Two-Point Makes Me TIRED!
Most of the past two weeks I have been really, really tired. This started when I finally got my whole seat out of the saddle when I went into two-point. First the muscles on the front of my thighs started burning, and I stood it for as long as I could. Ever since I bought my new saddle I have had fewer problems getting up into two-point (I no longer have to hoist myself up) and I have had no problems sinking down on the horse’s back (I often plopped down.) This is my reward for finally buying a saddle that does not get in my way.
So far, I can stay up in two-point only the distance of the short side of the ring. Then I stop, rest, do my stretching exercises, and go back to walking around until my thigh muscles stop hurting. This is discouraging, as I remember when I could do two-point for miles.
At first my thigh muscles hurt so much that I was sure my muscles would be screaming with pain the next day, but that did not happen. It took several weeks of two-point before, yesterday, I finally found some muscle soreness in the muscles at the top of my thigh in the center. My gripping muscles have not been sore so I guess I have not been gripping with my knees. It is nice to know that I was not totally wasting my time the past several years when I tried to ride two-point even if I could not get my crotch out of the saddle.
I do this mostly at the walk, though I can handle two-point at the trot for a short distance.
I have to strengthen my thighs now, while it is cold, otherwise my back muscles end up hurting a lot. Since it is cooler, I can wear my Back on Track back wrap that helps my back muscles stand the pain. I can also wear my new grain leather half-chaps that give me the grip that I need to get my crotch out of the saddle. If I do not get stronger while it is cold, I will not be able to handle the pain in my muscles when the weather gets hot and I have to take my Back on Track stuff off. I will not be able to handle the extra heat in my calf muscles that builds up under my new half-chaps either; I remember how hot I got when I wore my old pair of suede half-chaps.
I keep going on with this in spite of my exhaustion since I want to be more secure in the saddle. I dream of being able to trail ride without having to worry that I might run across a log that I have to jump to continue down the trail. So many times in my life I have ridden down a familiar trail after a strong thunderstorm and found a tree fallen across the trail. Back when I could jump this was not a problem for me, I just had my horse hop over the log and I went on riding. Right now, if the log were not small enough for my horse to step over I would have to turn around and go home.
Debbie has been quite pleased with my riding lately. Occasionally she points out that my hands need to be even, and she tells me to “fill the back of my boot” when my heels start to come up. I like this “fill the back of my boot” command, before when my instructor yelled at me to get my heels down I tended to jam them down, robbing my leg of an important spring. Now I just relax the back of my calf and my heels sink down, and I do not lose the important shock-absorbing aspect of having my heels down.
Right now I am really in love with my Pegasus Butterfly saddle. Not only can I get up in a true two-point position, I finally feel secure enough in my saddle to drop my stirrups and ride with my legs hanging down. In my other jumping saddles, I just did not feel secure enough not to have my feet out of the stirrups, even when I was walking. The last two rides I felt secure enough to drop my stirrups at the walk, and I practiced my “Duke of Newcastle seat”, with my crotch as far forward as I can get it in the saddle and my legs hanging down straight. After this my stirrups felt really short when I picked them up again!
I dream of jumping again. I really cannot even try jumping now; I am so weak that I would probably end up irritating the horse by slamming down on his back, and by hitting the horse’s mouth. Besides my balance is so bad that the only thing that would enable me to jump is a nearly perfect position in two-point. To get to that nearly perfect position in two-point I will have to practice, practice, and practice it some more and hope that my thigh muscles get stronger before the weather gets hot and humid again.
I am finally making some progress with my riding again!
Have a great ride!