So today I decided to do something new. I brought out his bridle (with my newly fixed leather reins) and the helmet, and the riding crop and all the grooming supplies. Brought him down. Brushed his back and legs and belly and brushed out his mane, got his bridle and my helmet on, got him next to the chair, and got on board bare back.
Now, this was my first actual bareback ride. I mean, I've ridden bareback before, but always I was riding double (and had someone in front to hold on to) or someone leading from the ground, where I could hold on to the mane with both hands. This time was way different. Because I was in control and the only one on his back, I couldn't hold on to anything or anyone. So I had to use my legs and butt and core to stabilize and hold my balance. This was a challenge. It was really hard to do! So I ended up just letting him stand around and graze for a while, while I got used to the way he moved and how to hold myself in that transition between movement and stillness. After a while I asked him to move out of the back paddock and into the back yard. Then after mozying around there for a while, we went to the front, walked around the woods there. We spent some time working on moving off of leg pressure. And then we were in the front yard, grazing again, and dad walks out with his camera... just in time to see Siaga LAY DOWN with me on his back. At first I thought he was going to roll, but he just laid there and grazed. So dad took some pictures of me taking advantage of this and sitting all over him. Should have laid on his back. :)
And then when it became clear Siaga wasn't going to get up, dad came over and got the reins and I leaned forward over his shoulders and held on to his mane for dear life. Up he scrambled and I nearly fell off but held on. And then after dad went back inside, damn horse did it again. The thing is, his 'lay down' is so smooth that I didn't, honest to God, feel a single thing when he went down pretty much until my feet were on the ground. Up is a different story. Second time, I sat there and pulled back on the reins to keep his head up and his nose out of the grass and popped him on the hip and up he went again. That one was a little better, managed to stay on still. Then we went around the yard a little more and back to the back lot.
I also noticed in the first few minutes, that my legs are long enough that, without a saddle between us, I can touch my toes together, just barely, under his belly! That made me giggle. :D