This week I was totally on fire. Not in the sense that I’m doing amazingly awesome, more in the sense that I took away my own stirrups again this week and my legs were burning by the end of my ride. I decided after last week’s jumping fun it was time to do some actual hard work, so once I was on Luc and it was clear he was willing to a) at least pretend to go forward, and b) not freak out about anything, I dropped my stirrups and crossed them over the front of the saddle.
I then meandered around the ring, putting off actually doing anything that required my leg muscles – which kind of defeated the whole ride without stirrups and build strength thing. After five minutes of putting off the inevitable, I finally asked Luc to move forward into the trot. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I alternated between posting trot and sitting trot, mostly because I just don’t have the strength to continuously post without stirrups.
I asked for some lateral work, and Luc was more than happy to oblige. We did a few shoulder-ins and leg yields in each direction and then it was on to the canter. I felt solid and strong, a far cry from the unbalanced and slightly unsure rider I was a year ago.
Then I decided to try some two-point. And nope, that just isn’t going to happen without stirrups right now! I couldn’t even get my butt out of the saddle. I’ll add it to the list of things to work on.
One good thing did come out of today’s ride, besides just my burning and aching legs. Thanks to all the weight I’ve lost, coupled with getting back into riding, I’m really starting to notice more muscle and toning in my calves. I might have finally noticed because my half chaps are now so loose they twist and bunch down near my ankles when I ride. I think it might finally be time to invest in a smaller pair!
Another high point this week was when I went back to my summer camp days. Luc had been so good and was relaxed at the end of our ride that I decided it was time for me to try an around the world. I haven’t done one since I was a kid, but somehow I thought it would be a good idea. I forgot how hard it is to get your leg over and around the saddle. Or maybe it was so hard because Luc was trying his best to shove me off with his nose. Every time I would move partway around, he would nicker, which was great, and then nudge my foot, which was not so great.
On the bright side, I only got stuck once, and managed to get myself unstuck after some wiggling and shifting. Man, I don’t remember around the worlds being this hard! I’m sure I used to practically spin around the saddle when I was younger. In the end I did finally manage to get all the way around, and as an added bonus I only accidentally kicked Luc once. I even got more nickers when I got off. I do love the nickers!