I finally felt well enough to ride last Friday after battling a cold for a week and saddled up Cerise. We did some trotting and loping but I was not up to any hard work. I decided to ride a little in 2 point at the trot to start to build me strength and balance. This is not always easy for me but usually after struggling for a circle or 2 I am able to settle into my hips and hold my position. Well not last week. I could not stay up to save my life. I tried holding the front of the saddle and Cerise’s mane but I still fell back into the saddle.
After much frustration I realized the problem was in my lower back. It did not hurt but it was tight. Normally I pick up Cerise’s back legs and stretch them forward before I saddle up and this stretches her lower back and mine. Then once I get on I grab my heel on each leg and pull it up behind me for a minute until the spasms stop:). Then I put both of my knees up on the pommel of the saddle to get my seat in the saddle. I have been doing these exercises for a while and I did not realize how much they were helping until I did not do them.
Yesterday I rode and had one of the best rides ever on Cerise. I suspect that some of the days when it seems she is not wanting to work are days when I neglected our stretching. Since it is already hard for her to use her back well it makes sense that if mine is stiff also she has no chance. Cerise is really gaining on her suppleness and willingness to flex her neck and body. This is also helping her with her lower back and allowing her to flex through her ribs and raise up through her withers.
She is also happy because I bought her a new hackamore at the Equine Affaire and it looks great on her. It is really light weight and meant to be used with a 2 rein system but her head is so small I can use it by itself. She can do leg yielding and half passes pretty easily at the trot but still struggles with any lateral work at the canter. This is one reason I was working on my 2 point position to see if I got up off her back some if she could do more lateral work at the canter. Time will tell as we both get back in shape after our time off. Madalyn
PS I am also back to sitting on my pilates ball when I work at the computer. I can feel my back stretching even as I write this.
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