I have always been a long limbed human being – since being born. My parents bought me an ET doll and put it in my crib because they thought I looked similar to the long necked, pot bellied alien. Which, if I am not mistaken, is what every little girl dreams of emulating.
Years passed and I blossomed into a flawless young lady. Through some genetic mutation my body was incapable of forming fat or muscle and so I remained a spidery space creature. It is in that time that I began riding horses, eventually turning pro and committing myself to a life of sweat and skin tight pantaloons.
Every rider has challenges they face whether they be physical or mental. My challenge has been and will continue to be stabilizing my length on top of a horse. I remember I had a friend who was about 48 inches tall and muscular. She was built like a fireplug and was amazingly stable whilst riding. Her length of bone was miniscule and supported by a goodish amount of effortless musculature. By effortless I mean that she was born with bushels of muscle that she had to work very little to maintain. On the flip side I had huge lengths of bone with a small strings of muscle holding my frame together. Couple this with hyper flexible joints and you have one gangly lady. The irony of the situation was each of us envied the other. I stared – green eyed – at her lower leg unthinkingly gripping the horse while she watched mine draping far below his belly. We both thought that the other had a body built for riding.
We all just need to take a deep breath and accept the strengths and weaknesses that our lot has drawn. I would not be the instructor and rider that I am without this ol’ jalopy. Because my body naturally wants to slip out of a stabilized place I have become an expert on almost every evasion of person’s position. This is because I have been there, my friends. It gives me a sympathetic approach to my instruction. It gives me tools to remedy others’ issues. It has also given me a goodish amount of body awareness which then informs my riding. So who I am physically has informed my path professionally and I would not have it any other way.
So think on this when you are brow beating yourself on being too short or too old or too-insert-your-issue-here. Sometimes the very quality that you struggle to overcome will be the thing to make you into the rider you aspire to be.