May 20

This is what makes riding easy

Riding For Women

Do you ever feel stiff and uncoordinated in your riding?  Maybe you know what you want your body to do, but you can’t get it to do it.  You may be told what to do and find it one time, but you can’t find it again.

Today I want to share with you why this happens, and how you can improve this outside of your riding time.

The reason why this happens is body awareness.

What I mean by that is proprioception, moving with precision and ease.  When these components come together it means you ride with coordination, strength and mobility.  It means being aware of different parts of your body and being able to move well.

This is essential for riding because riding is all about movement.

Body awareness means you are aware of some of your body parts more than others, for example, you may be very aware of your hands.  But, unless you do body awareness activities you lose track of your other parts, for instance, your mid-section.

This state brings so much trouble to your riding because riding takes so much awareness of hips, ribs… your whole mid-section…

Yet, body awareness can easily improve so you become aware of the parts you use more often, and those less so.

The reason this is vital to riding is there are physical, observable changes in your brain when you begin to use a new body part.

And here’s the thing, these changes in your brain are the difference between happily progressing in your riding or staying stuck.

For instance, you make a change in yourself, but the moment your attention goes elsewhere you go right back to the way you were riding before.

Crooked rider image

 

This is why some riders become better, they can understand riding instructions, can do what is asked, get the feeling of it, and remember that feeling – the result is they finish every ride with a sense of accomplishment.

www.EffortlessRidingSystem.com, Heather Beachum purchased license 7.1.15 - shutterstock_201116321 (2)

www.EffortlessRidingSystem.com, Heather Beachum purchased license 7.1.15 - shutterstock_201116321

 

 

www.EffortlessRidingSystem.com, Heather Beachum purchased license 7.1.15 - shutterstock_201116321 (2)To develop body awareness what is needed is slow, deliberate and MINDFUL movement.  You explore new and different ways of moving, you use different parts of your body that you don’t normally use in your daily life and activities.

This leads to the idea of learning how to learn.  As you get better at acquiring new movement, new motor skills, you are able to transfer them right into the saddle.

What I mean by this is, for example, when you have learned off your horse how your hips and mid-section coordinate you transfer this learning, this improvement, right into the saddle.

Body awareness is what I bring to my fellow riders so that you and your horse can love each and every ride together:)

Jan 27

So Heather, what exactly is it that you do and how can you help me?

Riding For Women

GloriousThese are questions I answer often so, as you may be wondering the same thing, I thought I would share the answers with you here.

What I do is I teach you how to move with ease and how to take this ease onto your horse to ride with comfort and confidence so you can fully enjoy all of your favorite horse activities.

My work is a totally different way of relating to riding that is unlike anything you have ever heard before, and enables you to take a quantum leap to creating the life you want with your horse... a life that you deserve.

If you struggle to ride, if your riding skills have plateaued or if you want to ride with refinement, but despite all your efforts you remain stuck, then this is something for you.

I show you your way of moving that creates the difficulty and what you can do instead so it can be easy.

I share with you what is causing instability and how to create balance and let it be steady.

I teach you how to replace tension with subtlety so you can develop feel and self-trust.

I translate what your riding instructor is asking you to do and show you how to do it.

 

Heather, how can I shift my way of riding when I feel so stuck and frustrated?

Riders often ask me this because they have heard they have to have a positive attitude even though they are not enjoying their riding experiences.

I say it’s the best time to start this process because you are in touch with struggle and the emotion of it, this is not an intellectual process, because as I have said it is a unique way of relating to riding.
For changes to happen you want it to be a whole body experience so you can feel the difference, so actually, your frustration is your biggest opportunity to create a fabulous learning and riding experience.

 

 

Sep 16

The things we do...

Riding For Women

In the quest to ride a horse well, mankind has thought long and hard about how best to go about it. Various solutions have been formed, none of which works with the rider’s sense of feel. Not convinced? How many times have you been told to sit on your pockets, sit back, sit up, sit evenly, sit quietly….? Has anyone ever taught you how to absorb the movement of the horse? Have you ever asked to be taught that? If not, why not? Lady learning to ride side saddle

This lady has boldly mounted a mechanical device to assist her riding

Rider-with-Motion-sensors-300x165

 

This rider has looked to techno sensors for assistance.

As most of us have, this lady is doing her best on the lunge line.

At first, these approaches may seem quite different, but there is a common denominator. Each is extrinsically based meaning the rider looks outside herself for information. None of them is founded on the rider’s intrinsic sense of “feel.

None of them hones the rider’s sense of space and movement so she can perceive for herself how she is sitting on her horse. Every human comes equipped with a sensory motor system, and given that riding is all about feel, this is a happy union. It is simply a matter of including sensory learning into your riding so you naturally develop “feel.”

