I have mild dyslexia and it manifests itself in a very specific way: I have trouble with left and right. If I had a dime for every time someone has said to me, “No, your OTHER left” (or right), I would have a whole lot of dimes. Seriously, I have to really think about it and half the time I get it wrong anyway. I’m one of those people who have to turn a map around until it matches the direction that I’m going or I just can’t follow it. I’m better without a map but even then, if my directions say TURN LEFT I have to really think about which way that is and get in the appropriate lane. I almost failed my California driving test because I was going to turn right when the guy asked me to turn left. D’oh.
You’d think after spending half my life marching and teaching marching (in bands and drum corps), where you always step off with the left foot, I would have figured it out, but noooooooooo.
Speaking of directions, if you ask D how to get somewhere he will invariably give you what I call Boy Directions. For example: go north on Baker Street for 3 blocks then turn southwest onto Thunder Road, follow for half a mile. As opposed to the directions that I would give (Girl Directions): turn left on Baker Street, when you see the big yellow house turn right on Thunder Road, the driveway is on the right after the big oak tree.
What the hell does “go north” mean, anyway? Let me just whip out my handy-dandy compass or GPS and I’ll be right there.
Anyway, my point here is that my problem with left and right has seeped into my riding. My trainer will say, shorten up your right rein a little bit, and I’ll go to shorten up my left, you get the picture. More specifically, this affects my posting to the trot. When you post to the trot, you rise up out of the saddle for one beat, and then sit down in the saddle again for one beat, while gripping with your knees to stay on, so you aren’t being bounced around mercilessly.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m having trouble posting to the correct “diagonal”. As the horse's front outside leg (the closest to the fence) goes forward, you should be rising in the saddle. As that leg goes back you should be sitting in the saddle, and so forth. The horse moves its legs in diagonal pairs at the trot; that's why it's called "posting on the diagonal". This is one of those things that you just have to keep practicing until you get it right, I guess, and I’ve heard and read a lot of people have trouble with this. The weird thing is, when I think I am on the right diagonal based on looking down at the horse’s front leg, I’m always wrong. So today my trainer said, stop looking and just feel it, and I was actually right more of the time than not, but I think it’s a 50/50 chance and sometimes the dice rolls more in my favor.
Does anyone has any tricks of the trade to help me with this?
I lunged Miss today and she started out fine but got spooked by something and started racing around in a tiny circle, then when I tried to slow her down she stopped facing me and reared up. Not.a.good.thing. Especially for a horse who is still recovering from some mystery infection and swelling in the legs. I made her walk to calm her down then threw in the towel. I washed her hind legs (which are still a little swollen) with beta-dine scrub just as a precaution. We’ll see how she is tomorrow.
On a happier note, Spring has arrived and the flowering cherry in front of the house has brought forth her lovely pink blossoms overnight. I took these pictures last Spring.