Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Conquer thy fear

 First I'd like to welcome my new followers! This gives me seven in all...

There is Cindy over at Life With My Herd who is awesome and supportive and I love to hear about her  funny horse stories.

There's Crystal at Ranch Riding who always has some supportive comments, is crafty and posts lots of pictures for our enjoyment :)

There's Aleta at The Nail Junkie who I had been following for a while for her cool nail designs (if anyone loves painting their nails they should check her out!)

There's Allison at Adventures with Shyloh who has a cute little haflinger, and haflingers are awesome....which automatically gives Allison major points haha

There's Cheyenne at the Cheyenne Chronicles that I just started following, but was immediately drawn in by beautiful pictures!

There's Dreaming over at Living A Dream who has horses and make a kick ass pumpkin pie.

Also there's Louisa over at Time In The Saddle who looks like a pretty bomb rider!

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by and follow my blog! I love to hear what you all have to say!

Anyways, if you've read any of my older posts you may know about this weird little thing of mine....the dream that I have that would make me content would be if I was a bomb bareback rider.  Everyone has an image in their head of what they want to be able to do on a horse...mine is being capable of riding bareback! I don't know why, but its really just what I aspire to do.  And I suck at it.  I can walk/trot bareback no problem, but I come to a big brick wall at the canter.

The horses that I have had access to through a lease, or what not, have all had their quirks, and dreamy rocking horse canters is not one that anyone horse I've had the pleasure of leasing has had.

Chili wouldn't even lope, she'd balk and buck before she'd lope (I leased her when I'd been riding about a month, I was told she was a 'deadbroke beginner' horse...needless to say that didn't last long...

Oreo had a back like a couch, but was so dang stiff I could barely stay in the saddle when she first picked up a lope

Liam had extremely rhythmic lope, but was very rough at the same time (haflingers are bred to trot with a cart, not for nice gaits!)

Chrome was barely ridable in a saddle.

And now I am with pony (There are a few horses in there that I rode for a while for friends and such, who were no better for a bareback lope).  Pony is very quick, very forward, and I know that she will give me a beautiful canter if I relax. But its obviously hard to relax when your afraid! I know exactly where my problem is, and I know how to fix it in theory...but not in practice!

So I figured I'd keep working with pony in saddle, go stirrupless...etc and eventually be able to go bareback on her.  And in the past few days, I have gotten severely bad anxiety about loping bareback on her.  Why? I don't know! I hadn't tried it and fallen off, I hadn't even been thinking about it really.  So last night I had a dream about it, I don't remember the dream, and woke up SUPER anxious about loping bareback! All day long I knew that I was going out to the barn tonight and when I thought about it, my heart started beating really fast.  I have no idea why, we had a great ride the other night, and I hadn't even thought about trying to lope bareback.  However, I figured my body was trying to tell me something.

I grew up doing gymnastics, and I got the same feeling I would get when attempting a new skill for the first time.

The entire way out to the barn, I was panic attacky.  I got pony and my nerves would not quit it.  I got on her bareback...and off we loped!

Just kidding...but that would have been cool! Instead we walked a lot, we trotted a lot, she stayed super calm, and I tried to get her to lope.  She would pick it up, then stop.

I knew that I had too tight of reins on her, so she couldn't comfortably lope.  She could tell I was tense. Finally, I did it all the way down the length of the arena.  and we loped! It was fast, I grabbed mane and held.  It was sketchy.  But I stayed on, didn't get hurt, and am no longer anxious.

Did we do perfect? Hell no.  Did we look terrible? 100%

Do we need to work on it? Heck yes.  Am I going to wake up in a cold sweat from now on? I'm feeling like its a no!

I don't know why this sudden anxiety arose in me, but my body was obviously telling me something, so I went ahead, tempted fate, and am feeling a bunch better about me and my pony now.

Just so we all know this...I have loped before bareback.  On oreo..and it was not pretty.  I tried on her more than any other horse, and it was always sketchy! I fell off more times than I'd like to admit (she just had such a rough lope).  I had loped bareback on Liam (it was much more of a gallop....that was fun! Until I asked him to slow down and he gave me a 200 mph trot and I fell off..) and the last time I tried to lope, it was on a horse named kyra...a super forward morgan who is sweet...but forward! I couldn't get her to lope though, she just would not pick it up! She would trot fast and then I would lose it. It was so frustrating! That was probably a month ago or maybe thats where some of my anxiety was coming from.

