Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The barn where I ride lost an amazing horse to colic last night. His name was Encore, and he was a thirty-year-old stallion. He looked fantastic. His coat was glossy, and he was well-muscled. A sweet old guy, he was allowed to roam the property. He had lost most of his teeth, so his owner hand-fed him his meals. She really doted on him and is crushed by this loss. I hope she'll take comfort in the fact that he had the best retirement a horse could possibly have.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Stupid right leg

In the video of my last lesson, I noticed my right leg flopping about whenever I tracked right. I thought to myself, all smug, well, I'll just fix that on my next ride! So here's my next ride; I am utterly sure during this ride that I am keeping my right leg quiet. Ha! Bang-bang-bang whenever I track right. More about that in a minute. Other than my floppy right leg, I'm pleased with how Huey looks here. He had competed at a jumper event the day before, so he's pretty tired. When he's tired he's easily distracted, and when he's distracted he throws his head about and/or twists it--and you'll see a little of both here. But mostly he looks forward and relaxed.

Back to my wayward right leg. I figured it could be one of two things: either the right stirrup was too long, or I was pulling my leg up in time with my posting. Since my right leg wasn't banging when I tracked left, I doubted the stirrup length was the problem, and upon checking, it was not. Stirrup leathers totally even.

That left one answer: I was pulling my leg up in time with my posting. So today was focus on me day as I schooled Huey. I started on a circle to the left and watched my left boot. This being the obedient leg, I could see my toes all the time. I switched to the right and looked at my right boot. My toes were swinging out of sight every time I rose, and back into sight when I sat. Merde! I tried sitting the trot, and my right leg behaved. I tried two-point, and it behaved there, too. So I went back to posting, got myself perfectly square and even in the saddle, and focused all my attention on the muscles of my right leg. I finally felt the little twitch above my knee that was pulling my lower leg up. It was causing me to weight my left stirrup more and give Huey an "out" on bending to the right. I focused on stilling the twitch (which took a few circles, let me tell you!) and finally my right toes stopped disappearing. It took some new muscles to keep that right leg on and sitting deep--it's sore tonight. I videotaped and can see in the tape that my right leg is much quieter. Also, once I got the leg fixed, Huey offered a few quiet groans, which is Huey-speak for "I'm bending, but I don't wanna." I apologized to him for all the banging on his right side and promised to do better.