Last night I had my lesson in a snow covered field and it was pretty darn good. I rode Mc and even though the snowy ground felt super sticky like deep sand, we had some good learning moments. We were trotting around to warm up and my trainer asks me if I can feel that he is a little off on his left hind. Of course, I didn’t even notice. I was still trying to adjust to the already odd sensation of the different footing. We trotted again to see if now that she pointed it out I could feel what she saw. I could feel it then. It was a definite drop on the left side of his body like my left hip was falling in a hole on his back. I couldn’t feel it before, but as we were warming up I could feel that most of his ribcage was pushing into my right calf and he was very resistant to bend to the right. Well, it’s the same darn thing isn’t it? Just a different part of the same straightness issue. He looks “off” and his left hip dips because he’s got all of his weight shoved up onto the right shoulder. I didn’t think that crookedness could manifest as “appearing slightly lame” but it makes perfect sense. I had just read a section in Horse Listening: Stepping Forward to Effective Riding about common causes of stiffness and the tips stuck with me and were totally reaffirmed during my lesson. In working to correct the crookedness, simultaneously addressing the weak left hind, we did what is also suggested in the book, which was to ride the stiff side in both directions. Imagining counter-bend tracking left most of the time just created straightness, not really much of a counter-bend at all, and it definitely helped redistribute the weight so Mc’s left hind was back to doing its fair share.
I had some difficulty with the canter. Tracking right was fine but again tracking left I would get him set up, ever-so-slightly counter-bent and when I would go to apply my leg aids to ask for the canter he would shove his ribcage right and pick up the wrong lead. After a couple unsuccessful transitions I more firmly kept my right leg on and didn’t allow that last-second change of bend and we finally got a couple good ones.
-Like in Horse Listening, “obsess over straightness” and “work the stiff side in BOTH directions”
-riding in the snow feels kinda BA
-It ALMOST stayed light out for my entire lesson
In other news…
I am meeting Tyco’s owner on Sunday to sign my lease!!! The literary gods must have read my terrible poetry 😉