Bareback December continues apace. I've started adding some short canter stretches in - down a long side, around a 20m circle. My seat is fine, but I'm staying limited in what I do more for schooling purposes than anything else. I don't want to do anything that isn't good just because I'm riding bareback. I'm pushing myself to really be both flexible and strong in my core during the sitting trot, and to really get him to move out rather than settling on a shuffle.
That's been both good and bad. Tris has always been the kind of horse that's warmed up better after some canter, but I've been reluctant to canter bareback with the ring so crowded - I don't want to be that person who makes a dumb decision and then has a loose horse in the busy ring! So I've been forced to get my sitting trot better, faster, so his back loosens up faster.
Yesterday afternoon was about 50 minutes of walk and trot, with some canters thrown in. I felt like I made progress both with how deep I was sitting at the trot and how I was paying close careful attention to his body and where his spine was underneath me as we did some leg yields and smaller circles both at the walk and the trot.
The result? Today I'm a bit sore through my thighs and abs. Riding has been my primary - and often sole - form of exercise for over half my life now. It takes quite a lot to really get me sore from riding, since my muscles are all formed for that purpose. I may overwork certain muscle groups but it's rare that I'm discovering new ones. It's kind of exciting to be a bit sore, as it means I'm really accessing new things and working hard.
Tonight the plan is to longe, and then Wednesday off. I should be able to get some good rides in both before and after Christmas, always excepting possible weather interference. The end of December is looking much better than the beginning!