Sunday, November 16, 2008

My legs hurt, therefore I must be doin' it right. Right?

Oh, Cersei update first. She's fine :) Yesterday she snored on her back til about 11:30 am, then demanded we go play. It sleeted on us on the way to the field but I was undaunted. I cannot disappoint my dog. (It stopped sleeting before we got out there, and it just stayed drizzly while we were there.)

I took Champ on a slow trail ride. Cersei was remarkably more attentive about where the horse was and had a great time.

Today was back to work with Valentine, the paint pony. I'm really enjoying working with her because she's such a challenge in so many ways. It takes a good 10 minutes for me to get her to pay me any attention at all! I have to get my rein aids just perfect, and my leg aids just perfect, and stay balanced, and keep from locking my joints up, and it's HARD. When I get it all right, she'll do what she's supposed to, but she expects at least 95% perfection from me.

My elbows were good at the trot. Not quite automatic, but lots better than last week.

I am another step closer to getting my legs sorted. I've been struggling for weeks now with the act of "putting more leg on" - when I try to squeeze with my calves, my toe rotates out away from the horse. I just knew that was incorrect but I never could figure out how to activate the right muscles. Today I had Hardy show me (again!) "leg" and I kept trying to imitate him til I finally got it.

Then, with the right leg signal, I was able to get Val to trot, and then I was able to post and still keep her going forward and for a brief glorious half-circle I was posting, keeping her impulsion up, keeping her bent with the right rein aids, AND my hands were staying still. It was excruciatingly painful!

(Note: It wasn't "oh I'm ripping my knees apart" pain, it was very clearly "muscles I have never developed before being dragooned into work" pain.)

Anyway, it all fell apart after that half-circle, but I got a couple more trot sets in, and a few more very nice bends, and I have a definite new goal. Get those strange new inner-leg muscles to work for me!


  1. Glad that Cersei is OK. I am a big fan of the School of That'll Learn Ya when it comes to animal training, and it sounds like she came away from the incident with a new respect for the horses.

    Yes, dressage hurts. I really enjoy how most serious dressage riders look the same from the waist down -- a relatively uniform set of hard muscles that the rest of us rarely use.

  2. Valentine sounds a lot like trying to get Gene to do dressage - if you don't ask just right you get the middle hoof and are ignored. Rick loved it because it made him a better rider in a shorter amount of time. He was such a good teacher.

    Oh, and yeah, I got a blog...

  3. dp - Here's hoping I get less fat with more hard muscles! I mean, I've obviously been using the wrong ones all along, but about a month after I got the horses, I went up a thigh-size and down a waist-size in pants. I don't really mind... but everything needs a belt. :(

    Sara - Yeah, I think Val will be a good tea-SARA! SARA HAS A BLOG! Hell yeah!

  4. HI ya!
    Wow, hope you get back on track soon...that is no fun with the growing pains again!
    Hate those!
    Gotta get some of those hard muscles DP talks about!I'm curvy..
    and not so I could bench-press tons though!
    Gald the pup will survive..some have the horse savvy smart and some just don't.


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