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The Bareback Assignment

LunaMorrow

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The Non-Contact (Bareback) Riding assignment has been in the works for a while now. Our last couple rides have really been focused on getting Darcy’s right canter lead, having him softer and more wiling in the direct rein turns and just generally improving my bareback seat to help him out more (especially during rein positions and that canter transition).

All of the elements have been coming together so we went out and filmed it 2 days ago. I was really happy with how we went, but the quality of the filming wasn’t so great. I asked my neighbour to film for me, but as he has never done it before he didn't quite understand how specific this video had to be. Basically ended up stopping the video recording accidentally midway through, ended up doing 2 minutes of canter to the left (apparently we looked like we were having lots of fun, so I wasn't given a one minute notice) and he cut off my last bend to a stop, lateral flexes and backup - whoops! I’m grateful he filmed it though - even if it totally isn’t blue-tickable. Here’s a link to the not-so-great video if you want a laugh - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH7lYOhDTMc

I was planning to get out and refilm it today but Darcy was unfortunately a bit tender after getting his hooves trimmed yesterday. We ended up just walking around and playing with Darcy could follow my focus and seat without me using the reins as much as possible. By the end we had lateral flex both ways without even touching the reins (although we’ve had this for a few weeks now), but Darcy also took my offers a few times on some backups and a few direct reins just using my seat. Then when we were walking around I could open up and focus in a direction (no reins) and about 60-70% of the time Darcy would turn and follow my direction. Sometimes my seat wouldn’t be quite right and Darcy would give me opposition reflex if I tried to use my reins to guide him when my seat wasn’t right (bit of a discovery there for me), then I’d readjust my seat and Darcy would take my offer.

I also tried asking Darcy to bend to a stop, but he wasn’t quite getting my ask at the beginning. So to help him out I opened up in the direction I’d like his head to flex, then shifted my position to an indirect rein ask, before shifting my weight down further and picking up the rein just slightly (pinch test style) to ask him for a lateral flex plus lowing my energy like I would to ask him to stop. After a few goes he started picking up the pattern and we finished up with me just opening up to the left, then when he flexed to turn sitting my weight down and lowering my energy, and then he flexed to a stop. It was only a half flex but once he stopped he flexed al the way around. It was a great try so I left it at that. Fingers crossed bareback and bridleless might not be too far away from us (just got to get Level 2 done).

I’m hoping Darcy will be feeling ok to film the assignment sometime in the next week, so that we can get it out of the way (and hopefully get our first blue tick in what would be a little over 6 months!!) and progress further into the impulsion program. We will be attending the Contact Riding Clinic with Meredith and Fiona in November and aim to have the Bareback and Simples assignments completed by then and be working through the homework cards to prepare us for the gallop assignment. Then fingers crossed we can get the Gallop and Contact assignments completed by April next year so that we are ready for the Level 3 QSE camp. I’m so excited to see where the future takes us (especially in L3)!!!



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