Did get in a fun bareback ride in one evening this week. Happily, my horse is very comfortable without a saddle. It was liberating to just throw on the bridle and clamber up without a lengthy grooming session. I concentrated on feeling how his back moved under my seat without a bunch of leather in between. Amazing how the saddle gets in the way of riding. Of course the leather and pads do keep the dirt and sweat off of you - my legs were soaked and filthy by the time we finished the ride. (I haven't gotten a bareback pad yet... it's on my wish list)
I think Val would say that we're making great progress in our relationship. (me too!) For instance, I have finally figured out all of his scratching places - "arm"pits, belly, either side of the tail head, his poll and of course the withers. He hinted pretty hard until I picked up on what he was telling me lol. Several days this week he cantered up to the fence to greet me (!) and e-v-e-n rested his head on my shoulder while I gave him some good scratching. He genuinely seemed happy to see me, not just "Oh - here comes the lady to apply more fly spray" or "Finally - breakfast / dinner is here!". Very gratifying...
One more thing - a quasi (and unsolicited) product endorsement. Val has been on SeaBuck Complete - a supplement made from the common sea buckthorn plant - for nearly six weeks. The latin name for the sea buckthorn plant is Hippophae rhamnoides which literally means "shiny horse". It is a hardy plant that grows in inhospitable climates, one of which is by the sea, because it can withstand salt spray. Seems appropriate since we live in that sort of environment.
The manufacturers make these claims:
- Supports a Healthy Digestive Function & Maintains a Proper Gut pH
- Contains a Powerful Network of Antioxidants
- Promotes Healthy Skin & Coat
- Supports a Healthy Reproductive function
- Seabuck Complete is made from the nutrient-rich sea buckthorn berry.
- Seabuck Complete is a natural whole-food product.
- Sea buckthorn is backed by over 200 Published Scientific Studies.
- Seabuck Complete has received a Certificatation of Analysis Containing No Foreign Substances.
We give SeaBuck Complete the thumbs up. Val loves the taste of it... I put it into his beet pulp / bran mash every night. He is indeed shinier, which is hard to achieve on a grey horse. He has also put on the bit of weight I thought he was lacking... just a tad too much rib and kind of hollow in his haunches. It is a little pricey but seems to be a safe way to supplement the essential fatty acids + antioxidants, and to keep a calm, happy horse.
Will update after the trial period is over :)