How is this done? Easy, brain training. For a couple of minutes each ride, you pay complete attention to how you are moving and to the smallest of detail.

For example, do this first on the ground, then on your horse balancing to the ground.

  • In standing, rest your hands, hand or finger on something so the observation will be about posture and about how your weight is distributed.
  • Notice how each foot is resting on the floor, is it more to the outside, more to the front of the foot… . Without lifting the toes, place your weight onto the heels then return to where you first started. Do this a couple of times.
  • Now, let your heels sink into the floor. Stand and breathe to allow your brain to find and file this moment. Slowly let go of this stance and notice what happens to your body. Do this a couple of times.
  • Pay attention to what feels supportive instead of what feels normal.
  • As you sink the heels allow the floor to hold your weight, and your knees to soften and slightly bend as the movement occurs.
  • Note what happens when your weight is placed on the heels and when the pressure is released.
  • Rest.
  • Now stand and shift your weight onto the balls of your feet without lifting the heel. Breathe and observe the comfort of this position.
  • Do this with your feet with different widths of separation. Find which position offers you the most support. Pay attention to what feels supportive instead of what feels normal.
  • Rest
  • Notice any changes in the tension in the feet, legs, hips, lower back, neck….
  • When in standing do you feel more grounded? When in the saddle are you more centered?

Develop your feel by visiting this simple movement exercise and start trusting yourself as you ride.

Jul 29

It's all in the hips

Riding For Women

Center of GravityIf riding were easy it wouldn’t be an Olympic sport.  Two brains, two personalities, a million moving parts, and gravity – where to begin to bring it all together so both horse and rider can enjoy balance and comfort.

The answer is:  your hips.

Apart from the fact that that is where your body meets your horse’s body it is also your very own base of support - your horse riding balance.

  • Your center of gravity lives deep in your hips bringing balance and stability as your horse moves under you.
  • The hips connect your lower and upper body allowing the classical line from head to heel.
  • This frees gravity to be your friend meaning you become stable and mobile at the same time.
  • Yet, most importantly, by sinking into your hips for support your breath stays free – the most notable, and overlooked, component of a deep seat.

There are many culprits that lock the hips.  Two common situations are riders often grip their hips to stay on, but this prevents them following their horse’s movement.  Also, in wanting to sit quietly on their horse riders often stiffen their hips, but this just causes them to bounce even more.

The typical solutions available to riders all involve a lot of effort and unpleasantness in exchange for a meager return.  For example, going to the gym – this gives you more muscle so you can tighten your hips even more.  Ride without stirrups until your hips become so exhausted they deteriorate – then the next time you ride you can do the whole thing all over again.

Yet, restoring your hips to a place of functionality and comfort can not only happen, but can be yours with ease.    It is simply a matter of reconnecting how you move as a whole system.  For instance, feeling how the hips and lower back coordinate together for fluid movement, how the hips and shoulders balance one another to sit quietly in all the gaits.

Sitting deeply in the saddle begins with your awareness which you have in abundance and doesn’t cost a penny.  It is just a matter of knowing where to invest your attention.

As you read this,

  • Notice if you are sitting more on one buttock than the other, what creates this difference, is this how you sit on your horse too?
  • Now, let that buttock sink more deeply into your chair, what shifts do you have to make to do this?
  • What happens in your torso, head and neck?  Then return to your starting place.
  • Now go back and forth a few times, going slowly, and noticing what you do to create these changes.  Is there participation in your lower back and ribs?   Rest.
  • Notice how you are sitting now.  Is your one side resting more fully and deeply into your chair?  Now visit this movement sequence with the other buttock, and notice what has changed.

Later explore these movements while on your horse and see how centered and calm you feel in the saddle, and what your horse has to say about it.

Copyright expired - Engraving of Dressage Rider from 1870Taking a few minutes visiting these small movements before each ride will make a big difference to your seat.

Jul 14

The smart and the silly of science

Riding For Women

Rider-with-Motion-sensors-300x165An article was published recently on ScienceDaily.com titled “Video game technology aids horse rider assessment.” 

The smart of science takes motion sensors used by movie makers and the video games industry, and applies it to horseback riding to assess a riders’ balance, symmetry and poor posture.

The silly is that no rider needs technology to make this assessment because every human being comes equipped with a sensory motor system.  This innate function includes balance and movement (vestibular), and can be accessed at any moment through your awareness.  It is only a matter of choosing to invest your attention to how you are moving.

The other silly is that this technology does not offer a solution to these difficulties so riders stay stuck.  Yet, by virtue of the sensory motor system every rider has the inborn ability to create improvement.  This is accomplished by the rider’s paying attention to subtle differences and creating small shifts of movement – the result is improvement in the rider’s balance, symmetry and posture.

To experience how you can create ease and balance in the saddle I invite you to contact me.

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