When one hole feels like one mile
April 17, 2012 Leave a comment
We tried a little something different in my lesson last night, and I’m feeling it today.
We started out doing a little sitting trot, which isn’t something I work on much, but as we warmed up walking, I had a really nice walk going from Derby, and I commented to Christy that his active walk (and following it with my seat) was just what my achy, crampy self needed.
She had me essentially “follow” with my seat into a trot, closing my legs and inviting the upward transition with my seat. Then as we got going, Christy had me feel (and control) my seatbones, un-clamp my knees and relax my lower leg, draping my calves around the horse. While I’ve sat the trot before, last night was the first time I feel like I really started to get an inkling of how to sit the trot effectively. And by inkling I do mean fleeting glimpse, but it was still an “ah-ha” moment for me. With Christy’s coaching, I was able to follow with my seat and get Derby to round a bit. And then the burn started. I knew I was doing it right and engaging my core when suddenly my lower abs started to burn. It felt like I was doing micro-crunches in time with Derby’s stride. It was a cool feeling and I can’t wait to work on this a bit more and get to the point where I can actually sit effectively. In reality, this is stuff I won’t need for, oh years (in terms of competition) but it was still cool to do, and importantly, the exercise got me in touch with my seatbones. We did some walk-halts, with me just shifting the angle of my seatbones (really, that was it) and each time Derby halted nicely – on contact, square and balanced.
As promised, I did drop my stirrups while doing some of the sitting work. I really need to learn not to do stuff that gives Christy ideas, because she liked the way my leg looked when I dropped the stirrups.
I’ve been riding with them a bit short, because I was having some issues with my hip locking up, which then stilled my seat and caused me to arch my back. Christy has had me work with a bit shorter leather, and that has done the trick. She dropped my stirrups a hole, and had me give it a try.
It’s amazing what a difference that hole made. It may as well have been a mile. Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic, I know ,but really it did effectively put my leg in a whole new position, moving my knee off my saddle’s knee block and changing my hip angle. Posting felt very weird at first. Christy had me focus on posting in a more upright posture, thinking of rising straight from my hips. She also had me keep my calves wrapped softly around Derby’s sides. It wasn’t pretty and didn’t feel good, but I’m going to stick with it. Better now than never! I feel much better with the longer leather – it’s easier on my knees, and, as Christy noted, it puts me in the position the saddle was was designed for. It’s never fun messing with your position but I know it will feel better soon. In the meantime, I’m feeling the effects of last night’s ride in my legs today. More Advil, please!