February 12, 2018

Improving the Left Everything

I posted this on October 17:

This is now:

And - almost every ride has been that even for about six weeks now, that's not an outlier.

I almost posted this as a WW, but I felt like the reason for this change needed to be shared.  This is more than just knowing I wasn't turning left and turning left more often after I got the Equisense.  This was figuring out why being on the left rein felt uncomfortable and being on the right rein felt comfortable.

August of 2015 - the left rein has always been my nemesis.

In December, my trainer helped me identify that my leg position when on the left and right rein didn't really change.  All this time I've been pointing fingers at my torso, my hips, my seat, my hands, but I never thought about my legs.  I thought those were "fine".

Ok, we're digging into my "Not Blogworthy" folder for some truly embarrassing never-before-posted outtakes now.  This is "left bend", July 2017.

But in reality, my left leg was always behind the girth and my right was always at the girth - regardless of direction.  And my right leg was almost never on the horse because I was never sitting on the right seatbone.  My right leg just floats out in space - so when I did use my left leg, he just escaped out the right.

He should be in left bend here, we just turned left at the judge and are about to take the diagonal at H.  I am so far off to the right and my left leg is so far back, there's no bend at all. July 2017

So being on the left rein was uncomfortable. I could not get left bend or engage the left hind, and because I couldn't get the bend or left hind engagement I felt like I needed to pull on the inside rein more.

Dat completely ineffective left leg.  No wonder this horse has never bent left for me.

One thing that's important for me to realize: I'm going to be fixing the repercussions of this for a long time, and I'm patient with him on this, because I created it. 

Oh man, Karen managed to capture everything that was wrong with me on the left rein in one picture!  I need to print this out and hang it in my locker at the barn.

I can feel now that the left hind is the weaker leg in both directions.  It becomes less hard with each ride to remember my "new" leg position - mainly because I default to "Am I sitting correctly?" before anything else when I lose the bend.  But for the first time, both directions feel equally "easy", and that's being confirmed by the Equisense, and that's an AWESOME feeling.

Horse without rider: perfectly capable of all this stuff.


  1. Barring pain or injury in the horse, it's ALWAYS the rider. One of the hardest lessons of horsemanship... Love that you're applying data to solve issues. :D

    1. It's true, and I do a good job of blaming myself first typically. It's especially nice to have my trainer riding him usually about once a month, because he won't do certain things with her that he will with me, like struggle to bend left. Then you KNOW it's you!

  2. You and me both! First dressage lesson with a new trainer - I don't look too bad on my left side, but look like a jumper rider on my right side. It's all related - right hip stays forward, so right leg is forward, and right shoulder, which means left hand wants to stay back. My problem isn't so much my left hand - it's my whoke right side!

    1. Completely agree with you. I could get so far into how many little pieces of information from how many different trainers and people helped me piece this together, but one "piece" was when NK told me my leg yields sucked because my right hip wasn't facing "forward". When is my right hip forward? When my right seatbone is in contact with the saddle and my right leg is on the horse. Truly fascinating stuff.

  3. I have the exact opposite side problem. I struggle immensely with the right rein. My horse *never* used to, so I know it is a change in my body in the last year or so.
    Seeing all of your data and things with the Equisense make me want one even more! I find it SO fascinating seeing these data points help improve your rides.

    1. I keep telling people it's totally unnecessary but it's also very useful to visualize things like this.

  4. Replies
    1. Yay for breakthroughts brought to you by Equisense!