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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2010
    Posts
    333

    Default Tilting Forward - Exercises?

    Though I rode combined training with my old horse, I spent the last couple of years either out of the saddle or riding hunter-type horses under primarily hunt seat instruction. Thus, as I get deeper into immersing myself in dressage, I'm dealing a lot with my tendency to tip forward.

    This is most obvious at the canter, where I have worked extremely hard to sit my butt down and use my core. However, I also have a tendency to slightly tilt at the trot. Tilting slightly forward from my pelvis causes my entire upper body to lean and it's not a pretty picture.

    I have made vast improvements since I started taking consistent dressage lessons again, and my horse and I have been doing solid, consistent work.

    I'm looking for some exercises as I continue to strengthen my core and work on this tendency - as I look to move toward first level this fall, it's especially important. I ride an average of 4-5 days per week and spend a lot of time suppling my horse - though probably not nearly enough time suppling myself. I do incorporate a fair bit of no stirrup work and am solid without stirrups at all gaits.

    As far as suppling - I've seen many people recommend yoga but I have tried several classes in the past and I just get so impatient! I know, I know, but I'm almost too type A to sit through an entire yoga class breathing and stretching. Is there *anything* else besides that that you all would recommend, as well as exercises for in the saddle?

    I *will* break down my tendency to tip forward!
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    A Voice Halted



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    375

    Default

    I know the feeling - I ride mostly hunter but have been taking lots of dressage lessons lately. I tend to tip forward or back, but I am slowly getting the hang of it.

    I would recommend you try a different type of yoga. There are some types that are much more intensive, faster paced and feel physically demanding from the get-go.

    Lunge lessons are great. I could not sit the canter until my trainer gave me a lunge lesson. Maybe one of those would help?

    I find when I am working on dressage, that I constantly need to check in with myself and see if my shoulders are over my hips. I also work on tucking my butt under me a bit, and from that position, it is much harder to tip forward when you are not constantly checking your own position.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2010
    Location
    OR
    Posts
    506

    Default

    As an ex-hunter rider I seem to have the best position when I feel like I am leaning slightly backward. It also helps to think of softening your back rather than arching it and using your core to perfect your posture instead. Of course, you probably know all this already.

    I too am easily bored during fitness classes, but I really enjoy Ashtanga yoga (sometimes referred to as "athletic yoga"). You move through strenuous positions fairly quickly, although the focus on breathing and balance is still there. The real relaxation part comes at the end of class. I normally fall asleep.
    MelanieC * Canis soloensis



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
    Location
    Spotsylvania, VA
    Posts
    12,987

    Default This may sound like a dumb question

    Do you look down? If you do you will tend to tip forward....BTDT.

    Pay attention to how you move off your horse. If you walk with your head hung down and your shoulders hunched forward you will tend to do the same on your horse. Try to keep a vertical alignment of your ears shoulders and hips.

    Consider trying Curves SMART, the computerized version. You can get a challenging workout in a half hour....or you can barely break a sweat. If you only do the original non computer monitored version it is easy to get complacent and not put any effort into it. You can usually get a free trial. Core strength isn't just abs, it's your back as well
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2007
    Posts
    557

    Default

    I've found that those coming from H/J background (myself included) have a tendancy to use the core muscles incorrectly when making the switch to dressage. When they engage their core, they do it in a crunching fashion which rounds the shoulders and starts to cause the upper body to tilt. When using your core, you need to stretch tall through it and stay firm between the shoulders.

    An exercise to feel the right muscle engagement is to sit in your saddle (mounted) or on a stool and have someone run a longe line behind your back. Position it in the center of your back and have a ground person pull on it. Resist the pull by keeping your shoulders back and your core firm and tall. Feel the difference in your seat when you use your core in a crunching fashion that rounds your shoulders vs. the correct muscle engagement.

    This may or may not be the root of your problem, but it's a useful excercise none-the-less. I was able to fix my position by being aware of HOW I was using the core and I've been able to help others too, so it's worth a shot!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 3, 2010
    Posts
    1,426

    Default

    Exercises I give are these:

    Walk with your hips ahead of you, toe heel, preferably when no one is around to watch. Whenever you can.

