Saturday, July 23, 2011

Plan of Attack

Look at the pretty pictures.

What do they have in common?

I have no leg. Yes, I'm a long-torso-ed person with short legs and that is a disadvantage, HOWEVER, William Fox Pitt has short legs for his height, too. That's not exactly holding him back.

If you examine my upper body position, it's not -that- bad. In fact, in mos pictures from this series, I look ok from the waist up. It's just that my legs are loose, pivoting, swinging, useless. I have strong legs (thank you running), but they aren't helping me ride.

Since I have nothing better to do, I'm plotting my return to riding. I'm still running just as much as I can, but I recognize that when I get back in the saddle, that won't be enough. Changes need to be made.

I'm starting to do pilates at home, which bumps my core strength workout frequency up. AND...

We're going to do no stirrup work. Hours and hours and hours of it. I haven't done it on Izzy at all. At first it was because she was too green and I didn't want to confuse her. She doesn't have that excuse now. Then it was because I was too nervous, too worried. I knew that my balance wasn't what it used to be and I was afraid I would fall off.

Funny thing. I fell off because I didn't practice. My legs weren't good and now I can't ride at all. That's over. In two weeks, I'm mounting up. There won't be stirrups on the saddle.* You're welcome, George Morris. More importantly, I need this. Izzy needs this. For us to gain confidence together now, I need to ride better. I need to be better. I'm going to step it up.

Next time a jumping photo series is taken of Izzy and I, I want to be proud of my position. I want to be riding well. More importantly, I want my ability to ride well to give confidence to both myself and my horse. Getting a saddle that fit us was step #1. #2 is learning to use the crap out of the saddle, and that's where we're headed.

*Ok, there might be stirrups the first day, since I'm thinking I'll take a western day to get my bearings, but then the drills begin.


  1. I'll join you in the no stirrup work... I need it too :)

  2. No stirrups is good. One thing that helped me was to think of your heels as hitting the ground. Not stiff and rigid and shoved down, but flexible and reaching for the ground. 'Land in your heels' is not just an expression, think about your heels hitting the ground before the horse does when you land. Good to be making plans and getting back to work soon.

  3. Again, may I suggest you practice your jumping position on a barrel or something else you can straddle. You need to learn to close your upper body down with your leg forward, which means flexibility in your waist, hip area. Plant your feet on the ground and close your body down until the position becomes natural

    When you get back in the saddle, practice two point with your leg under you and then close down into jumping position at the walk. It's not easy, actually, without the momentum of the jump to help. You need to practice it until it becomes HABIT.

    I went off once and ended up breaking my wrist all because I let my leg to back like that. No seat when your leg is not under your body.

  4. No stirrups sounds like a great idea :) Also, your horse is SO CUTE.

  5. I like the word plotting... hehe :)

    Not trirrups is great. Gridwork is also great for you LEGS, yes, it's true (also good for you horse I might add) Lunge lessons are also terrific, if your horse is good on the line, or maybe find a very well schooled horse you don't need reins on, so you ONLY ride with your legs.

    I totally agree with the pilates, we actually have a 'horse pilates' class at college, helpe out alot, and was fun to!

    And remember, be flexable (everywhere) or your horse won't be. :)

  6. I've started dropping my stirrups for a few minutes during my flat work every ride too... there is definitely nothing like it for getting your legs tight! Also, when you do go back to jumping, maybe try shortening your stirrups a hole or two. I found that really helped me get my legs underneath me where they belong, as I have a tendency to let it swing back (a lot like your position in the 3rd photo).

  7. I'm prepping for no-stirrup work (I also need to tighten my lower leg) by riding in two point, really feeling my inner thighs taking my weight, and letting my feet lighten in the irons. Looking forward to seeing you back in the saddle!


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