I’m suddenly paying attention out there.
Not that I hadn’t been before, of course.
But I’ve started to shift my focus from my horse and broaden my view to include the other riders out on the track with me. They stopped being obstacles to overcome (like a horse-racing Mario Kart) and became lessons to be learned. How did their riders react to their foolish behaviors? How did they hold the reins, position their legs and bodies?
It isn’t exactly an equitation competition out there. (Although there are a few riders out there who can perch, hollow-backed and ineffectual, with the best of Big Eq.) Many, many riders apparently learn at the track. As I’ve said, my deep heels are a dead giveaway of my English background. Everybody has their own unique seat, but the best, most confident-looking riders seemed to somehow stay well behind the motion, with their legs out in front of them, while keeping their shoulders over their hands, and their hands planted firmly at the withers.
I have to learn that seat, somehow. And while staying back and safe isn’t too hard for me, keeping my hands at the withers is a challenge. I am finding it a little nerve-wracking, to be honest. My instinct is to lift my hands and choke up on the reins a little at speed. Think two-point position. The reins at the withers gives me a terrible out-of-control feeling, which is totally in my head, but… It’s there.
I went out to the rail this morning to watch a few go by. Here’s an example of what I’m going for.
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