Rogue left leg

I had my first lesson back yesterday.

The day was GORGEOUS, especially for November. 65 and sunny. Seriously. Lovely.

Nay was pretty happy and I was…not. I was spooky and reactive to a reactive horse in the ring. I once point when Nay was looking in the direction on this horse but… past it, I mentioned my tension and fear and my trainer was honest. Nay isn’t even looking at the horse, he’s watching the horses in the field beyond the ring who were…drinking water. Yes, I was spooking. Typical me.

Things to stop doing:

  1. Spooking at horses in the ring. It’s bad enough when a horse spooks, we don’t need humans spooking too.

But whatever, this horse scared me. And I was bothered. My trainer basically told me to pick up the canter, she didn’t care what lead I got she just wanted to canter. I wanted to micromanage to get my brain focused on something. Anyway, the horse finished his session and walked and I relaxed (wtf Sarah), pointed to the corner, and evidently picked up the nicest left lead canter transition that my trainer had seen me do since we started having lead issues. So we cantered on half the ring (I refused to go down to the far end until I felt comfortable) and we had no issues (Nay isn’t actually bothered when horses leave the ring either) and that was that.

Anyway, supposedly I need to stop micromanaging because it’s driving Nay crazy. Shocking, right? Lol.

Things to stop doing:

  1. Spooking at horses in the ring.
  2. Micromanaging my horse. This drives him crazy and annoys him immensely. I mean, it annoys me when supervisors micromanage me…

But then there was the right lead. Before we picked up the right lead, I mentioned I’d been struggling. Not necessarily picking up the lead, but just cantering because my right leg feels weak. Supposedly this shouldn’t matter, but I continued that my left leg feels so strong that I feel like I am counter bending.

Evidently, my right leg IS NOT weak, but rather my left leg is the problem. Turns out, my right leg is in the right place, but it feels ineffective as a result of my left leg. I’m riding off of the inside of the calf of my right leg and my toe is pointed forward on my right foot. This is good and correct. This is also why I sometimes have issues getting my right spur on vs left spur because my legs/feet are in two completely separate positions. Shocking, right?

My left leg? I’m riding off the back of my leg/calf which is causing my heel to grip into Nay’s side. I’m also sitting into my left heel which has caused my body to shift over to the left side of my saddle. This makes for my left leg to feel extraordinarily tight, but it turns out, it’s not tight in the right place. My left leg does NOT move. My right leg, on the other hand (foot?), does move/swing, but that is in part because I’ve shifted so far over in the saddle that I can’t keep my leg connected.

Things to stop doing:

  1. Spooking at horses in the ring.
  2. Micromanaging my horse.
  3. Riding with the back of my left calf and sitting on left side of my saddle.

So in order to fix this, we started by first having me sit in all different positions to feel the difference. This was weird. Nay thought we were crazy. We then also had me only focus on the damn left leg and pointing that toe forward which theoretically fixed the calf issue. Every few strides, I was to look down and I identify if I looked straight. Through all of this, Nay was very curious if he really should trot or just walk or stand still. But, he does understand a good cluck and shuffled forward even if confused by my ever-changing position… WTF Mom was his opinion of things…

My homework is to buy some velcro (or procure some from my basement because I’m sure I have some) and velcro my left stirrup to the girth for a few rides. The goal is the build some new muscle memory but also allow the stirrup to safely detach when necessary. I also need to shorten my right stirrup which has been feeling long thanks to sitting on the left side of my saddle. And just work on trotting and cantering until this feels normal.

Overall though, the comments were that Nay looked happy and relaxed. He does get a bit tense/reactive when we make tight turns whereas he’s 100% fine with all straight lines and sweeping turns. So, we need to look into that to determine if it’s an actual problem, muscle weakness, or just some overall body soreness. He’s not lame, just does some head tossing. He used to head toss a lot more but as he got stronger, he stopped so we’re guessing he’s just a little sore as he’s developing muscle. But, we’re also going to pull blood since I haven’t done that in a while and it never hurts to do a regular check for Lyme. And ultimately, if he needs some short-term maintenance, he needs some maintenance. Building strength and muscle is hard. Though fixing my position will help…

5 thoughts on “Rogue left leg

  1. I feel the “stop spooking at other horses” moment. My horse spooked once at another horse coming up behind us, and now I still get tight and nervous when I hear someone coming up fast behind us. I have been spookier than my horse, and his nickname is captain courageous.

    • Nay is reactive but he’s not spooky. So me spooking is…funny. And if he was going to react to that horse in the ring, he’d have done it when we first walked in but he never cared. He got increasingly annoyed at me caring and my tension… lol. #spookyridersunite ?

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