Thursday, April 10, 2014

In Which I Learn to Swing My Hips (At Last!)

Dear Betty and Angelica,

Oh, how I wish you could have seen me yesterday! You would have been so proud. You know how you've both been telling me, in a thousand different ways, loudly and at length, that I am not supposed to freeze my body while riding? And how "freeze" is somehow my default position? You know the number of years we've worked on this concept? And remember how this winter in Florida I was FINALLY starting to get it?

Well. You know I've been very carefully rehabbing Sarah's ankle injury since we got home. She's had two more rounds of shockwave therapy. I handwalk her on the concrete driveway three times a week, and we've been working quite lightly under saddle, no hills, only a handful of jumps when I thought her mind would explode if she didn't jump something. I've been spending a lot of time at the walk, especially on that change-directions-through-a-circle exercise, and one of the things I'm concentrating on is keeping my hips moving no matter what else is happening.

For me this is really hard. I'll be swinging right along, and as soon as I add another variable--a turn, say--my mind goes entirely to the turn and my hips freeze. (You know this. I'm preaching to the choir.) So I've been working on that, a lot.

Swing the hips, swing the hips, swing the hips.

Yesterday: we were doing walk/trot transitions, hips swinging, and after awhile I decided not to post. I sat the trot and my hips kept swinging.  All on their own, too, like maybe I've changed the default value a bit. And it was wonderful.

You know I learned to ride in college, at a hunter barn (okay, maybe you don't, but now you do). I don't know where this sitting-frozen thing came from, but I'm guessing it was there from the start. In hunters you're allowed to freeze more. And somehow on those gentle lesson horses I was considered to be quite good at sitting the trot. However, I don't think either of you have ever said so. Also freezing in place works okay if you're sitting the trot hunter style, just trying to keep your heels down, but it's hell during a dressage test when you're also supposed to be doing other things.

Anyway, I wish you could have seen me, or Katie could have, or someone. I was all alone in my jump field except for the neighbors' two marauding goats, and they didn't care. It's not so much I wanted praise. I wanted a witness, someone who could see I was making progress at long last.

Love, Kim