|Riding (literally) into the sunset|
While I'm still making an effort to do at least one more-intense dressage and jumping ride each per week, the rest of my rides have been a lot less focused. And involving a lot less tack.
In the spirit of laziness and No-Stirrup November, I've been popping on Dino bareback more frequently as of late. Suited up in just our western bridle, we mosey around the farm and I work on my seat a bit. I haven't quite worked up the courage to canter bareback out in the open just yet - I keep envisioning myself popping off if Dino breaks to a fast trot because I'm gripping the heck out of him with my thighs - but the walk and trot work is going just fine. I'm able to really focus in on what my body is doing and correct small balance problems at a slower pace, and Dino enjoys the low-pressure schooling sessions and easy hacks.
Given how great he was when I rode him in a halter with reins clipped on it last month after he got his teeth done, I've been lazy about actually bridling him, too.
These days, I can only be bothered to ride with either a saddle OR a bridle. Not both at once.
I'm not sure whether I'm super excited about this discovery, or just bummed that I can't show dressage in a halter. In either case, I'm considering getting this side pull bridle for general schooling & jumping. I like that it's essentially just a more-stable "halter with reins on it", and doesn't use a lot of pressure under the chin like other bitless bridles, or leverage like a hackamore. And if Dino continues to go spectacularly well in this unconventional bridle, he'll more quickly build the strength he needs to make his job even easier in the show ring with a bit. Plus, he won't have to mouth a cold metal bit in the dead of winter. It's a win-win!
I'd love to hear about your adventures with bareback, bitless, bridle-less riding!