    Walk across the floor on your butt WITHOUT throwing yourself forward left and right at the shoulder to progress. LIFT each side of your butt straight up and as far forward as you can (it isn't much) to move across the floor. Exhausting but effective.

    Good luck!

    BTDT with the pics to prove it many years ago.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2009
    Posts
    1,895

    Default

    Concentrate on opening the hip angle and pointing the knee down toward the ground. That should help loosen and open the front of your "core". Also sometimes just telling yourself to "look at the sky" will help bring you back a bit. You will feel like you are leaning back but, trust me, you probably aren't but are sitting straight.



  8. #8
    AllAroundRider Guest

    Red face

    I feel your pain! I still struggle against this sometimes. As CFFarm said, open that hip and point your knee cap down...One thing that I find helps people open the hip (what DOES that mean, anyway, right?) is to think about not just straightening the leg downward, but also to visualize widening the hip at the pelvis. The shorter leg that we use for jumping and cross country tends to lead to some gripping in the knee and/or upper thigh, and a TURNING IN of the whole leg from toe to hip socket. Try this exercise: take your feet out of your stirrups, and stretch the whole leg straight out from your horse's side so it does not touch at all, then gently drop it down as long and straight as it will naturally fall (don't force!). Do this 3-4 times at the beginning of each ride, and repeat during your ride if you feel yourself tightening or leaning forward. You should feel that your crotch gets a tad deeper in the saddle, and your upper thigh has a much lighter contact with the horse. When you take back your stirrups, think about CFFarm's knee cap pointing at the ground, to help your leg stay in the right place.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
    Posts
    4,006

    Default

    my favorite, imagine your spine is a tree trunk stretching and reaching tall up to the sky.

    lol, gotta try the butt walking lol!
    Worry is the biggest enemy of the present. It steals your joy and keeps you very busy doing absolutely nothing at all... it’s like using your imagination to create things you don’t want.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    15,268

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GreyStreet View Post
    Though I rode combined training with my old horse, I spent the last couple of years either out of the saddle or riding hunter-type horses under primarily hunt seat instruction. Thus, as I get deeper into immersing myself in dressage, I'm dealing a lot with my tendency to tip forward.

    This is most obvious at the canter, where I have worked extremely hard to sit my butt down and use my core. However, I also have a tendency to slightly tilt at the trot. Tilting slightly forward from my pelvis causes my entire upper body to lean and it's not a pretty picture.

    I have made vast improvements since I started taking consistent dressage lessons again, and my horse and I have been doing solid, consistent work.

    I'm looking for some exercises as I continue to strengthen my core and work on this tendency - as I look to move toward first level this fall, it's especially important. I ride an average of 4-5 days per week and spend a lot of time suppling my horse - though probably not nearly enough time suppling myself. I do incorporate a fair bit of no stirrup work and am solid without stirrups at all gaits.

    As far as suppling - I've seen many people recommend yoga but I have tried several classes in the past and I just get so impatient! I know, I know, but I'm almost too type A to sit through an entire yoga class breathing and stretching. Is there *anything* else besides that that you all would recommend, as well as exercises for in the saddle?

    I *will* break down my tendency to tip forward!
    common problem- check your stirrups are the correct lenght as this will help your position and balance

    often people tilt forwards which means they are supporting the body weight into the bridle area which effects the horse way of going

    read all off page one and all link

    http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=178116

    last page there is tips on simple exercises you can do with your horse working with no stirrups and on the lunge with someone to begin with will inprove your seat as then you will working towards an independant seat



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Trails and woods
    Posts
    1,585

    Default

    Make sure that the saddle fits you and your horse. I went through this recently. My saddle appeared to fit me, but I was fighting the position too much.

    If that checks out fine, others offer great advice.
    Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

    Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2010
    Posts
    333

    Default

    Thanks all - have addressed saddle fit and am slowly lengthening the stirrups. It takes me a bit to warm up and get my muscles tired enough so I can really stretch my legs down and stretch up tall. I'll have to give these other exercise suggestions a try - I'm glad to know I'm not alone!
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    A Voice Halted



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 7, 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    48

    Default

    I had (have?) problems with this. Two things really helped me.

