Rusty Stirrup

Lock it Down

This week I decided to work on me. Instead of focusing on how Luc

By: Rusty Stirrup |

I focus on holding my lower leg in the correct position.

I focus on holding my lower leg in the correct position.

This week I decided to work on me. Instead of focusing on how Luc was going (or not going!), I had Jen, Luc’s owner and my sister, examine my position as I worked on ensuring I’m keeping my leg steady at all gaits and over fences. It may be a direct result of seeing some less than stellar jumping photos of myself recently where my leg was swinging wildly!

I started at the halt, having Jen make sure my ears, shoulders, hips and heels were in proper alignment. After a few minor adjustments to bring my lower leg back in alignment, I moved into a two-point position, also at the halt. Boy is that hard! My secondary motive was to work on those muscles since I know they’re a little weak. Trying to hold myself steady proved just how far I still have to go in terms of muscle strength.

From the halt it was on to holding my position, both in the saddle and in two-point, at the walk. I managed to hold my position fairly well. The only catch being I could really only hold it at the two-point for about three quarters of the way around the arena before I had to come back down. I also needed to focus on sticking my bum out, instead of just tipping my shoulders forward. Looks like I’ll be working on hip angles in the future as well.
Testing my position in the trot proved to be a bit more challenging. Not only because it’s a bouncier movement, but also because Luc was getting a little worked up in the arena. There was a lot of commotion going on inside and outside the barn and he was a little twitchy and spooky thanks to all of the extra noise.

By this point my legs were beginning to burn thanks to spending so much time in two-point. Then it was on to the canter. Yikes! It took some more focused attention to make sure I was keeping my leg steady, especially considering Luc chose this gait to start playing – shaking and tossing his head, humping his back during every stride down the long side, and speeding past the scary end. I did the best I could, but know there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Since there was a small cross rail already setup, I decided to take Luc over it. I trotted him down in one direction, taking my two-point several strides out to see if I could hold it properly. My outside leg slid ever so slightly back, but not too bad overall. I trotted it twice in each direction and then decided to try it at the canter.

As I was walking Luc on a loose rein examining the track I planned to take, he exploded. All four legs came off the ground in what Jen described as a deer leap crossed with a Lipizzaner airs above the ground move! When his feet came back down to Earth he bolted—as much as Luc ever does, which was about three strides. I don’t think my position was very good for that!

I have no idea what set him off, but it passed almost as quickly as it started, so it was back to work. I picked up a canter and headed down to the small fence, again getting into two-point early to ensure I could hold it and keep my lower leg steady.

My leg slid a little more than it had at the trot. The same thing happened in the other direction, but I decided to call it there. My legs were tired, and I was fairly certain my position was only going to continue to get worse the more tired my muscles got.

Overall, I’m relatively happy with how I was able to hold my position. It’s something I plan to continue working on, and hopefully as I work on it, I’ll develop better muscle strength, and get to a point where I don’t have to concentrate so hard on holding it.