This week I decided to challenge myself. Since the sand ring was out of commission, I knew I was going to have to ride in the arena. It can get a little boring in there sometimes, so I decided to spice things up a little and ride bareback again. It’s becoming my new favourite thing to do with Luc. There’s just one small problem. I can’t really get on. When I’m outside, I use the picnic table, which puts me high enough up that all I really have to do is step over Luc’s back to get on.
In the arena, there is only that small little mounting block made out of stacked milk crates. I hate it at the best of times, so wasn’t too confident I would even be able to get on bareback using it since I would have to jump to get myself over Luc’s back.
Armed with Jen as my assistant, I decided to attempt getting on. I lined Luc up with the mounting block and gently lay over his back to give him an idea of what was about to happen. While Jen held Luc, I gave a little hop and tried to clamor aboard. Epic fail! I wasn’t even close to being able to slide over Luc’s back. I needed to jump higher.
Now anyone who knows me is aware that gaining any kind of height while jumping is not a strong skill of mine. In fact, on a good day I can maybe make it a foot in the air. That’s why I love jumping on horseback so much. I can actually get some height! Determined not to let my own lack of athleticism hold me back, I decided to give it another go. I pushed off that orange mounting block and hoped for the best.
My foot did not go right through it as I had feared, and I even managed to get myself partially onto Luc. Of course I was dangling over him, with my head headed straight for the ground and still needed to swing a leg over to get upright. Jen was convinced I was going to eat dirt by sliding right on over Luc. I did not. Take that!
I managed to swing my leg over Luc’s back (without hoofing him in the butt to boot) and get myself to a sitting position. I know it’s a far cry from getting on from the ground, but I can be realistic. I’m more than likely not ever going to be one of the very talented people who can pull that off. Believe me, I tried and failed at it a lot as a kid.
I kept our ride short, working on staying relaxed and balanced at the walk and trot. I’ll save cantering bareback for another day when I feel my seat is a little more secure. Especially since I trotted Luc over a pole this week and thought I might slide right off. By the third or fourth time over the pole I was feeling a little more solid, but not enough to risk anything else.
Getting off was a breeze. I wish getting on was just as easy. The only problem I had was when some invisible monster scared Luc as I was halfway off. Thankfully he didn’t do too much more than tense up and take a few steps forward. I have to say, he was remarkably good today. He didn’t move at all while I was getting on (and yes, I know Jen was holding him), and he went when I asked him to and stopped when I wanted. What more could I ask for?