September 8, 2011 1 Comment
A few weeks ago, had you asked me to find my seatbones, I probably wouldn’t have been able to find them with both hands. Due to some new exercises, however, I’m now very much in touch with the aforementioned bony structures.
As part of the work on my postition, Christy is taking square aim at an old problem of mine. I tend to sit crookedly in the saddle, and weight the left side – especially my left seatbone and the left rein – a lot more heavily. We know this because I got an Equisense analysis last fall, which was revealing to say the least.
One thing has become evident to me throughout this tedious process of fixing my position – and building the requisite muscle memorty to hold it. If you’re in balance with the horse, and are sitting correctly, the hose will move correclty. But if you find yourself in a situation where you’re desperately trying to muscle the horse into doing what you want it to do , chances are good the problem rests with you, not with the exquisitely sensitive and responsive creature on whose back you’re siting. At least, this is the case with me. As soon as I am inclined to use force, that’s a red flag that something is wrong with my position.
In order to encourage me to be more balanced in the saddle, Christy first had me get acquainted with my seatbones. Atanding at the halt, with my feet out of the stirrups, she had me raise my knees. Voila. I could feel my seatbones, and clearly.
Next, she had me loosen my hips by gently scissoring my legs back and forth, from the hip, not the knee. Doing this encouraged me to lengthen my legs, and also caused my seatbones to move forward and backwards. Next, I repeated the cissoring at the walk, holding my lower leg off the horse. Turning to the right, I pushed my left leg back. Then I straightened, and as we started a right turn, I pushed the left back. This wasn’t a drastic move. But I could definitely feel the pressure shifting from seatbone to seatbone.
On a loopy rein, Derby serpentined down the long side, guided by the subtle pressure just from my hip bones. Cool!
We moved into a trot, and the first time I tried this , it was a struggle, as I got stuck in my left hip and wasn’t able to rebalance to the other side quickly. Tonight, however, was better. My body control was better, and serpentined smoothly. Best of all, I started making these shifts instinctively, without thinking.
This is nit-picky stuff. It’s basic. But let’s face it – I have a lot of bad habits, and unless I conquer them, I’m doomed to mediocre scores at the lowest levels. I’m glad I have a trainer who espouses a deliberate – and very correct approach!