Thursday, January 24, 2013

Iron-Free is the Way to Be

Warning: If you have this....
You may end up with this.
Photo courtesy of Connecticut Photo
The photo is nice, sure, but what I'm talking about is my lower leg. Yuck! Non-horsey folk might say, "What's wrong with it?" Horsey folk say, "ew."

The problem is, my lower leg has slipped back. And the issue with that is, over fences especially, it creates an unstable position and I consider it a major weakness. Turns out that it's not entirely something I can control, though. My chiropractor informed me that nursing moms commonly have loose tendons and muscles, until they stop nursing and everything tightens up again. No matter how much my brain tells my lower leg, "Stay in place!" my body says, "Naaaah," and therefore we have the slip back toward his tail. The worst part is, I know what it feels like when my leg is strong and correct, so this problem is infuriating.

So, while I'm pretty sure I'll be nursing for the next few months, I cannot continue to have a mediocre leg position - not my style. I decided to take matters into my own hands. Well, legs.

I took my stirrup irons and leathers off my saddle, and have been riding like that since early January. So far, I feel far stronger and also feel much more connected with the horses I'm riding - and working on my core too.

I can tell you, if you get cold while riding in this weather, take off your stirrups. Problem solved. You work so hard posting, balancing and generally staying in the saddle that you heat up in a hurry!

Some of my students have joined in on the ironless fun, and some are regretting it - but I keep telling them it'll be worth it! My goal is to ride through January and the month of February like this, taking back my irons in March, in time to really gear up for the season. Hopefully it'll pay off through the year. But regardless, I feel like I'm riding better, more effective with my aids, and am improving myself, which is what the winter months are best for.

Do you know what else the winter months are good for? This. (video!)

1 comment:

Arliss said...

Awwwww! The video at the end — THOSE GIGGLES!! How can you get anything done with such cuteness around?

I hope your "iron-free winter" has been going well! I'm in awe. I must get back in the saddle, and I'm intimidated to just think of not having those trusty stirrups — but I'm sure you're right, "going without" is excellent for strengthening legs and seat!

xoxoxox to all of you at TMF :-)