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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
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    Default Rider position problem - I need a plan.

    I had to go a few months without lessons over the winter, and now that I'm getting back into the swing of things, I'm finding that I am very crooked in the saddle.

    I am always carrying my right shoulder ahead. When I am turning left it is quite a severe twist. I recognize that part of this is my horse not being light enough to my aids, and I am "throwing away" my position to some extent to "get it done" (i.e., a turn, circle, or straightening).

    My horse is four and does not lunge reliably enough for me to do lunge lessons, but I am taking lessons once a week now. I am making my horse crooked; he does not stay straight because I am not straight! He is learning quite quickly that it is easy to drift right and bulge right!

    I'm trying to formulate a plan for my rides in between my lessons. Some things that are helping keep me straighter:
    -when I ride down the centre line, or quarter line;
    -when I think about looking to right a little bit to help bring my right shoulder back
    -sitting trot is better because I twist when I post.

    I am thinking I should go back to working on some basic leg yeilding at the walk/trot to see if I can get those responses a little better.

    I'm asking for ideas for exercises on horseback AND general exercises to help me with this problem.

    I usually ride 5 or 6 days per week.



  2. #2
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    Nov. 9, 2005
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    uk
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    check out my helpful links page up above under on the stivky by mods it tells you how to alter your stirrups as that effects your position read all links on page 1 as its all relevent
    thn read other relevent ones lunging is at the botttom



  3. #3
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    Aug. 26, 2008
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    Can you get on a different horse, just to sort of "jar" yourself out of the habit?

    If you do it on the other horse too, this obviously won't help

    It's not always a great idea to get on another horse, but I know that in riding green horses, sometimes you adapt your riding a little TOO much to suit them. You need to hop on a different one for a session or so just to shake it out.
    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior



  4. #4
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    Oct. 16, 2008
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    Central Oklahoma
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    No matter how hard I tried, I was not able to get rid of my crookedness until I started to take Yoga and Pilate lessons regularly. You need to be able to feel your own body and catch yourself whenever you are crooked and the best way to have that awareness is on the ground, not on the horse back, JMHO....



  5. #5
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    Jul. 24, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugbygirl View Post
    Can you get on a different horse, just to sort of "jar" yourself out of the habit?

    If you do it on the other horse too, this obviously won't help

    It's not always a great idea to get on another horse, but I know that in riding green horses, sometimes you adapt your riding a little TOO much to suit them. You need to hop on a different one for a session or so just to shake it out.
    Actually, yes, I rode a different horse three times this week, and it did help a bit -- this horse would NOT trot unless I was sitting straight, and that also helped me realize just how crooked I was.



  6. #6
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    Jul. 24, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by goeslikestink View Post
    check out my helpful links page up above under on the stivky by mods it tells you how to alter your stirrups as that effects your position read all links on page 1 as its all relevent
    thn read other relevent ones lunging is at the botttom

    ok, i'll do that.



  7. #7
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    Apr. 15, 2008
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    Orlean, Va
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    Any chance you could work with a PT for a few sessions?

    I found that I had all sorts of kinks from previous injuries that I had forgotten about. When there is an injury that "shocks" the body, the nerve shuts down and there is atrophy. I found out that I had to jump start the nerves each time they got shocked or tired. and that was frequently during rehab. Then there are adhesions that glue parts together that aren't suppose to be together.

    The pt can give you homework off the horse, frequently in front of a mirror to help you check your alignment . The ones I do only take 15 minutes. Some of them can be done subtly at work or in the car.

    One of my favorites for abdominal core strength and breathing is singing in the car...



  8. #8
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    Jul. 24, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
    No matter how hard I tried, I was not able to get rid of my crookedness until I started to take Yoga and Pilate lessons regularly. You need to be able to feel your own body and catch yourself whenever you are crooked and the best way to have that awareness is on the ground, not on the horse back, JMHO....
    Although I can't afford any other kinds of lessons, I do try to do some balancing-type stretches with an exercise ball.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by whicker View Post
    Any chance you could work with a PT for a few sessions?

    I found that I had all sorts of kinks from previous injuries that I had forgotten about. When there is an injury that "shocks" the body, the nerve shuts down and there is atrophy. I found out that I had to jump start the nerves each time they got shocked or tired. and that was frequently during rehab. Then there are adhesions that glue parts together that aren't suppose to be together.

    The pt can give you homework off the horse, frequently in front of a mirror to help you check your alignment . The ones I do only take 15 minutes. Some of them can be done subtly at work or in the car.

