Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hot to Trot

The weather took enough of a break for my side saddle enthusiasm to renew. I loaded the car, did my stretches and headed out. I think I've found a new muscle. As far as I can tell, it's called the gluteus medius. It's not used to stretching, and it's not happy. It ached and cramped all night, but is limbering up pretty well now. My abductors and adductors are a little sore, but they have nothing to complain about since they have to work at the gym almost daily and should be prepared. I also have a sore rectus femoris. In other words, the back of my right thigh burns right above my knee. I'm editing to add a bit, as the day wears on... my right seat bone made a tender mooshy spot in my fat, and my right calf is tight.

The good news is, my balance, hips, and shoulders seem to be taking care of themselves fairly naturally. Apparently, I'm not at immediate risk of falling off. The bad news is, I have no more control over my lower legs than usual, and it has been decades since I worried about equitation. I think I did much better with my right leg, but it required about 80% of my concentration.

I started out with a little walking, but that is getting boring and my horse needs some exercise. The saddle still feels like it is twisting left. I kept tightening the balance strap, and it took three tries to get it back to the hole it belongs on. I put a weight tape on Grey last week, and he is up at least 50 pounds since Christmas, but he took the balance strap with no complaints. Once I felt confident that the saddle was staying put, albeit a little wonky feeling, we moved on to the trot.

I concentrated on pulling my right ankle back and pointing my toe, and it's amazing how that secures you to the saddle. I feel pretty easy as far as balance, and began asking Grey to move out more. He was a little startled to actually feel the whip for a change.

But, as you see in the above photo where I snapped him and he scooted, my left leg doesn't stay under me well. This is NOT an issue exclusive to aside riding. I also concentrated on not sitting back on my pockets, which helps with the overall saddle fit. In fact, I've been practicing that during the day at my office. The difference in square foot coverage of a fanny when you straighten your back and tip your hips is remarkable.

Kathie, who sold me the saddle, recommended before she even shipped it that I find a corset to ride in. I've been shopping the internet for them a bit (actually kind of fun) and figured I might as well get something I might use even if it doesn't help my riding. So, since I don't have a corset to ride in yet, I dug out my old lower back support and wore that. I do think it helps.

Also, I feel more secure circling right than left. I don't know if this is my balance or my horse's. I am really looking forward to spring so I can get outside and ride in a straight line.


  1. Brita, I was going to say that your saddle doesn't look too short for you at all! when my saddle comes back, I'm going to practice sitting like that too and see if I can't lose some of my lard arse.

    With the saddle twisting to the left, it probably just needs building up under your left thigh. This is most often where flocking is needed!

    In a nearside side saddle, riding on the right reins feels ALOT more comfier than on the left rein. LOL, in an off-side, it's the opposite but Hattie seems to like it better!

    I had to wear a corset (a proper Victorian one!) for a year in 2006- 2007 due to my L5/S1 discs in my back. I rode side saddle and astride on a Arab I had on loan. A full length corset is NOT comfortable to ride in as it comes too low but you need a shorter one (which is why the Victorians had special riding corsets which were cut shorter and higher in the hips than a normal day wear corset). My friend who is a corset maker, made me a reproduction of a red and black riding corset that I had a picture of in one of my books on antique clothing and I wore that everyday.

    I still have it now and sometimes when my back and hip are playing up, I put it on as it helps to rest the bones inside of my body (an exo-skeleton instead of an internal one!).

    I'm a big fan of corsets and used to collect antique ones as well. I had a number of original riding ones too, they were beautiful.

  2. My back support rides up onto my ribs, so probably something like a "longline bra" is appropriate for riding corsets as well.

  3. Also, I'm clipping photos of my position and lining them up in a progression. I'm already beginning to see little improvements. It will be interesting to post in another month or so and get critiques (which are welcome anytime).

  4. Back supports are useless. They are designed for men's bodies which do not go in at the waist. I had one and ended up giving it to the Salvation Army as it rode up too.

    A proper boned hourglass corset is what our bodies are designed for, they don't ride up at all!

    I wore mine with my sports bra and it worked a treat.

  5. That looks like a lot of fun. I'd probably fall on my head or go over backwards. I give you a lot of credit for trying something different. Grey is absolutely gorgeous.

  6. You both look great! I agree with Leila that your saddle looks like a reasonable fit for you. Yes, maybe an additional inch would be ideal, but it falls within acceptable parameters.
    Once you get the hang of it, the success comes more quickly. Better start shopping for a habit!

  7. You & Grey look fantastic! So glad to hear it's going better! I think the first couple rides are frustrating to for everyone, once you're past that it's clear sailing.

    I've often thought of getting a riding corset as I tend to hunch my upper body and end up with horrifically sore shoulders/upper back. I think a corset might help keep me tall and give some extra support and prevent being so sore after riding.

  8. I wonder.....

    Note to self: Try leaping head in the further back hole and see if that helps my left leg position.

  9. Shifting the leaping head will definitely help your left leg. Even for jumping cross country I don't use the upper hole.

    Dover sells an upper body brace called "Shoulders Back", which kind of figure eights around your shoulders and keeps them open. It's very comfortable, and I wear mine even when doing barn work.

  10. I found with my Whippy when I had it on the lower hole, that it made my butt hang off the saddle too much!! :p

  11. I've got one of those shoulder's back things and it does seem to help, although I think I'm still getting used to it. I find I'd rather wear it overtop of a long sleeved shirt than underneath or it rubs my arms along the edges.