Limerick and I had another lesson with Christine on Wednesday. It was quite the eye-opener!
We rode in the indoor arena this time, due to hard footing in the outdoor arena from the recent heavy rains (hopefully it's dragged after the rains expected this weekend from Hurricane Isaac). We again worked on my leg position--which was greatly improved from the first lesson--and keeping the reins short. We practiced at the walk, trot, sitting trot and canter. At the end of the lesson, we went over some raised cavaletti.
Rather than being 90% well-behaved, Lim was 100% well-behaved, despite the boogeyman (a.k.a, a guy playing with his dog in a nearby yard) outside the open rear arena door. Good girl!
At the very end of the ride, I dismounted and Christine rode Lim for a few moments. This is where the eye-opener comes in--Lim is crooked! She is well-muscled on her right side but not her left, and has difficulty tracking to the right, and also shows great preference for going to the left whether she's doing lateral moves, trotting, walking or just standing still (she will turn her head to the left freely while standing, but not to the right).
I told Christine that I have sciatic nerve pain sometimes, and am aware that I can be crooked. She said that Lim and I could be feeding off one another, particularly since I'm the only person that rides her, and she's the only horse that I ride.
She gave me some tips on correcting some of this through lateral work and spending more time tracking right while riding. I will also try to not use the right cross-tie on Lim when grooming and tacking up. You see, she likes to crib on that cross-tie, and I realized that the accumulated hours over the years of cribbing on that right cross-tie could be increasing muscle mass on her right side, but not her left. We will start with these steps, then I plan to have some chiropractic work done on Lim over the winter, or once she's a little more balanced, muscle-wise.
I am glad that I know about this now and can take steps to correct it before it leads to pain for Limerick.