she was a very good girl and I didn't fall... but it wasn't pleasant and I didn't do it again all summer. BACK to the present, now!
As soon as I got on her, we turned and headed back down toward the barn, and dad stood in the doorway and asked "Is it all you imagined it would be?". I sarcastically replied "Oh, magical."... but what I really meant was:
"YES! YES! YES! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I HAVE AN AMAZING HORSE AND I AM SO BLESSED TO HAVE HER AND THIS FEELS GOOD AND COMFORTABLE AND I FEEL LIKE I COULD RIDE BAREBACK ALL THE TIME NOW!"
It did feel a lot better. I think it might be because I have been riding her more regularly and I can feel my core muscles getting stronger. I felt like I had much better balance and she even trotted a couple of steps, which excited me because I stayed on. I almost bit the snow when I dropped my rein because of the gloves I was wearing, but stuck with her.
When I came back in the barn, I asked my dad if he ever, in a million years, had envisioned that I could be doing something like that with Bronwyn when we first brought her home. She was a bit of a scared basketcase when she first arrived just over two years ago, and it took me six months to be able to get her to engage willingly with me. He said he absolutely didn't ever imagine that could happen - and I honestly never imagined it either. I never imagined myself being able to ride bareback, for one, comfortably and feel okay about it, or being able to do it on Bronwyn.
I always worry about bareback being hard on her back but she seems fine. It distributes your weight into a much smaller area (no matter how big my arse is!) than a saddle (at least a western saddle, which I typically ride in) does. I try to sit forward and relax, and allow myself to break at the hip and drop in my heels - someone on the Free Speech Horse Forum recommended the rope or strap around the neck to help out. I really think my riding, overall, but especially english, will be greatly helped by riding bareback. IMAGINE - a FAT girl riding a horse BAREBACK!
Sadly, I have no pictures to share of my "magical moment" tonight, but I do have a new one that my dear friend, Jill of Scuffed Boots Photography just finished editing from our photoshoot that the profile picture was taken in. Check out her wild mane.