Right now both my horse and I are trying to get back into our tip top riding shape. I was in my top form in 2002 when Kaswyn and I won our first National Championship. Soon afterwards I got pregnant with my first daughter, Lily. I was just getting back into the swing of things when I got pregnant with Macey. I've been riding again for 6 months and it's a hard road back. I've picked up all the bad habits that I had when I was a weaker rider. Mostly my left leg vexes me. It's not as strong as it should be, and it doesn't stay where I put it. It tends to creep upwards and back too far, making it easy for my horse to ignore it. Which, of course, is super frustrating. He tends to be too far over the left side anyway, and bulges his shoulders left and gets too crooked. I need a stronger left leg to help straighten him out. But my stupid left leg is feels blind and dumb. I'm constantly telling it "Stay THERE. Push HARDER. Can you HEAR ME??!" and it does what it wants.
This does not help us in our half-passes right. Or left either, but mostly right. He just gets so far over the left side that he can't really go right. And my left leg is nothing to him. Or was, until about a month ago. I finally said "Ok, when I put the leg on, you MOVE." It took a few sessions of me really getting on his case when he blew my leg off, but he finally gets it. Now we need to work on the quality of our half-passes. Sure, he moves right, but now I want dynamic, reaching, flowing strides. Yeah, I know. Very demanding. It's hard work, but still fun.
Kaswyn is getting back in shape after being half-leased for a year. When I was pregnant my trainer rode him too, and when I started riding again I split the time with the leaser. The lady leasing him was a beginner rider, and he lost a lot of his muscling and stamina. He also started being uneven and crooked. We tried lots of different things to fix the problem (bute, ice boots, injecting around the pastern, even scoping his stomach), but ultimately what made my horse better was stopping the lease, injecting his hocks, and having just me ride him. I was really nervous about injecting his hocks. I know a lot of dressage horses have it done, but I was hesitant about going into the joints unless I absolutely had to. And I must say that it's made all the difference in the world. I was afraid at first, because over a week went by after the injections and he still did not feel right. Had I made a mistake here? But now he feels great! Straight (well, as straight as he ever was), even strides, eager to work again. We just need to build back up. We only work for about 35 minutes right now, but I want to try and hit an hour so we can do a lesson. Hopefully next month at the new place!
The Harmany Muzzle
3 days ago