I saddled up today, pulling out Gary's old all-purpose saddle. It's a little small for me, but with a shaped foam pad fits him okay. It was quiet at the barn, all of the trainers off premises, and just myself and one other, so I thought it might be a good time to test out my arena riding.
My seat wasn't bad, I wasn't gripping with my thighs or calves, and my ankles weren't tensed. My shoulders weren't drawn up into my ears, and my jaw wasn't clenched. I had a tension spot at the juncture of the thoracic and lumbar spine, but managed to breathe that away. Still. Gary was recalcitrant, unresponsive. Could it possibly be because I was mind-grumbling the whole time?
I just wanted to play on the track that runs around the facility, and I wanted out of the saddle. Am I using my 'wants' to avoid 'work riding'? Why should I even have to do work riding? Why can't I just think of riding in the arena as play riding? Round and round and round go the thoughts as I resist going round and round. And Gary accompanies me in my resistance.
Loosen the reins, feet out of the stirrups, let's head back for carrots.