20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes …


I finally got back on a horse tonight – after a two week hiatus since our last ride – a good one which spawned the “Balancing Rein” post.  To say I was happy would be really understating things.   Mads felt great, and we got right to work once I had stretched out a bit and reconnected with all the muscles I hadn’t used while grounded.

We had a lesson with Christy,  who threw down the gauntlet by saying “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pick up where we left off?”  I made non-committal noises.   I usually ride like a sack of freaking potatoes after time away from the barn.   That said, I had taken some measures against complete atrophy while I was away.  When I wasn’t laid up with the flu, I worked out,  and did lots of squats with my toes turned slightly inward, to stretch and strengthen my hip muscles – those same muscles I’ve been working on developing in the saddle to support my new, improved seat.

And it paid off – somewhat.  My legs felt good and looked great, according to Christy.  I wasn’t poking my toes out to the sides — I was keeping my leg softly against the side of the horse.  That was good.   However, after the first set of trot work, I was starting to feel winded.  I stole a glance at the clock!  7:20! I had been riding just 20 minutes!

Oh, Lord. I was going to be a long night. I couldn’t believe it.

But at least we were managing to pick up close to where we left off.  We practiced spiral in and spiral out, working on managing Mads when she leans on one rein.  Christy had me soften the inside rein repeatedly while really holding the outside rein.   We had some nice moments, but this still needs some work.   I need to use my leg more actively to get the mare into the outside rein, and be faster with releasing when she softens on the inside.

Anyway, I kept sneaking glances at the clock.  Christy caught me this time. It was just 7:30, and I could feel my face reddening and my shirt growing more damp under my fleece.

By 7:40, I was done.

I suppose this is good from the standpoint that at least we know I’m really riding, using my whole body, and not merely going along as a passenger. And I now ride like this out of habit.   So that’s cool.

But man, it’s discouraging to be so wiped out after such a short ride.    Onward and upward.  The mare got a few extra alfalfa cubes in her mare mush.  Hope she’s ready to go tomorrow!

My plan for the rest of the week?  Cruise around in two-point and do lots of posting tomorrow night, and really try to get some endurance back.  Subject myself to Christy for lessons on Wednesday and Thursday.

About Sarah Skerik
Sarah Skerik is an experienced digital business executive and strategist with a long track record of success in team leadership, employee development, marketing and business development.

3 Responses to 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes …

  1. I’m so with you on the fitness thing, AND working on hip angle/toes in (after I saw a picture of myself-eek, it looked like I was trying to take flight with those toes!). So I totally understand your pain:) I thought I was doing fairly well as I was cruising around the arena at the trot the other day, only to realize I’d been riding a whopping 20 minutes, lol. Sigh…we’ll get there! It still sounds like a great ride for having 2 weeks off!

  2. Jessica Boyd says:

    Just found your blog on Miles on Miles (Sarah’s) blog. Good stuff!

    I would collect Thoroughbreds if I could, but one is enough for me (for now).

    Love the detail about seat and position, and I think I’ll have to try those toe in squats. My toes like to be facing out, too.

    Great photos and videos, too. Adds a lot to what you’re saying.

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