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Twisted Pelvis

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  • Twisted Pelvis

    I sat on the wired saddle at the WEG's and had the instructor fiddle with my position. When she set me up correctly I felt really crooked and twisty, I told her and she had me relax again. Long story short she told me I have a twisted pelvis. I got on solid ground again and pointed both knees forward and let myself relax, my shoulders are at a pretty severe angle from my knees. I can't believe I never noticed it before (I was a H/J convert so I never really spent much time IN the saddle), but it explains why I keep my stirrups different lengths and stand so oddly. Also, my horses tend to counter bend to the right (the way I bend).

    Is there anything I can do to help this? Any special saddles or pads I can use? I'm really just at a loss. I can always just try to modify my position, but it will probably be difficult to sustain for an entire lesson.

  • #2
    Chiropractor? Physical Theraphy?


    • #3
      yoga might be a good place to start, develop some body awareness so you can be more conscious and maybe take small steps throughout your day trying to straighten yourself.

      I would also suggest having a saddle fitter give your saddle a look for evenness, its entirely possible that your saddle has been worn in uneven, and even your leathers stretched unevenly.
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


      • #4
        I wouldn't put too awful much stock into that pressure-sensitive saddle or into the woman looking at the results. I watched 5 people, all of whom "didn't put the left leg on the horse". I literally had to force my left leg onto the "horse" to get any kind of reading. And honestly, I stopped listening when she told me to turn my toe out and put the back of my calf on, and to pump with my seat to keep the "horse" moving.

        So yeah, it might be right, but have a good chiro or PT evaluate you before you take that experience as gospel.


        • #5
          Anusara yoga and a good osteopath!
          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks! I'm going to see if the local Y has any free yoga programs (my school has a "YMCA club" that's free for students). I think I have a yoga book lying around the house somewhere too.

            And it's not just on the horse that I notice it. When I stand up completely straight with both knees and feet forward, my shoulders are at a noticible angle. When both hands are limp, my palm is pretty much resting on the front part of my thigh instead of the side. Does that make sense?


            • #7
              You might make a trip to a chiropractor and have some xrays done.

              I have a similar issue. I have a 18mm dislocated pelvis. It sucks. However knowing the issue really helps me, and I know when I need some attention to my hips. And I was able to, based upon the xrays, have my GP refer me to PT, where I got some really good exercises to help me. Without the chiro diagnosis and xrays my GP would never have referred me to PT.
              Hopeful Farm Sport Horses
              Midwest Breeders Group
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              • #8
                centered riding
                and practice!
                i sat on the same machine, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that me, a formerly "twisted" was shockingly symmetrical. it took me 4 years to fix though
                chaque pas est fait ensemble


                • #9
                  I have a very assymetrical pelvis - which causes everything else to twist.

                  I ended up putting one of the FITS breeches shims on the underside of a seat saver to push my right seatbone forward a little.


                  • #10
                    Geez, people out here seem to think you can fix all physical anomalies by seeing a chiro, doing yoga, or just wishing it would go away.

                    I have a vertibra that is slightly fused to another one--in the last part of my spine near the saddle. This makes things crooked all the time. I also have a leg that turns out when I'm completely relaxed.

                    Guess what? I've got a chiro for a friend, I've done yoga, I've also never used those to fix the problem. The problem cannot go away. You might have something similar that only an x-ray will show you.

                    Once again, guess what? Don't freak out about it! You can do upper level dressage and be crooked. You can also make a horse go straight. You have to find the center for yourself and your horse. Listen to your horse. Often they can even easily compensate for your imbalance. They only know what they learn from YOU.

                    Yes, it might be easier to be in the middle, perfectly balanced, and to have a horse that's perfectly symmetrical. Guess what? (I love using that line for some reason.) Horses are not symmetrical and they have their own uneveness! They ALWAYS will have some, and some have more than others.

                    Give up the idea of finding a cure. Instead, find the middle of the horse and your balance. Find what makes your horse happy--and enjoy your ride.
                    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


                    • #11
                      Give up the idea of finding a cure. Instead, find the middle of the horse and your balance.
                      Why give up before she's even started? At least let her TRY a chiro/PT/yoga solution.

                      I also have a pelvis that twists to the right pretty badly. It's a congenital defect visible in x-rays. However, regular adjustments and PT work keep it manageable and stop my hips tightening to compensate. Without it, it's simply impossible for me to find and stay in the middle of my horse.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                        Give up the idea of finding a cure. Instead, find the middle of the horse and your balance. Find what makes your horse happy--and enjoy your ride.
                        It's just that mentality that got me where I am, with a terribly dislocated pelvis and probably no chance to fix it. The whole deal it mentality instead of finding my issue when it happened and getting on top of it.
                        Hopeful Farm Sport Horses
                        Midwest Breeders Group
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                        • #13
                          I have sculiosis as well as some twisted vertebrae. I have spent a long time fighting my natural position...I tried chiropractors, but they kept wanting to twist my neck and I wasn't ok with that

                          The breakthrough for me came after I had a riding accident and had to go to physical therapy. The therapist told me that because of the twist, my muscles have developed unevenly to compensate for my skeletal structure and he gave me exercises to do with the thera-bands to target the weak muscles.

