dressage, equestrian, lunge lesson, riding lessons, stirrups

My Stupid Legs

Today’s lesson was about my stupid legs.

Acting independently from my brain — who is supposed to be in charge — my legs pinch or pull up and my feet dangle in the stirrups. Rising trot is fine. Sitting trot, bleck.

I love sitting trot. I bounce along in motion with my horse, happy with or without stirrups. In fact, happier without stirrups – because they point out the problem.

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I discuss the issue with Natalie at the start of our lesson and she says, “It sounds like a good day for a lunge lesson!”

Gasp.

Micah seems mortified to have to wear lunging equipment for no good reason. He’s a well-behaved, nicely-trained horse who deserves an adequate rider. We’re going back to kindergarten. You can see his eyes rolling around in his head (which is hard to do from the saddle, but I can feel it), as he wonders what in the world is going on.

Having my reins taken from me makes me feel helpless. Naked. But I know it’s the right thing to do. Improve the rider to improve the horse.

Micah dutifully trots in a circle while I sit his trot, trying to keep the stirrups under the ball of my foot. This is using all 12 of my brain cells at once – steam rises from the top and sides of my helmet, indicating profound thought.

Ultimately, I think my quads are too tight – probably related to cycling – and as I think of letting them stretch down, my legs improve. Still, I can only maintain if for a few strides at a time.

I go back to the rising trot for a few strides when I start to lose the stirrups, sit again and try to maintain them.

“You made it around an entire circle!,” Natalie says.

Dang! We’re well on our way to the Olympics!

At home, I’ll be stretching those quads. In the arena, I’ll struggle and repeat. In search of a more effective leg position.