Sunday, June 12, 2011

In Reality

It is so amazing to have you all's support and encouragement regarding the show and finding pieces of equipment. It means a lot. After sleeping on it a few nights, and taking my (merely) 5th ride aside, I am at peace with the decision to pass on the county fair this year. Besides the fact that my workload at the office has basically doubled this spring, I think this year has to be the year of the cow pasture. There are only so many directions my mental energies can go. Maybe next year will be the year of the horse show.

If my horse was a seasoned competitor who could hold up his end of the bargain I wouldn't think twice about it. I've had horses who could run through their horse show responsibilites with an untrained monkey strapped to their back, and they wouldn't have given the hog auction or the tractor pull a second glance. Grey has virtually no idea what happens in a show ring and will be high as a kite (he was last time). I can't worry about his manners, and keeping my rein bight on the right so I don't catch my foot in it at the same time. So, either he's going to need to gain a lot of experience in new places, or I am going to have to become proficient riding aside.

So with that in mind, I saddled up for another ride. This was our first trip outside. At first it felt very foreign (it has been months afterall), but I was determined and the longer I sat up there the more comfy I got. Despite obvious flaws in my position, I felt secure and gained confidence by the minute. I did not feel like I was going to slide off, but I have some easily identifiable issues.

The day before, my riding instructor pointed out that I was sitting on the right side of my saddle (astride) and compensating with my uneven weight distribution by raising my shoulder. Pretty much what you see here. Since I suddenly have similar issues both astride and aside, I'm thinking there is some general gardening fatigue going on in my core and/or lower back. When this photo was taken, we were walking, and I was beginning to turn to the right, so that affects the symmetry of the picture a bit, but I need to get my right seat bone back, and more weight in it.

So much for remembering to keep my pelvis upright... I'm dealing with a bit of an uphill saddle here. I tried my new shims today, and they are not sufficient. I had the saddle much more level before. Not to worry, I have a plan. I am happy to report that my horse is patiently humoring me in what he obviously thinks is the dumbest idea I've ever had. I guess the Magnesium and Vitamin B are kicking in. Not to mention the summer heat. I will remember to wear a spur and bring a crop next time.

My right leg position felt like my strong point. I was suprised that my tall (although not tall enough to be fashionable astride) boots seem to be the best footwear choice yet. For the first time ever, I was happy with their height! I also felt quite secure even at the trot and I'm giving my right leg credit for that. I was able to begin thinking about my left leg position. And what I was thinking was that I had to keep my heel in my horse and that was raising my thigh. I'm also struggling a bit figuring out a comfortable and correct spot for my left hand.

Now this looks OK despite the uphill saddle. I can live with this photo.
(Horse still asleep)

This ride really renewed my enthusiasm and I am eager to continue. It went a heck of a lot better than this poor girl's ride. That video came up on my daily Google search. I was thinking "gee, that pinto horse is a saint to put up with her hands." Then I watched his patience wear thin, and at the end he gives her a really good "screw you".


  1. The jumping?!? I totally empathized with the equine. And wondered at the "instructor"...

    Since they did a lot of circling anyway, the horse(s) would have been much better off on the lunge until she can separate her hands' movements from her body... poor ponies.

  2. It looks as if your saddle is not only riding uphill but needs reflocking under the left panel. Try adding some shims, felt rather than foam.
    If you do decide you want to show this year, give us a holler; we'll get your turnout sorted for the show ring.

  3. You look FANTASTIC!! And I love Mr. Grey, he is just too handsome! You guys are definitly destined for the sidesaddle ring and will be a stunning pair all dressed up!
    I agree with Robin, I think the issue is the flocking, not you. Your just trying to compensate for not having enough padding under the left panel.

    Yeowch, that looked super painful when that girl fell off! Not good!

  4. I've always wanted to try riding astride - bust first I have to get my horse going solid under regular saddle, BTW, your horse is beautiful!

  5. I'm really interested in your blog as I am hoping to learn to ride astride this winter maybe!

  6. FYI, the saddle she's riding was reflocked by Lillian and only ridden twice before Brita got it.