Seat’s seat is step number one

File Feb 10, 9 10 28 PMSo, last week Duke was perfectly fine for the lesson before mine, but was off as soon as I was in the tack. We assumed he took a bad step, but when it happened exactly the same way again today, I immediately thought, “It has to be the saddle.” New saddle, new horse.

I was gung-ho today! I wanted to work –hard–I wanted to be sore and tired and out of breath. I was not disappointed.

I have almost no control over where my legs are, while working or at rest. I asked Maggie to pull my leg out, rotate in, and pull it back. It slowly works its way forward and infront of me, but I hope it will work its way back in due time. I have been so concerned about how badly my leg jutted in front of me, how awful my ankles must look, and God forbid, I was pounding on this poor animal’s back, I forgot that I have gentle hands and a pretty decent seat. I tried to hone in on my seat and hands and as long as my legs didn’t hurt and weren’t punishing him, then let them do their thing.

Second breakthrough today was to just get moving – forget where his head is, forget how straight he is, just go! Thank goodness for the grab strap on the new saddle, I spent a few minutes just kicking (but let’s be honest, mostly whip) and flapping in the breeze. The great thing that came out of this is MOMENTUM, once I got him going, I actually had something to frame up. Back to basics, right?!

I also felt like I just need to spend time in the trot to let my body think and remember and figure it out. It really worked! We were moving, we were connected, we were straightening out, and then I could finally think about putting some thought into relaxing those spastic thigh and calf muscles. I need to strengthen my abdomen so I can rotate my pelvis forward. I hope that if I tip the pelvis forward it will drive the thigh back and in turn, the lower leg. If at least the lower leg was in a more appropriate place, it would at least look right and not be a hinderance, even if it’s not effective whatsoever.

After several minutes working in and out of the trot, I was winded, my entire leg was shaking, and my heart was pumping. I had a BEAUTIFUL final minute or so and we quit on a super high. I just lost it; I sobbed. There was a big part of me that thought I’d NEVER do this again, that this stupid disease had robbed this euphoria from me. For several minutes, I laid on Duke’s neck and just cried into his mane. Incredibly happy, triumphant tears. Similar to the ones running down my face now. I can’t believe I have to wait six more days before I’m in the saddle again.