Nonetheless, I am proud of myself for setting out and doing something that scared the bejesus out of me.   Bareback riding is just like anything else, it takes practice, and a hell of a lot of it.  I have a very good natural sense of balance, so I know I would be a good bareback rider if I simply's just sooo hard to do that when your scared! What I need to do is get my old gymnastics coach out to watch me and yell at me what to do..I bet that would work!!

And for your viewing pleasure, heres a picture of the darling oreo, she was suuuch a beautiful horse!

Oreo...She was a frame overo paint with a medicine cap and two blue eyes...can you think of anything more beautiful! 


  1. I am a terrible bareback rider, I just slide right off, one time into the river and come out covered in mud, lol. But i do find that loping is better than trotting although either for me for more than a few minutes is tempting fate. I keep saying I will do it more, but its easier for me to ride in a saddle than try to stay on bareback (for now) And I have to say riding without stirrups did not help, I can ride all day without stirrups chasing cows but one turn bareback and off i slide.
    Oh and I love your coming here to your blog, thanks for the kind words :)

    1. Thats so funny! I'm glad I'm not the only one that can't seem to get the hang of bareback down, other people make it look soo easy! I think also its the whole, just hanging on is easy but riding right is hard thing..cause yeah I can squeeze my legs onto her tight and i would stay on in a gallop, but just a lope with soft hands, legs etc, so much harder!

  2. Oreo is beautiful! What a perfect name, too. I love riding bareback! The Haflinger I used to lease was so wide and comfy (fat) that riding bareback was like siting in a recliner. Shy is thinner and since my fall bareback, I have not been back on bareback. But I would love to trot her bareback, I think I don't have the balance or control over her yet for that.

    Congrats on the lope, I am sure it will get easier (and less scary) over time :)

  3. My bareback riding is what I would call?.............PP. I try it, and off I come. Ok in a straight line, turn left or right, and my backside eats dirt!
    However, I have a plan! Its called super glue!....I glue a pair of old pants to a bareback saddle, then when I wont to ride, I slip into the pants!!! HEY! Easy eh? (dont try this at home kids)

  4. Barback riding is hard. Although it was all I did as a teenager, and back then it was actually easier for me than a saddle. I just held on with my legs and we went. But then we did not try to canter, it was a dead run all the time, so getting our horses to understand "a little bit slower please" was never an issue.
    I can ride Killian bareback with just a halter, and I can do it almost anywhere. But he never really goes any faster than a slow trot so it is easy to stay on. He is a big wide boy so he is pretty comfy.
    Truthfully Marissa, I think you are smart to start with stirrupless rides until you really feel that you have a nice seat. I really think it is all about relaxing, breathing with your horses strides, and learning to move your hips with your horse. I am constantly working on doing this even with a saddle. I find that I tend to use the stirrups to stay on and I need to use my seat and ride with my horse instead of just sit on top.

    Now, you have given me a great idea for a post today, and in honor of your goal to be the bomb bareback rider I am going to write a post about my best friend Jamie, (who is a bomb bareback rider) and her one attempt to ride my crazy paint bareback. I even have a picture to go with it!
    I hope you don't mind if I build off of your idea.

  5. Thank you all so much! It makes me feel good to know I'm not alone! I love to watch videos of people riding bareback, and it always makes it look sooo easy! But i know in reality they came off many times trying to get to that point! I'm glad to know that there are other people who it doesn't just come 'naturally' to.

    Allison...its so hard to get back on after a fall! I fell off oreo loping bareback, and broke my tailbone. I was laying on the ground in SO much pain, and I knew I had to get back on. So i got back on, and the pain in my backside was so bad I couldn't even sit...So i put my hands on her back and propped myself up and we walked around the arena. I knew that if I didn't get back on I would be scared, so I got back on right away! But it didn't help me want to lope on her again!

    Cindy I can't wait to read it!

    1. I am guessing I broke or chipped my tailbone, too. Almost a year later and it still hurts to sit. I cried all the way home from my barn because it was on a dirt road and it was such a painful car ride.

      I vow to get back on Shy bareback and soon! But I am glad to know I am not the only one that feels that way.


I love comments!