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Can you help my mom help me?

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  • Can you help my mom help me?

    I'm an OTTB who can really kick up his heels and go. But there were issues in my past, and I've always kind of favored my right hip, so it's weaker. My mom does that as well (I mean, she favors HER right hip, but that means she favors mine too).

    She has been working very hard the past four years with a trainer at a new barn. At first I was like, sigh, you know - I've seen barns come, I've seen 'em go, trainers as well. But this one - oh, this one is different.

    So we have been working very hard on self carriage for both my mom and me. Finding our cores, using them correctly, lightening up our front ends. My mom spends a lot of time at a microscope and computer, and she's just so tight, you know? Not mobile! I mean, I can move just a few muzzle hairs or one ear, but she can't always disconnect her leg from her arm.

    She has been getting better. She does Pilates, she practices her lessons with me, she thinks about this stuff. But, you know, she's no natural athlete. And I loff her, but sometimes, well, a lot of times, she is SO slow on the uptake.

    So...do you have any tips to help her be more light and mobile? Her core is a lot stronger, she is far more aware of imbalances or crookedness or even when she is blocking with just one part of her body. But knowing and fixing...two different things. And it's not like I could do a buck every time she blocks or holds to give her the tipoff. I mean I could, but I wouldn't.

    Her trainer says that this is what is the big issue for her. Lots, lots of improvement (and you can see that in me as well). But she wants to be able to do what is needed to really help me move correctly, and she just gets stuck.

    So, if you have any ideas, and can spell them out in words of maybe one or two syllables so I could explain it to her (like I said, I loff her, but sometimes she is so slow), I would be really grateful. And I bet, so would our trainer!!!
    Special Horses - equine volunteer to assist equines in need!

  • #2
    Your 'mom' would be a horse, right, or was your sire into some weird stuff?


    • #3


      • #4
        I'm his mom, egontoast. Not too many horses I know spend time at a computer or microscpe...though if you know of any, I'll be happy to have them in my lab! That is, if the university would allow...
        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


        • #5
          Are you safe as a longe horse? Get your mom into those longe lessons. They're good for balance, good for the seat, and just plain good all around. It's the place to work without stirrups and feel secure. At the Spanish Riding School, riders work 2 years on a longe. It is not for the fainthearted.


          • #6
            Yoga. Its done wonders for me!!


            • #7
              Originally posted by egontoast View Post
              Your 'mom' would be a horse, right, or was your sire into some weird stuff?
              You took the words right out of my uh, keyboard!
              Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


              • #8
                Second vote for Yoga. Perfect mesh with Pilate.


                • #9
                  Dear Ted,
                  I'm going to go in a different direction here. Is it possible that your mom is starting to "over-think" things? She could perhaps be thinking so hard about being "blocked" that she forgets to just "ride forward" and have fun.

                  Maybe she could take a lesson or two on a schoolmaster so she can just relax and concentrate on "feeling" and not think so much? Can she audit some really good clinics so she has a good mental image of an "unblocked" rider to strive for?

                  I dunno, just a thought. Good luck to you both!


                  • #10
                    These are helpful ideas! My Pilates studio is also starting yoga classes, so I am going to try them out. I also have the book (Yoga for Equestrians) - went to a yoga teacher, had a private lesson where she worked with me, did the stretches for a while...and then..um, I didn't.

                    My trainer also suggested riding other horses - which will happen in Sunday's lesson to start.

                    And yes, I overthink!!!!! It is my curse. In science, you niggle niggle niggle, even if you do it in batch mode, and then the answer formulates and you know how to design the experiment or interpret the result. With horses, when you overthink...you can lose your bridle in the dirt!

                    I appreciate the suggestions (probably Ted appreciates them more!). I'm at a good place now where things are really starting to mesh, and I want to keep that going.
                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                    • #11
                      I started T'ai Chi about 2 years ago - have made fantastic progress (for me,as I'm not a natural athlete) since. The slow controlled (well most of the time) movements help, as does the balancing one must do. I find it extremely beneficial for riding, not to mention mental/spiritual well being.
                      " ...the mist parted, and there was a green land under a swift sunrise." J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King


                      • #12
                        lots of riding and lots of lessons.


                        • #13
                          what charlieo says

                          I have been practicing yoga for about a dozen years. In the last few I have changed my perception of it from stretching to something more dressage-like. Instead of practicing an individual posture in isolation, I practice combinations of postures and focus on the quality of the transitions between the postures (sound familiar?). This has done a lot for me in terms of strength, balance and suppleness as well as given me a whole new appreciation of what we are asking of our horses. I feel that my ability to move naturally with the horse has really improved.

                          I have recently started t'ai chi and have found similar benefits.
                          See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


                          • #14
                            Find yourself an ART practitioner. Mine has done amazing things for my riding.
                            Originally posted by HuntrJumpr
                            No matter what level of showing you're doing, you are required to have pants on.


