December 19, 2018

Lesson Wrap-Up: Feelings

What's up, it's your resident overthinking biomechanics nut here, back again with some incomplete thoughts about feelings.

Yeah I'm out of media so here's a ton of Hank pictures.  Side note, we have SUCH a long way to go until I can take this dog to the barn and ride.  Gotta install a lot of manners first...

My first feeling was when my trainer told me to fix my uneven seat by bringing the right side of my ribcage closer to my right elbow.

You know when someone says something to you in a way that just effortlessly makes sense?  That cue was the perfect first toolkit phrase to make sense to both my brain and my body.  And it evened out my seat without me trying to force my hips into a particular position, which makes me tense up my seat and try too hard.

Every time I have people over it involved a lot of frantic vacuuming and praying they don't wear dark pants.

The second feeling was even cooler.  We were working on getting his outside/right shoulder un-stuck in the left canter.  I was struggling with that, and I asked if we could do some shoulder-in to attack it another way, because I just didn't feel like he was in my outside rein at all.  It felt like he'd go back to right bend in an instant if I let him, and like he was too much in my inside rein.

(In retrospect, I should've remembered NK telling me that Connor being heavy on the inside rein is a smokescreen he puts up to distract me from him not engaging the inside hind enough, which just came to me as I was writing this)

Hank played so hard at daycare on Monday, he basically slept the whole next day.

Even in the SI, I tried to explain that I never get that "wrapping around my inside leg" feeling on the left the way I do on the right, and I asked her to help me figure that out, since it seemed related to the canter thing.

Hank laying down in the backyard for the first time ever since we've owned him

So my trainer got behind us on the rail and noticed that his left (inside) hip was slightly higher than the right.  The moment she said it it was like some long disconnected synapse fired in my brain and I felt that very familiar feeling (not getting him connected on the left) in a brand new way (horse not engaging inside hind/left hip higher than right).

 Reminder of the USDF definition of SI:

"The horse’s inside foreleg passes and crosses in front of the outside foreleg; the inside hind leg steps forward under the horse’s body weight following the same track of the outside foreleg, with the lowering of the inside hip. "

So I mean first of all, we're probably not even doing a proper SI on the left because if his left hip is higher it means he's definitely not bringing that foot forward and under his body weight.

And second of all, this is a problem ALL THE TIME and not just in SI.  Once I was aware of that, I couldn't not feel it the whole rest of the lesson.  He does that all the freaking time on the left.  We did some lateral work to get him to step up on the right side and engage the left hind, but it was toward the end of the lesson, so I didn't get to explore that as much as I wanted to.

It's amazing to me that I've felt him do that for years (remember, left bend has always been an issue) and I've never really been able to identify what was happening until she said that tonight.  It was both a familiar feeling and a whole new world of understanding.

Incomplete thoughts.  Now to figure out how to fix this.


  1. I think this post was about biomechanics but honestly after I saw that pic of Hank curled up on the cowche with his lil pink nose all other thoughts left my head except how ADORABLE he is.

  2. I love having an epiphany like that. Once you know the real root of the problem, it's a lot easier to go about fixing it! Congrats on all the breakthroughs!

  3. Thanks for this, I am currently struggling with the left bend and it gives me some more marbles to rattle around in my brain