So after twenty something years I got to ride a horse. Star is the sixth horse I have come to own and how I have missed horses. I awaited my neighbor Monika to arrive with a light bridle and a small English jumping saddle. We brushed Star and fussed with her. She enjoys being brushed, but is wary of her legs and ears.
Christa, Monika’s sister who gave Star to me, said she was super sensitive about her ears and it was hard to get the bridle over them. She said to press on the poll (back of the head behind the ears) and that Star would then lower her head and she did. But getting from holding that pressure point to moving the thin bridle beyond her ears was not working out too well. She became very fearful.
I tried doing what I normally did and she threw her head and I flew off to the side in the hay with the snaffle bit hitting me in the head! Not hurt. Eventually with Monika’s skill and me patting her, Monika opened the bridle on the side and then pulled it together, avoiding her ears completely. Both Monika and myself have put bridles on thousands of times and have never had such a reaction.
Then the time came to mount. Of course I remembered the old days of just swinging my leg over the horse, taller horses than Star. This was a lot slower with much effort and I was glad she was not a tall horse.
I rode around the small field right next to the shed and the movement seemed strange. The small jumping saddle has a high cantle (back section) that seemed to prop me forward in an awkward position. Star has a good fast walk and I did circles with her, then passed under the oak tree branches. Big mistake! They snapped and that scared her, she jumped and I fell off! What a dink!
I got back on and rode a little bit more doing turns, stop, back up and a slow jog. So the first ride ended well that second time back on, but I was left with a look at me now versus then.
I think that saddle is too small for me. The high cantle seems to push me forward over her neck which is not long, as she is a pony. The padding is a bit much, making me feel separate from her body. Excuses, excuses.
The next day my right leg, knee and ankle were quite sore but when I move I am OK.
Why did I think it would be the same after 20 years? When I returned to yoga I could no longer do splits, the wheel, Lotus pose, headstands and lots of other poses. I have improved in a few years, but have a long way to get back where I was, if ever…. (my wrist has severe tendon damage). If I do not practice Tai Chi for three months, I can not be back to where I was. It takes months of practice to achieve balance and feeling grounded to feel the flow.
I have ordered a bitless bridle in the hope of a new and freer way of working with Star and am searching for a light saddle that will fit us both. Star is becoming quieter and happier each day.
The woodland trails will be greeting us soon…