                            • #15
                              nhwr, that is very helpful - what I was trying to ask for, but without your eloquence! I also have some info re T'ai Chi and bookmarked some sites, will check that out as well. ambar - my Pilates instructor does something similar - T'ai Chi massage - is this the same, do you know? But that also helps.

                              If nothing else, this will literally help me become a more balanced person!
                              a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                              • #16
                                Many, many miles of trails with hills and water ... where you get tired enough to quit wasting any energy beyond the slightest nuance for guiding your horse. It (equitation) doesn't have to be perfect, but the miles will get you to flow with your horse as if you were the horse. Then go back and polish the dressage and develop your finesse.


                                • #17
                                  Have mom read this:

                                  and remind her that, for the person, it's a lot more about the ability of the body to return automatically to a balanced neutral position than about holding positions through strength. (You, Ted, will need both the neutral and the strength. Sorry, you're the beast of burden.)

                                  Remind mom that, sometimes, as people strengthen, they strengthen crooked, or off-balance postures, which make it hard for guys like you to stay balanced underneath them. Give her the chance to take a break from core-strengthening to check and make sure she's got core-straightening accomplished first. She'll like the week off from the pilates in favor of the passive stretching!

                                  And then tell her to give you a peep for being so helpful!


                                  • #18
                                    Dear Ted,

                                    I can relate. My horse's massage therapist is a certified person massage therapist and she is the best I have ever experienced. She simply laid her hands on my back and knew that I strained my neck forward at work (I use a microscope) and extended my right arm out too much (reaching for the confocal microscope mouse which was waaaaaaaay to the right of the system). It was amazing. Since she worked on my horse when my horse was stiff, she could find the commonalities between my body and hers.

                                    For your mom:

                                    My massage therapist highly suggested spending alot of time during work hours stretching my shoulders and neck back and doing basic stretches to keep my mobility. A few minutes but frequently during the day. She told be to be much more aware of my posture (which is generally good but is being influenced by the amount of microscope work I do). I rearranged my microscope set-up and chair so that I don't crane into the microscope - I sit up to look. I changed the mouse and keyboard position. I changed my computer setup. It has helped ALOT. I also stretch on a regular basis-even at work (in between readings or things). I always stretch before riding.

                                    As faculty, I bet that you get a free class per semester. Take a basic ballet class. It strengthens the heck out of your legs, core and arms and teaches you to use each independently of each other. Excellent posture is a result.

                                    Longe lessons also help isolate arms from legs but only if they are not typical longe lessons. I find that people isolate their bodies when made to. So on a longe line, drop the reins (longe in side reins) and with your right hand work on touching your right hip, then your left hip, then left shouder, then horse's right hip, his crest etc, your opposite knee/thigh. Learn how to move your upper body and arms independently and together to do all sorts of things without changing your position below the waist. This can be fun if you have a fun person longing you. Another exercise is to use a water bottle. Hold it out to your side and see how you have to sublty change your weight in order to keep your horse balanced under you. Don't hold it out and "count to 10", move it hand to hand, front and back, sip out of it, in a fluid way to train your body to balance on top of your horse while the balance is constantly changing. Again, a fun person longing you makes this fun. The purpose of this is to loosen people up who tend to be stiff or to pose, all while keeping them aware of how they are balancing on their horse.

                                    All of this put together helps you use your ankles, calves, knees, thighs, core, shoulders, arms, hands independently. It FEELS wierd at first, but that's fine! Inside rein releases also help to solidify the idea that the reins function independently.

                                    Video taping is worth a thousand words. My friends and I used to video each other during most clinics. At the very least it helps your brain see what you are doing "God I'm stiff" or "Geez, I'm leaning forward" or "Lordie, my hands never move with my horse". This is perhaps the greatest gift you can give yourself. At least that is the case for me!!

                                    In addition to the great Yoga advice, I'd suggest STRETCHING and maybe finding a GOOD massage therapist who is knowledgeable about horses, riders, and professionals who use keyboards for a living. (Yes, I know, Torrey Jeanes in Houston is perhaps the only person on earth with this background but she really turned my horse and me around).

                                    BTW, I am loving UNC. I feel sane again.

                                    Ted, please print out and give to your mom.


                                    PS. Get your mom to ride a true schoolmaster...or get a good trainer on you... feel is also worth a thousand words.
                                    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                                    • #19
                                      another vote for Program Your Position

                                      I have a weak right side also, the program your position from Jane Savoie and Ruth Poulson has helped me align my body with good images. Great self help.



                                      • #20
                                        I actually think swimming laps helps a lot, if your mom happens to have access to a pool.
                                        Roseknoll Sporthorses