“…a beautiful build for riding with a long thigh and shorter upper body.”
–Axel Steiner, The Clinic, Dressage Today (March 2011)

Just in case you’re wondering, no, Axel Steiner is not talking about me.
Long thigh? Uh, no.
Shorter upper body? Hmm, maybe. Actually, make that yes. I’m short.

Huh? Oh. He means a shorter upper body in relation to that nice long thigh. In that case, no. Not happening.

I’m proportionate but there’s no getting around the fact that I’m still short. Never once has anyone used the word long to describe any part of my body. Well, maybe my hair but I was a little girl then. Wanna see?

Cute, huh? A friend posted our old class photos on Facebook. Quite a trip down memory lane but I’d like to burn most of them. Really? I looked like that. Eeks!

So, getting back to the issue at hand. I’m 5’1″ tall, er, short. My current mount is 16 hands. That means her withers are above my head. Way above. Thank God for mounting blocks! I don’t have to climb this mountain in order to ride.

Speaking of riding…
My, uh, stature or lack thereof causes me to fall forward. Sure some of it is my previous h/j training but I really think it’s because I lack a long thigh. No anchor. I’m just skimming along behind the boat. On my belly.

The remedy
Medieval torture rack? Stretch me into longer thighs? Oh, wait. Torture. Nah, I don’t need any more torture. I’m getting enough of that in my lessons. Sigh.

No, I need to learn how to ride with my seat and core. By doing that I actually can achieve a longer thigh. OK, not the length of thigh discussed in The Clinic but longer for me. My muscles relax and my legs drop down around the horse. I’m now anchored in the saddle.

Only for a moment though because then I fall forward into my default position. God, I hate this! “Sit up!” has now become “Lean back!” Only then do I achieve a more vertical, upright seat.

I may never be tall but I can achieve an appearance of a long dressage thigh.

Go ride and LEAN BACK!