Freedom and I are officially legging up for the spring hunt season. The fixture card came out yesterday and I’ve already committed the first few weeks to memory. The anticipation of hunting is just so delicious.
Of course, the start of hunt season looming on the horizon also has made getting ready for hunting a necessity. Freedom is in a state of perpetual fitness. As a former racehorse it doesn’t take much to get his muscle memory working properly again.
I, on the other hand, am having a harder time. I know that to do my part out in the field I need to be fit enough and strong enough to stay out of Freedom’s way. That involves riding in half seat, a lot of half seat. And my legs are not cooperating.
More specifically, it’s my knees. They don’t like to bend the way they used to. They make funny sounds that aren’t amusing. I know it will get better but building up the strength and stability will take perseverance. During the winter I usually ride with longer leathers and a longer leg. It’s always a shock when I put my stirrups up to jumping length and am forced to use my knees and ankles to absorb the shock of riding.
Why is half seat important? Two reasons: first, it frees up your horse’s back and allows him to step under himself more effectively. Second, it puts you in a much more secure position. When you are balanced in a two-point or three-point position you are stable and secure. If your horse takes a leap to the side or a stumble, you are much more likely to stay with him.
So, there’s nothing for it except to shorten my leathers and put my old creaky knees back into service.