Four months after my injury and about a month and a half since I mounted Talo again after a long pause, I think I can say that we are back riding for real. Most of my post-injury rides were with a bareback pad. They were pretty good, and I generally love the pad and the soft rides it enables. Still, I wanted to go back to the saddle, to get my muscles and joints in the right shape again.
The first saddle attempt was pretty painful. I lasted for about 7 minutes, before taking Talo back inside and switching to the pad. The second attempt was much better – the ankle felt stronger, but not perfect. I realized there’s no way around it – I need to use the saddle more in order to be able to use it more comfortably. So, I did just that.
Today was the 4th or 5th time I rode with the regular saddle, and I also took the whip with me. Up until now I didn’t feel like I needed it, and Talo was working pretty well. During the last few rides, however, I felt him slackening, and just not putting enough effort. I knew I needed the whip with me in order to remind him that it’s WORK time when we ride. I don’t really have to use it, just hold it. He knows. Sure enough, today’s ride was very energetic and forward, including a wonderful, happy gallop at the end – I could barely stop the boy 🙂
We rode for about 50 minutes. It was great. I did feel my ankle a tiny bit, but it wasn’t a big deal. Now I can go back to working on my seat and balance. I think I’ll go bareback tomorrow, without the whip. A bit of variety is always welcome.