    One of my favorites for abdominal core strength and breathing is singing in the car...
    I'm assuming "PT" is physiotherapist? I hadn't thought of that, but that IS a good idea! Thanks!



  10. #10
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    Jan. 4, 2000
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    Part of it is just saying to yourself, 'I'm just not going to do this any more, starting NOW', and make sure your shoulder points forward, not so far in. We can accomplish an awful lot by simply being determined and focused.

    If your right shoulder twists forward, ride first with your right arm raised straight over your head, and then your left arm(doing your left arm last puts you rright shoulder where it belongs). Reach down and touch first your left toe with your right hand, and then your right toe with your left hand, then twist at the waist, so you look behind you in both directions, finishing with twisting to the right. When you sense your right shoulder sneaking up on your horse's ear, repeat the exercises.

    Too, go to the source of the problem. Get a reaction to your aids - to a light aid, and if you don't immediately get a reaction, escalate. Horses think in a simple way. If a light aid is ignored and instantly, immediately is followed by a good smack with the whip, the horse will try to 'train' the rider by immediately reacting to the light aid. As one trainer said, 'I want no human pretzels in my ring!' Don't twist yourself up - get a reaction to your aids, and 'don't let the horse talk you in to riding badly'.



  11. #11
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    Jul. 19, 2001
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    8,542

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    It's great that you are riding 5-6 times a week. That's how progress is made

    But those of us who ridie a lot on our own without enough instruction get habits.
    Sometimes bad habits. I think the best way to conquer this is to get some trainer help- intense over a short period if not for the long term- or if that's not possible - a reasonably talented friend who can be eyes on the ground. Going it alone sometimes results in ingrained bad habits!

    When I am without trainer or eyes on the ground I often set up a video cam in the corner. Very illuminating. Not as good as coaching but better than nothing.



  12. #12
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    May. 20, 2005
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    You're getting many good suggestions here. One thing that helped me (with a different problem entirely) was a visit to a chiropractor. This particular chiro specializes in sports medicine, and his wife's a rider, so he's familiar with rider problems.

    He did more to straighten out my position than a year's worth of lessons.

    Just something to consider. Try to find one with a sports emphasis.



  13. #13
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    Jul. 24, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Part of it is just saying to yourself, 'I'm just not going to do this any more, starting NOW', and make sure your shoulder points forward, not so far in. We can accomplish an awful lot by simply being determined and focused.

    Yes, I definitely agree with this. I was pretty successful at fixing my uneven hands problem by just thinking about that one thing for several rides (I went through a phase of carrying my left hand too high compared to my right). Isolating the one thing really helped, but the shoulder really seems to be a whole-body problem!


    If your right shoulder twists forward, ride first with your right arm raised straight over your head, and then your left arm(doing your left arm last puts you rright shoulder where it belongs). Reach down and touch first your left toe with your right hand, and then your right toe with your left hand, then twist at the waist, so you look behind you in both directions, finishing with twisting to the right. When you sense your right shoulder sneaking up on your horse's ear, repeat the exercises.

    Sounds like something worth trying. I could probably do those things at the walk with my horse without a problem. Then I just need to be disciplined enough to come back to walk and get my proper position back if I start to lose it!

    Too, go to the source of the problem. Get a reaction to your aids - to a light aid, and if you don't immediately get a reaction, escalate. Horses think in a simple way. If a light aid is ignored and instantly, immediately is followed by a good smack with the whip, the horse will try to 'train' the rider by immediately reacting to the light aid. As one trainer said, 'I want no human pretzels in my ring!' Don't twist yourself up - get a reaction to your aids, and 'don't let the horse talk you in to riding badly'.
    I DO realize this is a part of my problem.
    Thanks



  14. #14
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    Jul. 24, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by egontoast View Post
    It's great that you are riding 5-6 times a week. That's how progress is made

    But those of us who ridie a lot on our own without enough instruction get habits.
    Sometimes bad habits. I think the best way to conquer this is to get some trainer help- intense over a short period if not for the long term- or if that's not possible - a reasonably talented friend who can be eyes on the ground. Going it alone sometimes results in ingrained bad habits!

    When I am without trainer or eyes on the ground I often set up a video cam in the corner. Very illuminating. Not as good as coaching but better than nothing.
    Well, I have been riding 5-6 days per week for at least the last 4 years, with no long periods off (not the same horse!). But I'm still not a very good rider!

