And so, I went home. The next day, I got out the Tuck.
Everything was like it normally was, except me. I got on, went to the field that served as my ring, and rode him around with no stirrups, then both directions without my left, and both directions without my right. All I concentrated on was feeling my legs be long, my knee soft and open, my ribs up, and my pelvis following the movement. I’d always been taught to have my knee *in*, my thigh *on*. I gave that up and pretended Susan was there, stretching my leg down. I rolled my thigh back throughout, and could feel how that opened my hip and allowed my leg to be even longer.
It was all so antithetical to how I had always ridden in tack. But since I had spent so much of my riding life bareback, I just tried to feel that same sense of drapey hanging leg, but with a saddle. I practiced picking up my stirrups, one at a time, then both, then dropping them again, and trying not to let anything else in my body change in any way. It was funny how hard that was to do, when I broke it down like that. I could also tell that Tucker could feel my shifts, no matter how slight. So I kept at it till I could drop both or either stirrup, and pick them up again, with him on the buckle, in either direction, and not changing in any way.
It took about a half an hour, maybe. I felt pretty good, and Tucker was cruising and soft.