Based on Megan's experience, I was a little nervous coming into the clinic, but I REALLY wanted to understand some of the position problems I've been having. There's the left collapsing, the hands, not finding my left seatbone... so many things to work on. Plus, when I look at pictures of myself riding, my leg and seat position just don't look right.
Collapsing left in my torso, no weight in left seatbone, wtf is my left hand even doing...??? (but hey, my horse looks awesome doing half pass despite my worst efforts!)
Leaning back and pulling, two of my most favorite things to do.
For example, the very first thing she asked me is how much weight I had in each seatbone vs in my pubic bone. Uhhh... I ride with all my weight in my seatbones? So every time I'm going down on his back, 100% of my weight is in the weakest part of his back - not good. Related to this is that I carry most of my weight in my stirrup, so my leg comes forward and braces, which also means my thigh isn't on the horse. And that was just in the first 60 seconds!
The first order of business was to shorten my stirrups two holes (I have half-holes so this isn't as much as it might seem). This put more bend in my knee and somehow allowed my thigh to lie flat. Mary was careful to place my leg just so, moving my thigh muscle out of the way so that everything was in the proper position - including my toe, which I have struggled to get to hang straight FOR YEARS. She then held my belt and showed me how she wanted me to tip my pelvis a bit more back, which allowed me to weight both my seatbones and my pubic bone evenly. Finally, she had me push my collarbone against her hand so I could think about carrying my torso a bit more forward. And then she had me practice that position at a walk.
What I looked like after Mary had worked her magic. Way more bend in my knee, my thigh is actually usable, and I'm not leaning way back with my torso because I actually have weight in the front of the saddle.
Initially, I felt like my torso was so far forward that I was practically in two-point. I struggled not to fall back on only my seatbones with each step. But the longer I rode, the more solidly I felt plugged into the saddle. My left seatbone, which is normally up somewhere around my shoulder, was solidly under me. I felt even everywhere in the saddle. My leg hung comfortably in place, and I could see my toe pointing straight forward (instead of out at a 30 degree angle). When I started asking T for some small walk laterals, I found he was much more willing to shift his haunches around now that I wasn't sitting hard on his back all the time. SUPER AMAZING MAGIC Y'ALL.
I literally spent the entire hour lesson walking and halting on a 20 meter circle and struggled with every step of it.
A crappy still from a video that I pulled off another rider's phone. I know, I'm just walking, but THIS WAS SO HARD.
The final five minutes of the lesson were spent demonstrating our posting technique, at the halt. Mary's comment, when she saw my posting, was "oh my, we have a lot to work on tomorrow." I laughed, because she wasn't wrong - but ohmygosh, posting correctly is really hard!