Since we've gotten back from the clinic, we've been buckling down hard. Koda and I need to get consistent work in and to not allow circumstances (no one at the barn, weather, footing, etc.) to stop us from schooling and just getting those saddle hours. First night out, we hit the dressage hard, sticking on the 20m circle.
The name of the game? Transitions. Specifically proper, soft, straight, and through transitions.
We worked for a good 45 minutes excluding warm-up and I was SO happy with my boy! We were doing mainly 1-step transitions, trying to throw a transition in every 5 strides or so. I was focusing on keeping my hands soft and still instead of up high like a saddle-seat rider (nothing against saddle seat! I secretly think it's super pretty...). We had good moments, we had ok moments, we had confused moments, and moments of Koda just popping his head up and down trying to figure it all out but by the end he was going well for me. We had longer moments of soft contact, him really pushing from behind and lifting through his back, it was awesome. I remember one moment when everything just came together. We were trotting along our 20m circle and he just came down and I felt his back lift up and we were just floating along. It was awesome!
Close to the end of the ride, I was starting to feel some pain in my hip flexors. In highschool and through university, I was a competitive rower. When I first started rowing, I injured myself by over-extending my right hip flexor and causing some damage and scar tissue to build up. I don't remember the specific muscle they said it was, but it runs from the hip to the knee along the outside of the quadricep. I have reinjured it once before, and the pain is similar to a hernia. I actually thought I HAD a hernia when I re-tore it in university. I went to physio therapy for it then, and when I was there they showed me clearly where I had lost the strength in my leg. The exercises I need to do to strengthen it are extremely particular to the point where if my foot is angled incorrectly, I won't be doing any help. Either way, while doing this ride the pain had started again, and being the fool that I am, I kept going. Koda was working so well I didn't want to stop and just keep going.
Bad life choice
I kept riding, and all of a sudden it felt like a hot knife had hit my hips. I had to stop then (luckily it was nearing the end of the ride anyways), so we just cooled out after that point. I did a slow-motion dismount to make sure I didn't crumple when I hit the ground, and continued doing the hunched-over walk to untack and put Koda away. I'm living with ice packs strapped to the hips, but right now it's totally worth it :)
Will have to baby the hips for a bit, but continue getting in that saddle and putting the miles on and riding PROPERLY!
Best moment of the night was right after I'd taken Koda's halter off in the field he just rested his head on my chest and just relaxed. Absolute bliss