JK, The Problem is Me

JK, The Problem is Me

The good news? The baby horse blues is over for the time being. Po has been a fantastic citizen so far this week. I hacked on my own Monday, and he gave me a really consistent, solid effort. On Tuesday I had a lesson, and again he showed up to try (although he told us he was vewy, vewy tired and a little butt sore from all the trying).

His good behavior on Tuesday was extra special because I pulled him out right before dinner time and the weather was whacky with a temp drop and storms coming in later that night. I rewarded his good choices with cookies, kisses, Theraplate, liniment and wrapping. Although to be fair, he gets the majority of those things even if he makes bad choices… but we both enjoy them more after a good ride.

On Monday, I brought out my new toy–a Pivo. Although I accidentally bought the red instead of the silver, it does the job for what I need it to… although if it could zoom more or smooth out that’d be better (appreciate any tips Pivo people). When I got home, I immediately dove into the videos and was both impressed and, well, illuminated.

The first thing that jumped out at me was how much my right leg swings. Though both my knees are bad, my right one is by far the worst. It’s the one I had surgery on a few years ago, and routinely hurts at the beginning of a ride/the next day after riding. A lot of PT helped last summer with the post-riding pain, but I have protected this leg in the saddle for years. As a result of that, I keep less weight on that heel and the leg goes swing swing swing. I can’t feel it in the saddle, but man I can see it now. Not impressed.

Trainer told me not to focus on this, because I will obsess over my right leg and abandon the rest of the picture. I’ve been riding with her for less than a month and she’s already figured out I’m a spazz (whoops). She’s right, but I’m trying to still the beast if you will.

A positive change is Poet’s trot. He’s already a lot stronger. Our “starting” trot looks like this:

Look at me just pulling on that inside rein and my horse telling on me

His working trot, or what us hunters call a working trot, is so so so much better. I daresay it’s nice! Sometimes it feels a little rushed, but when I balance him, don’t create a false bend, and also balance with my core and hold my up post longer it feels floaty and fun and lovely. Neither one of us can hold it long, me more than him I’m sure, but it’s in there and it’s happening.

His canter feels stronger too, but I have got to let go. I’m addicted to pulling. I don’t even know I’m pulling. I think I’m being soft, and then I see video stills.

Noooot soft. I like how he’s stepping under though.

That was pretty much the theme of our lesson on Tuesday. Don’t pull. More leg. Straighten with leg. Adjust with leg. As far as I can tell, reins are only for half halts to balance in the corners before asking for a bend with the outside rein. Neat.

It’s not like I haven’t gotten this feedback before, but this is the most specific and timely and individual feedback. So that’s why I’m starting to actually digest it. But my brain wants to pull, to the detriment of my horse. We’re not going to be able to get much of anywhere until I literally let go.

The first few weeks Poet felt very mentally tired from the move and changing all the things. Now I’m the one that feels mentally tired, mostly from very-not-horsey-life stuff but also trying to retrain myself how to ride. Trainer says I’ve been riding for a long time like this, so it’s not going to fix immediately. She’s right. But I force myself to be patient when it comes to my horse, because it’s not fair to rush them. I’m totally fine with rushing myself, ha. I want to fix my issues immediately, which I know isn’t realistic.

But I’ll keep plugging along and trying and practicing and and and.

10 thoughts on “JK, The Problem is Me

  1. The video is great feedback isn’t it? I have to figure out how to make mine work again. New phone, so I think I need the beta version to have it compatible again.

    But there is often such a disconnect between what we think our bodies are doing and they are actually doing, so it’s great to have that feedback even if it’s in painful video form.

    But Po looks great. I love his hind leg in the canter still.

  2. Pivo is such a game changer, see my TOH post today. I videoed every single ride of mine for so long, and then when I couldn’t use it for 3 months, I was really lost not seeing what was going on. I’m much better at seeing things than feeling them. He’s looking really good!

  3. Oh man, video is sooooo helpful in proving your trainer right. Seeing it with my own eyes, “oh yeah, I AM doing XYZ,” really helps bring it home. Not that I’ve been able to break my habits yet, I just know that trainer M isn’t making it up, haha. But honestly, you both look good, don’t get sucked into picking yourself apart after every ride unless you’re going to make an equally long list of all the good things you see, too. We’re all learning all the time, it never stops.

  4. Agree that video is so incredibly helpful! Good on you for putting it to good use and trying to not beat yourself up too much. We are all a work in progress. It is illuminating how different horses bring out different strengths and weaknesses in our riding.
    And I gotta say, Po looks fantastic. What a fun horse to bring along!

  5. that’s awesome that he was already feeling so much better! i also love (and am slightly jealous of) your new trainer’s attitude and insights. it’s amazing how just hearing things in a slightly different way can make such a big difference in how we can make it actionable…

  6. We are all our own biggest critics, huh? I think he looks LOVELY. That trot looks like a big fancy warmblood, and I love his reach at the canter. A few of my students have gotten Pivos lately and it is such a great tool for helping them see what I keep yammering on about for themselves haha.

  7. He looks FANTASTIC Lauren. Seriously really good. I wouldn’t beat yourself up about your right leg. At this point in our lives, we have all accumulated physical injuries that we compensate for. I wouldn’t let it ruin your joy. Obviously Poet gets along just fine with it!

  8. I love his canter so much! You look so good together!

    Your right leg may swing to compensate for reduced mobility in your knee. Not sure if that is something you can change, but swinging is better than bracing so trainer is right to not focus on it. If Poet is happy, its all good.

  9. Yes, Pivo is really neat, isn’t it? I started using mine just this Spring, I have the red too, and am already finding it helpful. I have all sorts of automatic, less then helpful riding habits, that are often out of my awareness. Reviewing my footage seems to help me put some pieces together between what I’m feeling and what my horse is doing that I don’t seem to be able to connect any other way. I am not a big tech junkie, but I really do like Pivo.

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