It's been over a year since I was actively riding due to the complications that arose in my pregnancy. Don't get me wrong - I rode a few times last summer and then in the late fall, but Sierra bucked me off right at the pivotal point of the extreme weather change and therefore only rode sporadically through the winter and truthfully, none of those rides were anything to write home about. Aside from the excitement of getting bucked off, the rest of my rides over the past year basically consisted of walking around for 5 minutes. While they lacked any form of requirements from either of us however, they served a purpose of keeping myself sane.
Taking the time off to allow my body to grow a human and then heal from that endeavor was difficult; I've ridden the majority of my life and as a result, my life completely revolved around it so now not only was the only constant for the better part of my life amiss, I suddenly had to learn how to become a mother. Through all that, I gained a new appreciation for all that riding brings to my life. It's so incredibly easy to get caught up in chasing goals, ribbons and titles but when your path in life changes, so can your perspective.
The weather's been sort-of conducive to riding in a small patch in the hay field (although my arena is pretty much ready now) and Sierra has been an absolute dream. I am so incredibly out of shape but it's slowly coming back to me and I'm becoming more and more comfortable and confident each ride that passes. I've only ridden three times so far and while we are both terribly out of shape, it's been so enjoyable and the Queen has been superb.
At this point I feel like I know Sierra inside and out for the most part, and when ever she has time off she gets very crooked. We both struggle to track right, and her go-to is to drift her hind end to the inside, and buldge her shoulder to the outside. It feels rather strange to ride, but she's relatively easy to correct - it's just... constant. There's a ton of exercises I can do to help it, but it often feels so repetitive and mundane and it can become rather boring, but it's a catch 22 because it's almost improved with fitness. Currently, I'm working on my own position and reminding myself to ride forward with confidence. At this point in the walk and trot I'm asking Sierra to stretch into the contact and we've had some steps of lovely swing. The canter is a hot mess, which is our weak point in general, so at this point short of correcting her from doing her best llama impression I'm just trying to soften my lower back and pelvis and allowing her to flow forward... lawd, I need work.
Lucky for me, weather pending, we have a clinic at my house in two weeks, and even though we are embarassingly out of shape, I am so excited to get the ball rolling and get back on track and keep enjoying Sierra!