Made a huge discovery the other day. During my lesson it was discovered that I do not have a left leg. Well, I do have one, and during regular, mundane, living activities it functions quite well. But when I mount the saddle on Pippi, my left leg takes on a useless quality and becomes almost a nuisance. It is almost a nuisance to me, and most certainly a nuisance to Pippi.
My job as the rider is to keep Pippi in the “hallway” between my legs, twisting and curving the walls to communicate direction changes and also asking for speed, etc. She relies on me to communicate this to her, and reads my language as we go along. It sound easy enough, and I swear I try to be clear and sound like “walk, turn in the corner, trot, circle, and straight” etc. One command at a time and the equine in question is more than happy to comply.
But my left leg has other ideas, and unbeknownst to me is peppering Pippi with contradictory and distracting messages. So now it sounds more like “walk, nudge nudge, turn in the corner, fall in, trot, nudge and now trot?, circle, let’s make it a small one with haunches in?, and straight, with haunches in.”
When cantering in the right lead, Pippi kept falling in. Being a firm believer that most horse issues are in fact human rider issues we started looking for an explanation. Sure, horses have weak sides, I know that, but she doesn’t fall in like that on the longe line so logically the only difference is the rider. And that is good news, because I can understand and explain to myself what I need to do and try to fix it. YAY!
To make sure it was me (or more likely to prove it to me), my Trainer had me do some lateral movements. Good Golly, we flowed to the left like a well-oiled machine. My right leg was on and Pippi was getting the signals loud and clear. No hesitation and she moved as one big smooth equine machine.
Okay, let’s go the other way. Yep, let’s do it, like right now, no not shoulders first, with the haunches, and keep your head still, don’t back up, go forward again, now over, okay that was good, one more, haunches too, not that much, stop moving your butt, move your shoulders, why are we backing up?, over, over with all of you….. That was pretty much how it went. Pippi was receiving a lot of communication, one thing contradicting the next and she gamely tried to answer each one in turn. Her rider just got one message: STRENGTHEN LEFT LEG!!
So, if you see me out and about; I will be the one doing the “Captain Morgan” in line at the store, at the copier in the office, and off and on all day. I mean the stands, not the actual drinking, although a relaxed rider……no, that’s just a bad idea. Do you have a little Captain in you?