Butt Cramps Demystified, And More
|LET ME LOVE YOU. And the cramping butt in question.|
The great thing about having friends at the barn is that they can help you solve problems, like why you got mysterious butt cramps after your last ride. Yesterday, Jess ever-so-helpfully pointed out that I was dropping my left shoulder during my jump school the other day.
Apparently, when my left shoulder goes AWOL, I do some sort of bizarre compensation with my left buttcheek.
So during Thursday's flatwork ride, I focused really, really intently on keeping that rebellious left shoulder UP and BACK. And, what do you know, like magic, my butt didn't hurt! Dino's left lead canter departs were also much more relaxed and balanced when I put my left shoulder where it was supposed to be.
Equitation. It's important.
I also really tried to keep a driving-rein-type feel on the reins, and Dino let me know when I got it right by reaching for the bit. Thanks, dude. Because I was being mentally present and aware of my body, I was able to enjoy some really great work from Dino, who by the end of the ride was lifting his forehand into every transition, and bringing his hind end further underneath himself. Dino feels like a round ball full of energy once he connects his whole body - I love that feeling! And those little moments of awesome self-carriage give me the hope that eventually, someday, that can become our default way of going.
And now, a segment I'd like to call "Hello Dirt, Long Time No See" or alternately, "Measure Twice, Jump Once"
So, this morning while I was waiting for all the horses to finish their breakfasts so I could turn them out, I decided to switch up the jumps in the ring. I changed the heights of a few fences, and then got the idea to set up a triple combination, a 2 to a 1. Lazy Me decided that measuring with an actual measuring tape was not necessary, and that I could walk/estimate the distances and it would turn out just fine. I eyeballed the triple, scootched the fences around some, and called it good. Lazy Me was also sure that I could just start right off with every fence at 2'6", because my pony is awesome and I didn't want to have to get off and on to put the jumps up.
Ha. Hahahahahahaha. Funny, Lazy Me.
Dino warmed up great - we did a lot of changes of bend and figure 8's, and I again really tried hard to bring my left shoulder up and back. After jumping a few small singles, I decided we were ready for the triple.
We jumped the first two fences great, and then number three came up way faster than either of us expected, and Dino slammed on the breaks and did an impressive sliding stop to the base of the last fence. Lazy Me, thinking that my pony would just jump my poorly-measured triple combination, was just sort of hanging out in half seat, so naturally I got launched over the other side of the last jump.
Oh Lazy Me, why do I listen to your terrible ideas?
I dusted myself off, patted my pony for dealing with my stupidity, and made the last two fences into crossrails. I hopped back on, and jumped through the triple successfully. The 2-stride was too long, and the 1-stride was still a little short, but the important thing was that I didn't freak out, and gave my pony the confidence he needed to work out the funny distances. The fall didn't rattle me one bit, and I was able to move on and keep riding.
After that nonsense, I jumped one of the 5-stride lines in the ring a few times - a 2'3" coop to a 3'3" gate. Dino was a rockstar, and I was riding well, and he felt amazing over the bigger fence! We ended our ride with great success, and I will try not to listen to Lazy Me anymore.