    1) Riding in a saddle that fit (you say you've got that one covered). Spending a couple months in a high quality saddle really helped me figure out where I needed to be and now I can find it faster/easier in other saddles.

    2) My instructor said to try imagine a piece of wood in front of me that I wanted my FRONT in line and up against. So instead of the arched back/riding on my crotch from hunters, I had to rock back on my seat bones and push my hips forward towards my hand, but at the same time keep my shoulders up and back so that my entire front would be "flat". I might've butchered that description, the lesson where she explained it in depth was like 18 months ago . The bonus to this is it also opens my hip flexors and pushes my knees down to lengthen my legs.

    It's a difficult habit to overcome and it'll take awhile, but you can do it! I'm still working on it, but I can tell I've made a lot of progress in the last year.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 12, 2004
    Posts
    1,014

    Default

    You can also try putting your little toe a bit lower than your big toe...

    That opens your hip out and puts you back on your butt more.

    But I have a HECK of a time staying there.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2008
    Location
    Windsor SC till Aug
    Posts
    1,410

    Default

    I'm right there with you. Though i've figured out "my" problem to not be my core at all.

    When i ride hunters, i tend to be on green ponies and due to this, i'm a little grippy with my knees and thighs. I dont know about you, but i detest coming off!

    So the past 2yrs of focusing on just dressage, i've had the issue of curling up my body, and tipping forward. I can still do this with long stirrups or no stirrups because i will then just compensate by bringing my heels back behind my hips... Which is easy for me to do as i'm still riding ponies and there just isnt that much barrel there...

    My light bulb moment was at a lesson back in December. I was cantering and my mare was getting lazy. My instructor was constantly saying BUMP THE HORSE, USE YOUR LEG, i could tell she was getting frustrated, "I" was getting frustrated! So my next ride at home after this lesson, i was really trying to bump the horse... You know what... I couldnt. I was just "locked in" enough with my thigh that i couldnt physically take my lower leg off the horse to bump her. I could squeeze the air out of her lungs, but i could not bump.

    Once i realized that, i quit thinking about everything else and just focused on keeping my legs relaxed and independent. Poof, i had my canter in an upright position.

    I've also found that if i think about curling my body up now, it's usually because my hands are too low and my upper body is following them downward. If you focus on keeping your hands above the saddle a couple inches, you'll find it's harder to let your body tip forward.

    And of course, when you come to sitting trot, think lean back a little and loosen the lower back. As a hunter rider, i think this is always an area of tension, and it's hard to let it break loose and really move with the horse. I focus on only using my ab muscles alone for my sitting trot, with the mental picture of a string attached to my belly button pulling my abs forward and UP with the movement. This visualization may help you uncurl yourself in the other gaits too.

    It's a really hard transition going from hunters to dressage! Many here sympathize with you! I started out western - riding reining horses, then went to dressage going to 3rd level, then hunter ponies and totally screwed myself up, now i'm starting all over in dressage again and been stuck at Intro/training level for 2yrs... It is SOOO frustrating! Especially knowing you've done this before and didnt have these issues!

    To me, i think 1st level is the biggest hurdle for most riders. So dont beat yourself up too much, it will come, it will just take some hard work!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2003
    Location
    northern California
    Posts
    1,445

    Default

    Lots of good suggestions, but imo the best fix is quality longe lessons.
    You need to retrain your brain and body to a whole different way of sitting (from hunters) and nothing better than longe lessons where you can totally concentrate on just your seat!
    Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter...
    Wenn er faellt dann schreit er...

    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    forward is like love - you can never have enough



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2007
    Posts
    2,899

    Default

    Another poster mentioned it, the BEST thing I ever did for my position was truly relaxing my legs. Once I stopped pinching in the knee and thigh my whole upper body opened up and stayed there. Try lifting both legs totally off the horse at the walk. Only your seatbones should be touching the saddle. Hold them there for about two seconds and then gently let them rest back down draped on the horse's side like two wet towels. When your legs are truly relaxed and not pinching your upper body will automatically open up.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    15,268

    Default

    go to the bottom of my helpful links pages there some simple exercises you can do with your horse,



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2007
    Location
    too far from the barn
    Posts
    5,592

    Default

    pilates, lots of pilates
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!



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