Sitting on a barrel really helps. If any of you need seat therapy, I can highly recommend it.
After a week of off and on barrel sitting, I decided it was time to try my technique on a real horse.
Needless to say, there was only one option--Chance.
Of my three horses, he has the most level head and, although he does not have the advanced training Toby does, he is far more laid back. Toby can be a bit energetic at times, but not Chance.
So, after a warm up on the barrel, I locked Toby and Tucker in their stalls for safekeeping--sections of fencing around the riding arena are down all over the place, so the two stray Boys would have interfered for sure. Then I saddled up Chance.
Out we went into the arena. I climbed up on the mounting block and to my happy pleasure, it was quite easy to mount up. Then, to even more delight, I found I could actually sit in the saddle with minimal discomfort.
Now, I still have some pain in the bad hip where tendons, muscles, whatever still need to adapt to horse shape, and my left knee on that side protests with the associated hip pain. But it wasn't unbearable and I could use my legs to cue if I needed to.
Chance, ever so determined and feeling pretty sound after all his lamenesses (Special shoes and pads for navicular symptoms, and that darn OCD issue with his right stifle and, of course, the bout of Lyme disease) headed straight for the gate to go out on the trail and while he was quite easy to steer away, I fell prey to his longing.
I opened the gate and we headed out.
Now, mind you, this is a horse that has not really been ridden on over a year. (I broke my hip in March of 2014.) The only work he's had have been occasional lungings of a few minutes by me or the vet to check his soundness. He's schooled enough on the flat that he might, if tuned up, put in a fair training level dressage test.
I have owned or leased about eight horses in my life, ridden dozens more not my own, but of all those mounts there are only two I would ever saddle up and take out on a trail ride after a year long layoff.
Let me tell you, putting Chance in company with the number one horse of my life, Russell R,. is highest praise indeed.
|Russell R. in his prime.|
|Chance, looking adorable and ready for a ride.|
Talk about a superstar! All told, we were out for perhaps 15 minutes, maybe 20, but it was a solid start to some good rehab for us both.
Am I happy?