Leg Lessons

Saddle Seat Wednesday

To punish us for sins in a previous life, Stepping Stone Farm gives leg lessons. An amenable schoolhorse trots the inner perimeter of the small covered ring while the rider posts without stirrups, reaches arms overhead, assumes the Flying Angel of Death (a modified, hands-free two-point), and so on. Instructor stands in the middle, encouraging the horse to keep moving as needed. They are called leg lessons because many of the exercises focus on leg strength. They are essentially lunge-line lessons without the lunge line.

Leg Lesson Type A
A is for analysis. These are the lessons when we deconstruct my position. Why do I do that funky thing with my right hand? Because my weight is twisted to the left. Why do I tighten my shoulders when I rise to post? Because I am still subconsciously half-assing my posting [Back to Basics]. Why can I keep my form at the canter but not at the trot? And so on.

Position problems do not happen in isolation. Correcting a minor equitation flaw usually has a larger impact elsewhere. For example, drawing my shoulders back presents a better picture, but more importantly sinks the weight into my knees. I like these lessons. Lots of talking and thinking. Horses like these lessons. Lots of talking while they stand around playing couch.

Leg Lesson Type B
B is for boo hiss. Analysis is a useful skill. Too much analysis is not. To work on my ability to ride from instinct, I don’t talk during these sessions. I do the same exercises, minus the pondering. From the time I get on to the time I dismount, I say nothing. No questions. No snide comments. Nothing. Aaaaaagggggg.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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