                          He also told me that while the skeleton is the underlying structure and informs stance/posture - muscle development can over-ride that and you can be close to pain-free. He also told me to concentrate on core work and that riding is unique in it's ability to target the core and those deep muscles that directly impact skeletal alignment. Best advice I ever got...

                          2 years later - I register as having straight posture and my position is better than ever and my horse is straighter and more responsive than ever and I am 90% pain-free.


                          • #14
                            Um, for those who missed the point...

                            Deal with it meaning you CANNOT change some things about your skeletal structure--unless you have surgery. I didn't say don't work the muscles when you ARE in the middle of the horse and helping it balance.

                            My point was, there's NO magic bullet for a major structural issue. Not with people, nor with horses (outside of surgery). It takes work to stay in the middle and in balance, but everyone's body is unique and trying to straighten yourself through other methods only create compensation in other areas.

                            THAT was my point.
                            "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


                            • #15
                              Hmmm, I had a rotated pelvis one time after a nasty fall and it took some very deep (and painful) massage work to loosen up the muscles enough for my chiro to get me back in alignment. Not sure if this would help in your situation but might be worth a try.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                                Geez, people out here seem to think you can fix all physical anomalies by seeing a chiro, doing yoga, or just wishing it would go away.

                                AMEN! THANK YOU!

                                It's your conformation and you must work/live with it.

                                My spine twists like a double helix. Therefore my left hip is forward/right hip back and my left iliac crest is 1cm higher than the right. I have a higher % of dorsal flexion in my right foot therefore my right leg is always longer. My right leg is weak due to being injured several times therefore it does not work quite right. (lol, pardon the pun)

                                I have to make myself feel like I'm falling off my horse to the inside when cantering right--then I'm straight. And I usually make my right stirrup leather (jumping saddle) higher to accommodate the over flexion in that ankle.

                                That being said, my horse has a drop hip on the left side and he circumducts his right hip. That's not my fault, it's his conformation.

                                No Chiro can fix these issues. It's how G-d makes us. We just have to deal.

                                I actually changed the symmetry of the twist on my 1st jumping saddle---I think. I looked right down it's dorsal one day and the sucker was not straight. oooops! But that particular horse also had a higher left shoulder, lower right back and a twisted neck (her head always pointed a little right). So maybe it was her fault...? one can only hope.

                                If you have not diagnosed the issue that is a good place to start. But having a chiro try to change your conformation is...blah blah blah.
                                The body learns to deal with itself and compensate for conformational asymmetries accordingly.
                                Rotate your stirrup leathers no less than once a month.

                                I'm a biomechanist BTW. I worked in hospital movement lab for quite some time.
                                Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                                • #17
                                  My right iliac was rotated until I saw a physical therapist. Turns out that was causing my lower back pain (because any movement my hip made it stole from my lower back) and causing my inability to really plug into the saddle (any time I did, it drew me into a perch again).

                                  It all stemmed from one area: the rigidity and atrophied muscles of my right foot. This condition also causes shin splints and knee pain. Something I've had issues with since I was 14 years old.

                                  So while the PT could manipulate my hip back and I could do all the hip stabilizing exercises and pulling my iliac back under my own power, every morning when I walk the dogs, my hip gets pulled slightly forward again. So then I have to undo it that day, or if it builds, it gets worse.

                                  Now that we have pinpointed the foot problem, I have to toe raises and other stuff to strengthen my foot. Eventually the idea is to get my foot working normally so it won't pull my hip out slowly over time.

                                  My point is that even if it is a conformational problem, you can learn how to manage it. If we didn't pinpoint my foot, I would continue to manage my hip the way I had been.

                                  Also, yoga and correct riding really can't undo a serious problem. I tried this for years before realizing it didn't matter how much I exercised, I always had problems with plugging in.

                                  Anyway a good physical therapist would be a great place to start. PT is like an onion, it can take several months of pealing away the layers to find the underlying cause. But it isn't a panacea. Though I suspect they can help.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by AzuWish View Post
                                    Also, yoga and correct riding really can't undo a serious problem. I tried this for years before realizing it didn't matter how much I exercised, I always had problems with plugging in.
                                    I'll give you an "Amen!" to that one, Azu.

                                    Some things can be overcome and fixed, others you just have to deal with. It all depends on the root cause/issue.

                                    Sometimes just learning to live with something makes it easier to learn how to ride better. If you stop trying to fix it, you can learn to work around it and move forward in your riding again!
                                    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


                                    • #19
                                      Newsflash: You will not be going to the Olympics.

                                      But realistically, how many riders do? Even with serious physical limitations, you still can be a darn good and effective rider. Check out the para-equestrians if you have any doubt.

                                      You will have to work harder than someone without these limitations, and it may involve unmounted "bodywork." I highly recommend


                                      and check out her source materials such as the Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais systems of bodywork. (Go ahead, Google them.)

                                      If you can find an Alexander Teacher who is an equestrian, that would be ideal.
                                      Good luck!
                                      "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                                      • #20
                                        Feldenkrais fixed most, not all, of my asymmetry due to scoliosis.
                                        You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something… S. Jobs