So when we were on our trail ride yesterday, I noticed that I tend to brace on the flats. I know that sounds weird, but when we're covering flat ground, it's like I'm trying to push my feet down through the stirrups. When we're going up or down hill, I'm actually perfectly fine and rely more on my seat than my legs/stirrups. I'm not sure why I brace on the flats. It's definitely not that I expect Aires to do anything stupid. He had his moments yesterday, but really, that's the first time we've had any problems whatsoever (I think I know what the issue was and there won't be a repeat). Any ideas why I might be bracing on the flats? I only do it on the trail. Whenever we've ridden in the arena, I'm nice and relaxed and working from my seat.
Also, yesterday on the way back home on our ride, Aires was being a bit of a butt and trotting at the most random times. I think part of this was because my friend (who I've never ridden with before) kept letting her horse trot up and down the few hills we did. I don't mind the random trotting, especially since he settled back to a walk when I asked him to and it was mainly on hills (except when he got impatient a couple of times), but I found it difficult to keep my left heel down when he'd start trotting...especially if he pulled his bouncy half-a$$ trot out of the bag. My right heel stayed down like it was glued that way, but my left heel would involuntarily come up and it was almost like I was trying to go on point for the first few steps he trotted. Then I would notice that my heel came up and would sink it back down. Any ideas why it's just my left heel that keeps wanting to come up? I'm right foot dominant, if that makes a difference (played soccer for years, so I know which foot is my strong one ). I also keep in mind that I'm sinking my weight down through my heels, not just putting my heels down, when I ride. It works wonderfully...for my right foot. My left doesn't want to listen.
Also, part of the bracing problem could be my stirrups themselves? I use my friend's Circle Y trail stirrups because my saddle didn't come with stirrups and my friend uses endurance stirrups, so she had her trail stirrups that came with her saddle extra. I absolutely hate them, but they're what I have for the time being. I have access to endurance stirrups, but I brace even worse in those. The one time I used them out on the trail, I literally could not walk once I dismounted because my legs were so stiff/numb from bracing so hard. And before anyone says "Work without stirrups"...I have a 16hh greenbroke 2.5yo...I'm not entirely comfortable working without stirrups on him just yet...especially not out on the trail, which is where my issues are.
Disclaimer: If you don't have something constructive to help me with the issues presented, please don't respond. Any comments about lightly trail riding my 2.5yo will be politely ignored. Thank you.