Position issues that is.
Yesterday was WoSW and I really wanted to keep that appointment because ever since I figured out the hip joint thing for sitting trot, it’s helped everything. The key is loose joints – not just hips, but knees and ankles, and even elbows to keep my hands still. This may not be difficult for a kid just starting out who bounces along, but for my stiff, middle-aged body who learned wrong in the beginning, it’s very hard. I used to ride Western and HUS on the QH circuit and there, being very still was key and you didn’t need to be springy in your joints because the horse’s gaits were so still.
Something I did differently was to NOT try to keep my heels down. I just let my leg hang. It helped to absorb the shock of his gaits and made it very difficult to grip, leaving my seat to hold my balance. I could actually feel the motion through my entire leg.
After about 25 minutes I picked back up my stirrups to see if I could keep the loose feeling, and thereby my stirrups, while sitting the trot. And that’s when I realized it. PJ fell on his left side because I was sitting too much on my left seat bone. I got this when I couldn’t turn left without using my inside (left) rein – the one he leans on. If I was very careful about my position, he listened to my inside leg and turned of my outside rein. If not – no turn.
However, I think his tendency to lean on the left is intrinsic to him (versus leaning on the right), which means we both have the same bad direction. Everyone has one way they ride better than the other for whatever reason. It’s the same with horses – think hollow and stiff sides. If the horse and the human have different bad/good sides, I think it may be easier to fix. But in our case, we’re in this together.