Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Problem of Poise.

The way you sit when riding plays a large part in how you ride. This is obvious, and the seat is one of the most important aspects of riding. I was riding with a rubbish seat, due to my fear. Instead of being aligned through the head, shoulders, hip and heel, I was tipped forward above my hips. I held the reins tight, desperate to maintain control, and I was afraid to use any proper leg, in case she shot forwards, and unseated me.

When I rode in this manner, my spine, still fragile, would lock and I would be plagued with a searing pain in my lower back. Riding was painful and in some cases, felt unbearable, but my determination meant that after a minute of rest, I would try to continue. The first few weeks were painful, and I found myself submerging into a deep bath to try to loosen the knots that had set into my back. I even developed lumps in my back, where the muscles became inflamed, leaving me with an intense, creaking pain.

Hillary has always tried her best to look after me, and to make sure that I was safe. I firmly, truly believe that I could not have ever found myself a better horse to be with than her, and I am sure that no matter how many horses I ever own in my future, there will be none like her, and no other that I love anyway near as much.

Olivia, through her regular teaching, began to make me straighten up; to find the centre of gravity, from which to ride. I felt as though she was asking me to lean backwards, and I felt very unsettled, but looking at photographs of me riding proved to me that I began to look more relaxed and 'proper'. I began to come interested in dressage, and was kindly given a test to practice. Olivia picked up on this interest and started to build it into lessons. Before long, I was thinking about this way of riding every second- I even decided to buy my lovely dressage saddle when my old one came up for a change. As previously mentioned, my parents came up with the money for my beautiful saddle, and it was worth every penny.

I also began working towards having light hands. My hands and arms were so tense that every time Hills even tripped, I pulled on her mouth harshly by tensing up. One of the most successful things I have learned (although it took a lot to actually do) is to keep my hands light in such a way that if I see something that might make Hills spook, I push my hands forward, making my reins slack. I talk to Hills, and rub her neck, but my hands are light and loose giving no tension in the bit. This relaxes her and she very rarely spooks now.

Those first months, when I was battling to continue to get on and ride were truly Hell, and there were so many times when I felt like giving up. But slowly, with time, patience, determination, and a lot of tears, I began to feel that passion come back. It took a lot to get it back, but now it's here, I hope it will never, ever leave again.

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