I spent this week practicing my two point and then not being able to walk up and down stairs properly. Hmmm. Something isn't right there. The good news about having my knee get all tweaked and being in pain, was that it gave us something to look at when I showed up for last night's lesson.
Laura came over and looked at my leg position. Now that I'm not shoving with my seat, I have graduated to gripping with my legs! She put her hand between my leg and the horse and told me to relax. Nothing happened. Still too much pressure. We tried again. I am strung tight as a bow and couldn't get my legs to relax. So we went for dramatic difference.
I rode my entire lesson focusing on keeping my knees and legs entirely off the saddle. I put all my weight into my stirrup irons and rode two point that way. I tried to point my knees out like a frog. It's a scary position to be in when you're not quite sure if you trust your horse or your riding. It's a drastic difference from the clamped down riding I've been doing.
In one lap of the arena with my legs open, Tessa was moving better. We then worked on asking her to go forward without clamping down right after. Yes, we always knew it was me but FINALLY we're starting to actually make headway. I would ask for forward and then clamp my whole body down in preparation for it, which effectively told Tessa to stop going forward. Mixed messages much? Sorry pony! She's actually been a pretty good sport considering that I've been told to tap her to get her to go forward. Kicking a leg out because I'm saying Go! Stop! Go! Stop! is actually a pretty nice way of saying "WTF are you doing up there mom?".
I actually had to jump this way too, which was also a little scary. But we're sticking with nice little cross rails and courses of cross rails so we can work on these basics. And by the end of my lesson we had good flow and a forward trot and canter.
My legs were like jelly when I got off which is also a sign that I'm actually using the right muscles. I'm really looking forward to working on this and seeing what happens. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is the missing puzzle piece that I've wanted to find.