Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My crooked horse

Boomer has always been crooked- banana left- if you will.  It takes all the strength in my right leg to get him to bend around for a circle to the right.  Or so I thought.  

I have recently realized that the problem is mine.  Big surprise.  

Since getting a new saddle that fits better and having a much more round horse, my saddle has been slipping ever so slightly to the left.  I generally have to dismount mid-ride and straighten things up and tighten the cinch.  

I was frustrated with Boomer at first.  He was bloating up and not allowing me to get the cinch tight enough until he trotted a little.  

Then I realized that the saddle was always slipping left.  Even if we only went right and even cantered to the right, which would cause me to weight my right side more (or so you would think).  

FINALLY, I realized that the saddle slipping to the left was making it uncomfortable and possibly painful for him to bend right!  He was having to bend into the spine of the saddle.  

After our 10 mile ride in the field, where we were mostly traveling straight, I did notice that my saddle was slipping a little to the left, but not enough to bother me because it had been a gradual change.  I also noticed that Boomer was getting increasingly more 'banana left' towards the end of the ride. 

*light bulb*

He is crooked BECAUSE he is uncomfortable.  He is uncomfortable because *I* am crooked.

Aw, crap.  So, what do I do?  First, I need to be more diligent about making sure my saddle is secure and comfortable for him the whole ride.  Then I need to focus on staying centered and not weighting my left stirrup more.  But, how do I do that if riding crooked feels straight?  I do notice that I feel my left foot pushing down into the stirrup when I post.  

Any suggestions?

3 comments:

Story said...

Maybe you have one leg longer than the other? Nina had a similar problem here.

irish horse said...

I also had a similar saddle-slipping/leaning issue. It was also my fault! Making the saddle tighter won't help, you have to fix your own crookedness. My saddle fitter was also a Centered Riding instructor, and she put me in the correct position (which felt horribly crooked) and told me "Now you're straight." She mentioned that it takes about 3 weeks of correct riding to reteach your body something. So I had to practice like that for awhile, remembering that to "feel crooked" was really correct. Maybe if you found someone to help and watch you? I know I still have to fight it (Because we're all a bit crooked or stronger-sided), but I don't have saddle slippage anymore. I can tell when I'm off when my right stirrup feels wrong: I have to weight that side, drop that heel, hip and shoulder, lean back, and still remember to ride my horse. It's hard!

Shanster said...

Oh I hate that... I used to sit right and my left side was my crappy side - It felt "wrong" to sit straight... so I guess as long as I felt "wrong" I figured I was straight - thinking my left side tall and straight and even until I was and now straight feels normal. I don't have any good hints... but I'm feeling your pain.