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  1. #1
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    Jun. 23, 2006
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    Default Crooked rider = crooked horse

    Video'd my ride last night and I catch my crookedness while riding but it really helps to actually see it. Note to self, try to tape as many rides as possible.

    I have a twist in my seat that I'm not always aware of. I'm twisted to the left which ultimately makes me put more weight to the outside and then makes him crooked(when tracking left he's counter bent). When I realize what I'm doing, then fix the twist in my seat, my upper body then twists to the outside. When I get my upper body into position, then I have to keep that position and focus on him. Now he's crooked, counter bent and needs a reminder to move his shoulder and ribcage over.

    What are some exercises good for this? I'm going to start riding without irons for part of every ride, blow the dust off my Equistretch videos and maybe invest in a mirror...
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"



  2. #2
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    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Default

    Nothing can help you like real-time eyes on the ground.

    I'm lucky to have a horsey mom who can watch when I need, but my horse becomes my eyes on the ground between lessons in that he tells me exactly how crooked I am in what direction!


    If you aren't straight while doing it, riding with stirrups is more likely to reinforce your crookedness if you do it at more than a walk. However, walking and thinking of stretching your legs down, feeling your seatbones wrap around his spine, and feeling where your legs are can help and stretch.

    I definitely recommend some sort of pilates/yoga/stretching for riders, which I'm guessing is what equistretch is from the name. It makes a big difference for me.


    Off the horse I've been sitting on one of those big round exercise/balance balls, and it immediately tells you if you're crooked plus helps you stretch as needed. That's been very valuable form me.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  3. #3
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    May. 6, 2007
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    Default

    Oh, oy - I feel you! My trainer and I just talked about this, and I've actually given her the OK to post a fairly disastrous video of me from last weekend, along with the observations she emailed me after viewing said video, on her blog. Long story short, there are some spectacular examples of me being crooked in the saddle and the horse responding accordingly.

    I tend to carry my head tipped to the right, and collapsed onto my right seatbone. In my lesson last night, we talked about the video, my posture and what to do. My rightward list has been a lifelong thing - it's hard for me to carry myself straight, because to me, I feel straight when I'm crooked. Awesome, right?

    My trainer's advice - let the horse be my schoolmaster on balance. If he's "going the wrong way" I need to immediately check my position, because in reality, the horse isn't being stupid, in my case, he is listening and following my (albeit misguided) aids. Ultimately, it's an exercise in self-awareness.

    I'm also re-doubling my off the horse pilates and yoga work. Yoga - balance posts especially - has helped me in the past. I really need to make that work a habit.

    ps I'm sitting on a balance ball as I type this. I use one too!
    Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

    Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs



  4. #4
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    6,997

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BoyleHeightsKid View Post
    Video'd my ride last night and I catch my crookedness while riding but it really helps to actually see it.
    I have a twist in my seat that I'm not always aware of. I'm twisted to the left
    I'm going to start riding without irons for part of every ride, blow the dust off my Equistretch videos and maybe invest in a mirror...
    Do you have access to any good (bodywork) coaches? even just a clinic would be very effective.
    Carefully examine saddle fit for both yourself & the horse (eg is horse is slightly assymetric, he may be pushing the saddle & you are twisting to counter balance).



  5. #5
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    Aug. 11, 2000
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    Chantilly,va.
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    Default

    get a Centered Riding or Alexandr technique lesson; massage for you and the horse! learn why you have that wist
    breeder of Mercury!

    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans



  6. #6
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    Jan. 12, 2000
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    Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
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    Default

    Mirrors! The rest of the advice out here is useless if you ride alone a lot and don't have mirrors to check your position and make sure you're staying where you belong. Both the horse and rider compensate for each other and you feel more crooked when you're straight after a while. So mirrors are the best way to check yourself once you've had some help and have figured out where the middle is, what it looks like and feels like (and it will feel crooked at first).
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2006
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    Stoystown, PA
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    Default

    The balance ball is a great idea. This is an old habit that I had nipped in the butt but is now back after a couple of years of just trail rides and tooling around. I also have not had a lesson in almost 3 years and that's something I'm working on. Finding quality instruction around here isn't easy

    eta: Velvet I'm going to see about putting up a mirror. I know this will help also!
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"



  8. #8
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    Jun. 23, 2006
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    Stoystown, PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Do you have access to any good (bodywork) coaches? even just a clinic would be very effective.
    Carefully examine saddle fit for both yourself & the horse (eg is horse is slightly assymetric, he may be pushing the saddle & you are twisting to counter balance).
    Hmmm... Boy's MT/Chiro is also a reflexologist/MT for people
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2000
    Location
    Chantilly,va.
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    Thumbs down no do ing or trying

    If you try to make your body"do" anything, straightening, stretching, etc. Your body will tighten in some other way to compensate; your best method is your mind; if the alexander person has an Alexander horse you can do a great deal on that stationary horse
    breeder of Mercury!

    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
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    3,505

    Default

    Jane savoi has some seat correction videos. When I feel slouchie or like I am losing it I do her excersizes of hands to neck and behind me without losing posture.

