I recently got to use my volunteer voucher for a cross-country schooling at Poplar Place. Through my fantastic military network, a friend of a friend was able to meet me out there and give me a lesson. But, the real tell was watching the videos afterward: in slow motion. It’s amazing the things we do in the saddle without even realizing it. For example, I drop my hands and collapse my upper body right in front of the jump. Every time. After it was pointed out, I sat up noticeably better, but I was still hollowing my upper body and dropping my hands. No wonder Johnny jumps like crap–I’m not riding him all the way to the fence! When I do ride him correctly, he responds by giving me a good jump. Funny how that works…. At least I’m aware that my hip is partially to blame. I literally can’t close my hip angle because of the FAI, so I’ve learned to compensate by throwing my shoulders forward. I get that. The good news is that when I come back, I plan on addressing this issue like a beginner taking lessons for the first time. I’m hoping the surgery will help my dressage seat as well. It’s hard to know just how the hip affects my riding without riding, but I guess we’ll see after the surgery.
In the meantime, I’ve got one week left, and I plan on getting every last ride I can before I go under the knife. I still have 2 more XC schooling vouchers, and maybe I can squeeze in another dressage lesson as well.