Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ode to the Bareback Pad

This post may be premature as its not as if Im retiring the bareback pad, but I thought I ought to show what six months of wear looks like. I bought the fluffy pink bareback pad for $5 off of craigslist back in the summer. I wanted one and a few friends urged me to get this one due to its steal of a price. I relented, not really wanting pink but knowing it was a great deal. The pad was in great shape you could hardly tell it had ever been ridden in (except for the few shavings stuck to it). It was super fluffy and really clean.

Now, I have used this pad 4-5 times a week for the past six months. Far more then I think it was ever indended to be ridden in. The pads fluffing has been worn down quite a bit on the front of it, whereas the rear (where my bum has no contact with) is still fluffy and boyant. Most notably, the pad is now turning blue thanks to the dark wash jeans I wear to work, then subsequently wear right out to the barn as well.

Six Months Later
I got super lucky in having the bareback pad at the time that I needed to use it, but can I just say Im ready to be rid of it? Just saying.

Just beginning my warm up, Heather brought in Missy whom Milo hadnt seen in a few weeks. Missy leaped, bucked and farted, which Milo of course thought was just beautiful and rivoting (hey, love knows no boundaries, err gas passings). Heather and I had the opportunity to ride alone in the arena. Had I known lessons were finishing, I would have set up some poles to work over, but already into our workout, I ended up not. I warmed up with the "new" excersise - Warm Up 2-Simple Trot Pattern. Establish a nice cadenced trot on a circle (for me at C), then extend the trot out for the length of the arena, rein back to a shorter trot for the circle again, repeat. Milo did well and its a great exercise for me to subtly soften my back for the slight downward transition. He was feeling pretty good and quickly caught onto the pattern, wanting to explode out of the corners right out of the circle a few times. But when he would feel explosive, I instead would work a few more circles until he was on page with me again.

I moved into a little Arena Interval Training, trotting for two minutes, loping for another two, trotting again, repeat, and incorporated some fencing lines as well. One fence in particular was absolutely beautiful. At the trot he worked straight into it never ducking out or slowing down. I softened my back and gave him the mighty Woah, and that butt went right down into the dirt and promptly backed up. I let Milo sit for a few minutes as reward, scratching his neck and telling him what a good boy he was. He licked and chewed and caught his breath.

With the arena cleared of lessons, I worked a bit on our rollbacks. First at the walk, then trot, and a few at the canter. Milo did splendidly, getting the footwork and loping right off in the new direction. I noticed I will have to be picky still through that half turnaround, as a few times Milo wanted to bolt right off at about 100 degrees, not 180. I instead worked back on slower rollbacks to get him moving all the way off of my leg and rein. He did well though.

Have I mentioned how dramatic a change in his cadence and balance has been? I think I really can contribute it to his new trim. He is moving very fluidly at all gaits, but I have noticed how consistent Milo is in his lope now. Whereas before, Milo would lope a few strides lifted and engaged, then hollow out for a few more, come back lifted, hollow again, etc. He never seemed to just consistently hold the working lope. Now, he does. He really lifts his back up (even more then ever before) and stays consistently balanced, forward, and straight with only a few minor corrections on my part, its been great! He's also learning how to keep himself balanced and centered between the reins, which is a big deal too. Im super proud of my boy, and can't wait to see Sarah on Thursday.


Rising Rainbow said...

Staying straight between the aids and lifting his back correctly go hand in hand. You really cannot get one without the other. I can attest to that with Legs and his not ever moving correctly because of his old injury. Getting that final bit of lift and straight is illusive and translates to we're still just a hair off from true self carriage. Even though the horse looks dead on straight from the ground.

in2paints said...

You're going to miss your pink bareback pad, aren't you? :)

That's great you're seeing such a difference since his trim. Such small things can make such a big difference!