Seriously Olivia: A Tale of Blame and Redemption

Mom get out of my ear this is not fun for me

STOP THE PRESSES. Last night’s lesson was just a series of “Seriously Olivia”s.

I, Olivia, do solemnly swear to stop implying that shortcomings in our ride are due to shortcomings in my horse. I’ve been proven wrong every time. This I do swear, so help me God. (Seriously Olivia you bought a nice horse stop pretending like he isn’t a super nice horse)

With that binding oath out of the way, lets talk about left legs. Because honestly, I don’t know any other group of people who willingly want to talk about left legs. But y’all are nuts and I love it. So back to my left leg.

Well, the left side of my body in general.

A little while ago I asked all of you for advice on how to get Francis to respect my left side more, and you gave me some FANTASTIC ideas, many of which I tried. And Frankie the Tankie was perfect with them. Like, weirdly perfect. Shouldn’t he be more resistant??

NEWSFLASH FOLKS THIS HAS BEEN ENTIRELY MY FAULT (Seriously Olivia how had you not picked up on this pattern yet it’s been quite apparent)

Turns out I’m like a super subtle Quasimodo on horseback. It would probably actually be better to be a true Quasimodo, because then it would be very obvious and we could clearly point to what was wrong. But this is a sneaky, insidious kind of crookedness. Where my left shoulder drops, my right seatbone twists back and down, my right leg shoves forward, and my weight drops unevenly into my right heel.

It’s hard to see when I’m going right, and it’s still pretty subtle when I’m in motion. But Trainer took a burst of still-shots at the canter and showed me and it was like wellllll….I’m not with my horse’s motion AT ALL. Like, even a little.

“My horse doesn’t like to bend left.” Except for he totally does when my weight is even and my left leg is legitimately on him and not just wiggling around.

“My horse hates to pick up his right lead.” Could it be because I’M TOTALLY BLOCKING HIS BODY FROM DOING THAT????

“My horse falls in around the corners.” Except he doesn’t do that when I’m not leaning to the outside.

Brain. Exploded.

We even had confirmation of this: when I landed off the jumps and very consciously stayed even and straight, he didn’t even try to fall in, and bent around the turns just fine.

Turns out that when you ride correctly, your horse goes better. NOVEL CONCEPT. (Seriously Olivia you’ve been on horseback for decades now how is this even a statement you have to write down)

Pretty much all the little things I’ve been trying to fix are stemming from this crookedness. We all know that he’s going to jump the jump no matter what I’m doing, and I’m getting better at asking for an energetic bouncy canter off the bat as we get used to each other more and more. What we need now are deliberate tracks so I can ask for my nice close jumper distance, and so I can set him up for the inside turn.

So overall? This was not one of those lessons where I walked away feeling like Beezie Madden. My trainer told me “we have things to work on” instead of “good job” when I left the ring. But MAN OH MAN I am excited that we’ve diagnosed the problem here so that we can now go about fixing it. We were trying to fix the symptoms before, but now we can go about curing the disease.

Yet again, I am calling on Blogland for your collective wisdom.

Have any of you dealt with this kind of crookedness, and how have you gone about addressing it?