Steadying my leg

One of the things I like most about riding with Christy is the myriad ways in which she really makes you think about, feel and internalize what you’re doing.  Tonight, as I was warming at the trot, I asked her (hopefully, I should add) how my lower leg was looking.

“What do you think?” she replied.  Now, with Christy, this is not a rhetorical question, nor is it formulaic. Sometimes you’ll be doing well and sometimes, not.  I thought things felt pretty good, which is how I answered.

Now, when there’s a diplomatic pause, that’s when you know you’re in trouble. I got the pause.  “It looks like you’re kicking him with each beat.”

Damn.  Damn damn DAMN.  I was still keeping way too much weight on the balls of my feet, and while I thought I was holding them still, in reality, that was far from the case.  Here’s a short clip with a perfect illustration.

You can see that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to give precise, quiet aids with all that other movement.  And spurs would be monumentally unfair.

Christy had me post, at the walk, keeping my feet light in the stirrups, which tranferred more of my weight to my inner thighs.  To keep me from pinching with my knees, she had me drop my stirrups and feel which muscles I was using to hold my legs in place, and then had me recreate that feeling when I picked up the stirrups.  As I posted, my leg was still.  My inner things were burning, but my leg was still.

She then had me take that into a trot.  Voila.  Big improvement, as you can see:

However, it wasn’t easy, and I couldn’t sustain it.  I’ll be working very hard on building the strength needed to carry myself properly in the saddle over the next couple weeks.

My legs are already feeling sore after tonight’s ride.  I’m looking forward to being over this particular hurdle!

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.

2 Responses to Steadying my leg

  1. Sarah – often a source of either “floppy leg”, “kick or “pinch knee” syndrome can be that your stirrups are too short. I used to start my warm up with a good 10 min sitting trot. If you have to raise your knee after that to pick up your stirrups they are too short. Thing about lowering them a hole or two.

    Sally Swift/ Peggy Cummings also have great stuff in their Centered Riding/ Connected Riding work about grounding and the importance of pulling that grounding through your stirrups. You might find those an interesting read too.

    I like the other exercises your trainer gave you. Those are very good! Good luck

  2. Steph says:

    I tend to find my lower leg is much more stable when I put less of my foot into the stirrup. Like instead of putting it right across the ball, I put it a bit more forward, sort of like halfway into the hollow under my toes, if that makes sense.

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