February 11, 2021

Trying Hard

Sound familiar?

Have you said this to yourself?

‘The harder I try the worse it gets!’

URGHHHH!

Every ride you…

? Work to comply ‘loose rein, tight rein, more leg, less leg, be strong in the abs, relaxed and soft through my lower back, loose in the shoulders but heavy in the elbows’ 

? Work to coordinate all your body parts ‘heels down, shoulders back, eyes up, sit up, sit on your pockets’ 

? Work to ‘sit quietly’ 

? Work to undo bad habits concave in the back, and tipped forwards the shoulders’ 

? Work to ‘RELAXXXXXXX’  ?’I could just scream’?but you don’t?

What the heck? 

Afterall, you know in your head you want your body to melt into that classical line...but, you stiffen up URGHHHH!

Your horse braces up, falls onto the forehand, and rushes forward URGHHHHx3!

Ride and breath at the same time... Laughable (the ‘not funny’ kind ?)

Ride after ride, you’re struggling, some days more than others. 

But you’re determined not to let age or limitations stop you.

Frustration builds, disappointment follows. 

‘What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do this? I try SO hard’ ?????

And the decades fly by, riding just isn’t fun anymore, and every lesson is still about your seat. “I’m never going to be able to sit a powerful extended trot.” ?????

But is that really true?

 

Afterall, how could it not be true?  We’re taught from the beginning that “trying hard’ is noble, that success can’t happen without it, that to not ‘try hard’ is ‘lazy.’

OK except... What's a woman rider to do?  

She wants, but she’s stuck and she’s not lazy.

The answer is very simple…

Do a deep dive into what you already do well.

Here’s what I mean.

? ‘What’s working right now?’ 

Your balance.  Really.  It has kept you upright in your daily life, and alive on your 1200 pound flight animal companion.  Thank you, balance.?

Yet, you aren’t draped into the classical line so your balance isn’t optimal because your balance & alignment are the same thing.

So what do you have available to you right now to reprogram your balance so you are evenly weighted side to side and top to bottom on your horse?

? What contributed/caused it? What led up to it?

Limps; computer shoulders; aches and pains; bad riding habits; not knowing how to move your body without tension, all happen as we age.  

The sum total of these compensations is you find yourself either pitched forward, slumped back, tilted, slanted, lop-sided or crunched up in the saddle.

But, there’s no reason to be frustrated because just as these difficulties started they can be addressed.?

? What have I tried so far?

You may find yourself rounding forward, etc ...it is because of a postural imbalance.

So holding your shoulders back will do absolutely no good at all. It wont fix it and they won't stay there. 

Stretching and strength training when you are out of alignment to begin with is that you only get dysfunctionally stronger. In other words you reinforce the imbalance.

So while I support stretching, yoga and pilates... they do nothing to get you back into alignment. 

You can stretch till the cows come home. You will find temporary relief but it will tighten up again pretty quick.

The moment you stop your workout you lose what you gained and go right back to square 1.

? What assumptions can I let go of?

“I waited too long to ride again.”

Not so.?

"I Was So Surprised With How Quickly My Riding Changed!"  ~ Judi Qualls

"My horse jumped up a river bank.  I was able to go with him every step and felt confident doing so!" ~  Lana Tyler

“The Judge's comments now include FLOWING, FORWARD and ROUND!” ~ Angela Wilson

"I’m Cantering Happily And Making Steady Progress!" ~ Mars Lyons

"I Have Greater Self-Confidence And My Horses Are Happy And Much More Connected With Me." ~ Ann Evans

? What part of the situation have I not yet explored?

Maybe you’ve interpreted being told to sit straight and shoulders back as being rigid and your back would concave. 

Now what?

“You are more than just muscle and determination, you are more than just grit and tenacity, you are your sensitivity and your intelligence, the very ingredients you need to reprogram your balance & alignment.”

This shift happens when you FEEL what it’s like to have the correct seat.?

When you find out where you are out of alignment, it may be way down in your SI joint, hip, knee etc...) once you correct that your shoulders, neck and head will fall back into the correct place.

? What other angles can I think of?

Have you ever been frustrated trying to coordinate your body parts since they don’t want to coordinate?

If so, this can get you stuck in ruts where you can't achieve a 'movement' or get your body to respond the way you want it to. 

The new angle is in the learning curve.

Contrary to popular belief:

==>Bones follow muscle, not the other way around, and

==>Muscle memory lives in the movement centers of your brain, not in your muscles.

All movement & riding is a dance between muscle and bone.

So to coordinate your body parts is to refine this dance.

There is a saying in my profession Your brain is smarter that you are.”  

By resolving problems, discovering new & untapped potential while unmounted, your very smart brain will recalibrate your alignment both on and off your horse.?

? What is here that I want to explore?

The Classical Line is a position of beauty, but first and foremost, it is a place of function.  

Just as you brought balance & alignment to yourself, you are now prepared to support your horse in finding his balance & alignment so …. The dance continues.???

What do you make of what I've shared?  If ‘Deep Dive’ sounded familiar?

Just hit reply to this email and let me know. Would love to hear, I read every comment.

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