A couple of weeks ago, as Sharon and I did our regular post-lesson car-talk, she said, ‘Your arse is really, really in the saddle!’

Well, that is celestial music to my ears. And while it’s mostly all in the hips, my lower back had finally entered into my cantering.

As I progress, more and more is layered on. The legs are on, so the hands are getting better. But they could be even better. As I find my seat, which is causing my arse to really, really be in the saddle, my hips have become engaged in a way they haven’t before. And most of all, there’s my lumbar region, really working to keep the canter going.

Ah, the early days, when I thought that it was enough to actually get the canter. Surely, once gotten, the horse would keep doing it, because that’s what I asked for, so what else did I have to do? And then the middling sort of days, when it became apparent that I was ready to be exhorted to keep the legs on, too. Now, another layer of active riding has been lashed on, that of moving my lower body with the horse so that the horse has yet another indication that we need to keep going.

It’s working, because all of a sudden, my lower back twinges for a day or so after applied action. Now, I’m doing all that stretching I thought might be a good idea. This thought came to me about six months ago, when I realised that I just got up there and went, without preparing my body in any way for the exertions to come.

Also: a bit of tightness in the left hip, which is exhilarating, as this, to me, is a sign that it’s opening up. All my twinges and groans are on the left side of my body, the weaker side, so if it hurts, it must mean that I’m using it in a way that it’s unaccustomed to being used. Excellent! But, also: ow! So stretching out the hips, too.

Still not doing the pilates, though… must work on that…

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