    Posture is a biggie for setting things straight.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  11. #11
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    Jun. 12, 2007
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    CT
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    Default

    I go to the chiropractor regularly solely to help my riding. Other than that, mirrors and constant eyes on the ground will deal with it the fastest.

    If you have to ride alone, pick one item or spot in the ring and do a body-position-check every time you pass it.



  12. #12
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    Jun. 23, 2006
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    Default

    Oh yeah... and when I find myself crooked... I'm also slightly collapsed on the left too.

    Thank you Carol, I've never heard of the Alexander technique. That looks very interesting.
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"



  13. #13
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    Apr. 28, 2009
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    Alberta's bread basket
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    Default

    Some of the best straightening training I ever went through was with Gina Belasik, the ex-wife of Paul Belasik, who has EXCELLENT out-of-saddle exercises that she uses to help teach riders balance, core strength, evenness, balance, and body awareness skills. She likes to use those big round balls, incorporating similar yoga moves that incorporate strengthening and stretching. All the time, she'll say be aware of which muscle is working. She travels all over coaching clinics, I highly recommend her. Her focuses in clinics when you get into the saddle is not just your horse, but also you the rider. She insists on correct position and correct aids. ALWAYS.

    My statement with your above admission of crookedness goes like this: If you're crooked while riding, then you're crooked in your everyday life.

    Until you straighten out your body in your everyday life, you will continue to struggle with crookedness on your horse.

    You can't straighten your crookedness while riding your horse. It must first be tackled on the ground with exercises, and then carried through with exercises on your horse, and finally applied to your riding habit.

    Also, EVERYONE is crooked. Some are just more noticeable than others. Whether you're a rightie, leftie, or ambidextrous (like me), you're STILL crooked to some degree or another.

    Also, every horse is crooked. Horses, too, are lefties, righties, or ambidextrous, but even still each and every horse has a degree of crookedness.

    If your crookedness happens to fall in the same side your own horse's natural crookedness is, then it become very obvious. If you're a leftie and your horse is a rightie, you can help each counterbalance, but it's still there.

    I suggest yoga, core strengthening, and using a ball for balance training. It really helps. If you can't sit on a ball with perfect posture, then it carries to your riding.
    https://www.facebook.com/MariposaSportHorses

    Practice! Patience! Persistence!



  14. #14
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    Nov. 12, 2010
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    51

    Default

    My poor horse! He is such a good boy and he tries his best to do what I want. But I know that I am crooked because I have scoliosis--curvature of the spine (among other things). I am 62 and have been struggling with this since I was 12.

    Nevertheless I can get him to go perfectly straight if I concentrate on the line I am riding--not on myself, not on him. Somehow we both compensate and do a straight line. I do believe it is all in the mind.

    Nevertheless, I do yoga, Pilates, acupuncture and have a great chiropractor! But I have to forget the problem and concentrate on the solution to get the best results when I am riding.



  15. #15
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    Oct. 9, 2000
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    Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
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    Default

    I teach a yoga for equestrians class and what I work on with my students first is body awareness, which then leads to body control. If you don't know what the problem is or where it comes from, you won't be able to fix it. Throughout our asana practice we're always checking in to notice our balance and how one side might feel different to the other and relating that to any asymmetries we have in the saddle. If you can separate your internal and external feedback (i.e. what your body feels is "right" vs. what an instructor can tell you is "right" from an alignment perspective) then you can work toward fixing the problem. I would recommend working with a yoga instructor or pilates instructor to help with this.

    You need both strength and flexibility - just like our horses, one side is stronger and one is weaker . . . and the side that is stronger you want to balance out with flexibility and vice versa. For example, I tend to collapse in my left ribcage - the muscles are stronger there and contract more, bringing my shoulder and hip closer together, if that makes sense. I'm more flexible through my right ribcage. I need to increase my strength in my right ribcage and increase flexibility through my left. I do this with a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises.

    As rodawn says, you also need to look at your everyday life - it isn't just in the saddle that you're crooked. Personally, I think a lot of it comes from driving - when we're sitting in the driver's seat, our right hip is shifted forward and our left usually isn't (unless you're very attuned to keeping your hips even and put your left leg as forward as your right). How do you sit at your desk? How do you sit when relaxing? This is all part of the body awareness that allows you to then make changes to control how you use your body in a variety of situations.

    Using a Swiss ball is great for noticing how/where you collapse and working your body mechanics to correct it so you can sit evenly and balance on the ball without your feet touching the ground (provided your ball is big enough).

    It may be possible that your legs are different lengths (mine are) and so riding with even stirrups actually makes your body uneven. It may be possible that when you put the saddle on your horse it isn't centered and is leaning off to one side (due to your horse's conformation or just not getting the placement right). It sounds like a "duh" thing to do, but let both your stirrups down and with your horse standing square, check the length of your stirrups to make sure they are even before mounting (or uneven as you would need them to be if your legs are of differing lengths).

    This isn't just an isolated position situation - you need to look at your body mechanics and alignment in all aspects of your life and notice patterns of how you move, where you experience pain, what things are easy vs. difficult, etc. Examine it from a holistic perspective, not just one body part doing or not doing something - it is all linked together.

