Since the beginning of jump lessons, my trainers and friend have remarked that I don't have my legs even in the stirrups - one is longer than the other, but it keeps switching off. At the end of lessons my saddle will be off to one side, again switching off. And over time I have been getting more and more paranoid about it, constantly shifting my weight around, trying to see if my feet and knees are even when I look down, trying to gauge how even my hips feel in the saddle. Its compounded by Spirit's round back, and my recent acquisition of a non-slip pad has been helping to some degree. It's been easy to ignore. Must be Spirit's back, must be my developing balance, must be that borrowed saddle, must be XYZ. Plus I only notice it when riding - its not like I walk off-kilter or anything. And who knows how long I've been uneven? Before jumping I did bareback riding for years - no stirrups to worry about.
Some weeks back I went to see a physical therapist/body worker for my TMJ, and on a whim I mentioned my leg unevenness issues when riding. I was lying face up, and she took my legs and stretched then out and did an alignment. Then she picked up one ankle and banged it against my other ankle. Yep. My right leg is like an inch shorter than my left one. YIKES! She took a look at my body, and apparently the issue is in my hip - the muscles are very tight on my right side for some reason. She prescribed stretching my psoas muscle (part of hip flexor group) regularly. I'll be honest, I need to do it a lot more than I have been.
I've also started paying attention to how I have my hips and legs while seated at my desk at work and at home. I realize that I almost never sit regularly - I'd always have one leg under my bum, or a leg crossed, or ankles crossed and out to an angle. Never just even with both hips on the chair. My gut tells me that this may be the cause, or at least its prolonging the issue. So I've been trying to be more mindful of my position and posture when sitting down.
What I need to do is go back to my therapist for a check in. I already know that I need to stretch more regularly, and for sure stretch before and after riding. -_- Blah. I'm gonna feel like a big weirdo. I know Daniel Stewart recommends it though. Does anyone actually do this?
Just this afternoon, my trainer shared the below photo on Facebook, credited to Craig T. Roberts, DVM Inc.:
How could I be so naive as to have such a cavalier attitude towards my leg/seat/balance issues? Constant readjustment of the saddle, shifting weight, etc, really cannot be healthy for Spirit's back. Time to get serious about stretching. Who cares if I'm embarrassed? Whats really embarrassing is a lame horse because the rider can't suck it up and do a few stretches. Attitude corrected.