Back in the saddle again

Today is an absolutely gorgeous day–the kind that used to prompt me to skip class so I could go ride! There’s been a healthy breeze blowing all morning, so the barn aisle was downright cool as we groomed Johnny. My new working student has arrived; L hails from Indiana, and she’s going to care for Johnny while I’m gone for annual training.

All the lungeing work Johnny’s done lately has developed new muscling, and since we’ve found hay he’ll actually eat, he looks a lot like a hunter–sleek and round. Even better, he’s been doing lots of long and low work, building up his topline. L needs to build lower leg strength and stability, so I’ve put her on the lunge as well. Many instructors teach students to “rise and fall with the leg on the wall” and describe posting as “up, down, up, down,” but the truth is, posting is more of a forward swing with the hips following the horse’s motion. As the thrust of his hindquarters push your seat out of the saddle, your job is to let your hips swing forward and control them so that you don’t slam down onto the horse’s back. If you’re pushing off your stirrups in an up-down motion, you’re getting left behind. Once I explained that, L’s posting ability improved dramatically–which made Johnny very happy.

And, my doctor cleared me this week to begin riding, so following L’s lesson, I’ve been hopping on, tooling around at the walk. Today, I checked out the connection–hoping the side reins work had helped. It was hard to accomplish much at the walk, but I do still have some muscle in my legs, so I was able at least to get him straight in the connection, and we did a few successful figure 8s before I hopped down. Baby steps right now!

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