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.
2 thoughts on “Hunting starts on April 19th and my legs hurt”
I feel your pain, only I’m not getting ready for another hunt season, I’m in riding lessons for hunter/jumping. My ankle hurt a couple of months ago when I first attempted the posting trot for an hour long. I thought it was going to explode. I kept trying to convince my trainer that something must be very wrong in the way she had my feet and legs positioned, but she’d say, nope…it’s just going to hurt for a while. I didn’t think that kind of pain could be “good pain”, LOL. Well, I’ve been riding strong now for 6 or 7 weeks and feel comfortable posting at the trot, cantering, 2 point, transitioning from posting trot to sitting trot, sitting canter etc, even standing in my stirrups. She always notes that my legs are too far foward, that they slip and I’m not noticing. So I guess today she decided to help me focus more on that (as well as not letting my bum slip back into the seat) and she tied my stirrups into place where she wanted them to stay at. After only about 10 minutes i thought I couldn’t bear it anymore, my feet hurt so bad! I kept having to take pauses to bring my feet out of the stirrups and rotate my foot. Eventually, I couldn’t even do 2 point cause my ankle couldn’t take the weight. I’m a slender, petite gal. I’ve been running for nearly 2 years too. I felt really bad that my body wasn’t working for me. I mean the pain knocked the pride right out of me. I’ve been wearing these cheap rubber riding boots by Dublin. So I invested in some nice Dublin Pinnacle boots tonight, hoping that will give me a little more support and at least keep my foot from slipping through the stirrups so frequently. But it looks like from all the reading and investigating I’ve done tonight that this IS a real part of riding that takes weeks, if not months of conditioning to get beyond. That will be no fun:(
Try changing your stirrups.
I have found that the Fillis type stirrups make my feet HURT. I finally found a pair of Stubben Prussian-sided stirrups and my feet stopped hurting. Now I feel like I have a floor under my feet, with the Fillis stirrups I felt like I was teetering on a razor’s edge, very painful and it would make my feet sore for days.