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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Crutches or stepping stones?

Every now and then I change up my gear to see what will help me ride better. Ultimately my money is better spent on lessons than what might be a quick fix. But some things do just work better. I don't always know when I pull the trigger on my Dover Saddlery cart or my Smartpak cart and click "complete purchase." Usually I'm humbled when I get the item and realize I just need to straight-up ride better. I have some things that didn't help me. There are tack swaps for that kind of thing.

After doing some slinking around online, I got the idea to try lightweight (composite) stirrups. I have a bad habit of letting my weight come out of my heels occasionally, and this plus a bouncy horse = feet are all the way home in the stirrups. Not attractive, functional, or safe. Especially not safe. Duly creeped out by the possibility of a bad accident, I bought safety stirrups. Cool. But my feet were still doing their thing and not behaving. Could lightweight stirrups be an improvement?

So far, so good. Now, I know George Morris wants me in a classic fillis iron. I want to meet him and have him sign my book and offer to tip my flask into his coffee at an epic clinic. But the lighter weight stirrups are just easier. My feet stay in the same spot, where they should be, the entire ride. The lighter weight causes them to, er, I'm trying to think of a way to describe it using physics....I don't know, they just don't swing the fuck all over the place like my other irons. Now, I am continuing to improve myself by pushing weight into my heels and keeping my legs long. The stirrups meet me halfway. My trainer has me riding in the fillis stirrups occasionally, so I keep a feel for both.

So tell me, what equipment has helped you and your horse? You don't have to register or anything to leave a comment (what a pain), so don't be shy. What did you buy that didn't help (help me save some money here!)