    Again, finding a bodyworker, yoga or pilates instructor, Alexander/ Feldenkreis practitioner . . . all of these people will be able to help you with your awareness and alignment.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    Jan. 11, 2008
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    Windsor SC till Aug
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    I have a similar problem. The right side of my pelvis is tilted, which makes my right leg fall a little straighter than my left, and i have less control of the right leg (which will have more movement on bigger moving horses than the left leg). I have to constantly think to post MORE with my right pelvis, thinking to bring the right side more forward than the left, which in reality likely makes them even or close to, but to me just feels even more crooked cause i feel "straight" to begin with, but not... lol

    I work very hard in day to day things to make myself straight. It hasnt helped this issue, but it makes me more aware which does translate to my riding. For YEARS i struggled with this and every instructor told me i was fine, even some really big names... But i kept feeling off. I got to do a clinic on the mechanical dressage horses, that really pin pointed some things for me and made me more aware of how i had to be.

    I use the exercise ball daily, but it really has not helped me whatsoever in trying to straighten this particular issue.

    I ride 3 horses 5 days a week. So it's nice that i'm on different animals that have different types of crookedness, which makes me even more aware of how i sit, how i effect the horse in what ways, etc... Riding multiple horses is REALLY helpful.

    I am bringing a mare back from a torn anullar ligament injury, in which she had nearly a year off. She was always a lefty before, but that has changed with her injury as she built up the right side to compensate and now the left side is non-existent... I cant believe how much this has challenged me riding wise, how much i've taken for granted that my left side gets it "easy" and it's my right that has to work, now i have to really work that left side and find myself collapsing the left rib cage and sitting to the left, but not getting the weight down into the left stirrup... It's been crazy! But has really strengthened my left side and i've gotten better work to the left on my other 2 than i could previously, and wasnt even aware to the left was bad!

    So my advice, get on more horses! The pilates and stuff is good, but i dont know it helps all. The most important thing is to become more aware, if you are aware of it, you know to keep working on it. Those videos can be eye openers. Mirrors are great, but honestly, catching something minute in the mirrors is really tough, seeing your head tilt or that you need to sit back more, that's great for mirrors... The little things go missed.
    Your Horse's Home On The Road!
    www.KaydanFarmsEquineTransport.com



  17. #17
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    Oct. 13, 2010
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    Eden Prairie, MN
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    277

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Ames View Post
    get a Centered Riding or Alexandr technique lesson; massage for you and the horse! learn why you have that wist
    I've taken weekly Alexander Technique lessons for just over 2 years-and wow! Not only can I sit in the saddle better, I can sit in my car, stand in line, etc., etc., without getting back aches and my feet getting pins and needles. I was told a few years ago that I needed back surgery, but I thought I was way too young. I don't need it anymore! I highly recommend to anyone with back, neck, or hip issues, or anyone who wants to learn how to sit in the saddle.



  18. #18
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    Jan. 12, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by butlerfamilyzoo View Post
    Mirrors are great, but honestly, catching something minute in the mirrors is really tough, seeing your head tilt or that you need to sit back more, that's great for mirrors... The little things go missed.
    I couldn't disagree with you more, or maybe you don't use enough mirrors. If you have enough mirrors AND you know what to look for, you can catch the problem, work on fixing it as you go and then double check to see if you're straight in the side and front mirrors as you ride. You can also see if you stay when doing lateral work, etc.

    Often the problem is that people don't know what the root cause is. If you see your shoulders turned, it's usually your hip that's collapsed and the shoulders are a symptom, but NOT the root cause. You then need to look at where your hips are and do some changes in your position and also listen to your horse's reply when you make subtle changes or major changes, just to see what happens.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  19. #19
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    Jan. 11, 2008
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    Ok, I'll rephrase... Most people trying to pick up a mirror or two for their arena are going to end up with mirrors that will not give you CLEAR reflections further away than 15-20', they get warped looking. Good mirrors are expensive. So let's say they do get a couple good mirrors, but only a couple... So you only get brief glimpses when passing or heading straight at them but lost the visual on the turn.

    I put up a whole short side of mirrors that I got free from a salon and one was a big bathroom mirror. It was great if I was within 20' of it. Pointless further out as they gave a "fun house" effect, and you can't hardly see the big issues, let alone the small ones. So if I'm on a 20m circle, I had roughly 4-5 strides I could see before I had to turn my head. They were great to have regardless, till a storm with high winds shook them and cracked every one of my 4x4 support posts and shattered my mirrors.

    Now, when I got to ride at my trainers facility with her 8k mirrors, then yes, I saw quite a bit more... But that's not an option for most folks budgets...
    Your Horse's Home On The Road!
    www.KaydanFarmsEquineTransport.com



  20. #20
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    Jul. 14, 2011
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    Warren County, NJ
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    Feldenkrais! A bit similar to the Alexander Technique. When I was taking classes my horse never went better. My posture was fantastic and I looked taller and thinner.

    Then I stopped going : (



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