    I might not have mentioned originally, but I'm back to my regular schedule of lessons once per week. I had just missed out on lessons December through March (I think I took one lesson during that time) because I changed barns and schedules got all changed around... But man, do I ever notice a difference after being on my own for that time!

    I also have had someone video me during lessons, which is great (fabulous learning tool) and actually I have had my bf come and take a bunch of regular photos; it's amazing how you can see how problems are starting even just with still pictures.

    Another thing I like about a video of me riding my new horse: I realized that some of the parts of a ride that felt so horrible did not actually look that bad and it reassured me that my horse and I still looked overall, pretty nice together!



  15. #15
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    Jul. 24, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beasmom View Post
    You're getting many good suggestions here. One thing that helped me (with a different problem entirely) was a visit to a chiropractor. This particular chiro specializes in sports medicine, and his wife's a rider, so he's familiar with rider problems.

    He did more to straighten out my position than a year's worth of lessons.

    Just something to consider. Try to find one with a sports emphasis.
    I do go to a chiro if I'm having any pain or discomfort, but I've been quite comfortable lately. Did you go because you felt crooked or did you have pain/discomfort?



  16. #16
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    May. 20, 2005
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    I had a long time problem with my right leg. No matter how I tried to keep it under control, it seemed to have a mind of its own. It was wobbly and ineffective. Lunge line lessons helped, but the problem never really went away.

    After I took a fall with a client's horse, I decided an adjustment would be in order. I had some hip and sciatica pain, and believed it was due to the fall.

    This chiro gave me an examination, had me bend this way and that, tested muscle strengths and so forth. He decided my right hip flexor was weak and doing nothing at all to help me stabilize my core. He prescribed an exercise to strengthen it. By the next examination, my right hip flexor was stronger than the left one! So I had to do the exercise on both sides to even things out.

    My coach noticed an immediate improvement in my right leg and overall posture and core strength. I've always been a sort of loosey-goosey rider -- a tad TOO supple, if you will. The chiropractor's exercise helped me get control of my Slinky Toy self.

    We compensate with other parts of our bodies when one part is not working quite right. I compensated for the weak right hip flexor by gripping slightly, with my right toe pointing out. I probably never sat down perfectly square in the saddle, either. I collapsed to the right with my upper body. I'm still a long way from perfect, but getting the hip flexor deal fixed has helped so much.

    I'm just sorry I didn't get it fixed years ago!



  17. #17
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    Apr. 15, 2008
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    Smile

    PT is a physiotherapist or a physical therapist. There are quite a variety of specialties within that discipline. The one that helped me the most has advanced certification in orthopedic and neurology. She is quialified to teach at the medical school hospital level. She also happens to be a very good horseman, so she knows how a rider uses her body and pelvis.

    I can tell her that my horse locked up on the right rein at a canter and threw in some awful strides and a slam dance, and she can understand what that means. Then she translates into my body reactions, fixes my jams, and gives me the exercise to improve. I have had hyper- mobility in my pelvic ligaments, which then sets off the damaged back and the then the nerves do their thing.

    I hope you give it a try.



  18. #18
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    16,779

    Default Knowing you have a problem is half the battle

    That's true for addicts but also for riders!

    There is a serious point. I think straightness in the saddle has two parts, body awareness and then body control. Many of us walk around crooked, too. We build up muscle strength and awareness that makes us thinks we're straight. Nothing like a horse to tell you what's really straight.

    One exercise that works for me is to ride figure eights in a lesson, and then alone.

    In the lesson, I ask my ground person to tell me what adjustments I need to become straight. I change my position to achieve that and then ride for a while, noting any sensation I can that goes with it.

    Then I switch directions and get straightened again. I pay attention to what it feels like. When I ride the figure eight, I try to re-create the sensations I had when straight in each direction. This helps me build body awareness and strength needed to maintain these new, correct positions. Like a horse, I seem to learn by contrast, so switching direction often helps me. Also like a horse, I need to remodel my body slowly until the new position becomes natural.

    I do the same thing at home. I ride alone and without mirrors, so the figure eight, my horse's own straightness and responsiveness in both directions helps keep me in line.

    Hope this helps!
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  19. #19
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    Oct. 10, 2005
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    If you are crooked, try canter with out stirrups - it'll put you on the middle of the saddle and will be difficult for you to be crooked.



  20. #20
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    Nov. 9, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dressage Art View Post
    If you are crooked, try canter with out stirrups - it'll put you on the middle of the saddle and will be difficult for you to be crooked.
    hows shes surpposed to to this with an untrianed horse

    shes a novice rider on a noive horse of 4yrs old



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