From December 2012
Going Saddle-less ~ Bareback on Jessie. I’m not sure why I chose to try riding Jessie saddle-less. I had never done it before. I don’t even remember riding any horse bareback as an adult. Oh yeah, I had don the Jeffrey Method on her and she remained calm. I think there is something about the winter months. This day it threaten rain off and on. We did not want to get caught out in it. Yes, we are wimps. We decided instead to just screw around in our little riding area. We had done all the groundwork and were probably getting a little bored. The saddle was all the way over in the tack room. So was the bridle. Why not just go saddle-less?
Guys have a distinct anatomical disadvantage riding bareback. I don’t know how those Indians galloped along in all those westerns I watched as a kid. If anyone has any tips, I would appreciate hearing them. The equipment just gets in the way. There is a distraction though. It’s falling off. There really isn’t anything to hold on to. Your balance is really tested.
I was very pleased with the way Jessie took to the cues. Looking back on this after a couple of years I can see my riding style was very good back then. I had my feet a little forward. I remember wondering how much pressure to use with my legs. My wife was telling me to grip with my upper legs, but I could not separate that pressure from my lower legs. Pressure with my lower legs just made her want to go forward.
The other thing I remember about this “going saddle-less” day was want to lope but not quite being confident enough to break into a canter. There is that little moment in the transition from trot to canter where Jessie’s gait gets a little extra bouncy. I knew if I could get through that I would be okay. I just could not get there. I would start bouncing all over her back, get a little worried and ask for a whoa. The good thing about Jessie is she loves the word whoa.
I put this video to one of my favorite artists, Jeff Healy. “I Think I Love You Too Much” is from is from his Hell To Pay album. Jeff Healy was a great blues and Jazz guitarist who died way to soon. Check out his music at JeffHealy.com