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Ideas to fix rounding back/shoulder over fences

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  • Ideas to fix rounding back/shoulder over fences

    Hi - I cannot seem to get my position right over the top and backside of the fence. I have a very strong leg, base of support, heels down and good eye. I do A LOT of no stirrup work. I naturally have rounded shoulders but I work hard to keep them back on the flat. Things fall apart once I start jumping. I can keep my flat back up the fence - at take off - but you can see on the way down everything slouches. I've been trying to stay over longer on the landing but I'm wondering does anyone have any tips to keep my back flat thru the entire jump? Any tricks that might help? I'm going to try to get chiro work but I'm hoping someone might have a advice that worked for them. So frustrating!!

  • #2
    Have you tried using a placing rail a stride out on the landing side, so that you have to continue to hold your position past the landing point? If not, I would try that. Also, what happens when you do gymnastics? It is going to take finding an exercise that forces you to hold the position until you can train your brain and muscles to make that automatic.

    Comment


    • #3
      Can you explain how having rounded shoulders hinders the ability of a rider to stay quiet and balanced? I'm pretty sure you can look at hundreds of great riders and not see a flat back in the bunch. Using me as an example:

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

      It has been my experience that an artificial shoulder set tends to result in a very stiff arm and hand because the torso has to compensate for a non native back position.

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      • #4
        One thing to try is a shoulders back "posture" corrector. I've knew a couple of riders (way back in the olden days) that the riding instructor tied them up with bailing twine like a figure 8 (over the shoulder, under the arm, across back - ditto for other arm).

        https://www.google.com/search?q=shou...w=1455&bih=723
        ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

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        • #5
          Planks! I used to do this a lot too, and it turned out that strengthening my core helped immensely. It'll help you stay over longer, it'll help you stay steadier in the air. You say you have a flat back when you take off, so strengthening that core will help you maintain that position over the entire arc. I'm a big fan of pilates/yoga for this, but even incorporating some extra planks every day will help you out.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RAyers View Post
            Can you explain how having rounded shoulders hinders the ability of a rider to stay quiet and balanced? I'm pretty sure you can look at hundreds of great riders and not see a flat back in the bunch. Using me as an example:

            https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

            https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

            It has been my experience that an artificial shoulder set tends to result in a very stiff arm and hand because the torso has to compensate for a non native back position.
            Funny, I was complaining to my trainer the other day about how annoyed I was that I couldn't fix this issue and she basically told me the same thing. She said I was a soft, effective rider and by trying to keep my back flatter all I would do is become stiff and less in sync with my horse.

            OP, if your base of support is solid and you're not interfering with your horses jump, I wouldn't stress too much about it.

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            • #7
              I'm recovering from shoulder surgery and am working on fixing my shoulder position in PT. One of the things I've recently learned is that I use the wrong muscles to pull my shoulders back. I use my upper traps to force the shoulder and then pinch the muscles between my shoulder blades, which causes me to tense up all over, and then I can't properly put my arms forward while my shoulders are back.

              We've been working on thinking of "widening through the collarbone" instead of pinching my shoulder blades together and using my serratus muscle to push my arms forward. I can't say I'm very good at it yet but I can tell working the serratus is really going to help my riding. I've always struggled with feeling like my arms are too short to be able to simultaneously have my hands in the proper position AND my shoulders back/chest open, and most of that is due to straight up using the wrong muscles.

              Not saying you have the same issue but working with a PT to identify some of my imbalances/muscular misuse has been super helpful for me.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks so much for all the suggestions! I do have a shoulders back - tho the velco pulls free halfway over the fence when I roll my shoulders forward.It's a good reminder but it doesn't really fix the problem. I like this idea of widening the collarbone...nice visual that I'm definitely going to try. I feel like it's something I need to fix since I'll be showing in the equitation...):

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think of widening the collarbone or making my neck long, and that generally works at this point.

                  It did not help me much at first though, because for me, the problem actually originated as a flexibility problem. Approach and takeoff was fine, but over the middle of the fence the tightness in my hamstrings / outer hips prevented me from closing my hip angle properly, so I was rounding my back / shoulders to compensate. Yoga and stretching were instrumental in improving my flexibility, and now that I *can* close my hip angle, jumping itself does a good job of maintaining that flexibility for me.

                  Not sure if that applies to you, but its a thought.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    OP, could you post a photo? Interested to see if this shoulder rounding is really a major equitation issue, or just softness.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Momateur View Post
                      OP, could you post a photo? Interested to see if this shoulder rounding is really a major equitation issue, or just softness.
                      ^^^ Yes this - A photo example would really help here, as I agree with RAyers - a rounded shoulder in and of itself isn't a problem as long as you are balanced and soft.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by limptoad View Post
                        Approach and takeoff was fine, but over the middle of the fence the tightness in my hamstrings / outer hips prevented me from closing my hip angle properly, so I was rounding my back / shoulders to compensate.
                        I'm exactly the same - I'm very tight in my hamstrings (like, many a PT has marveled at it) and stiff in my hips so I tend to "release" with my back and shoulders instead of closing my hip properly. I really just have to think about pushing my hips back/sticking my butt out over every fence and then I fold properly. So frustrating.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Stick a riding crop into your pants/belt in front of you. If you don't sit up straight, it hits you in the face. Helps correct muscle memory very quickly
                          "Do what you can't do"

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                          • #14
                            Along the lines of widening the collarbone there are stretches you can do to loosen the neck and shoulders. When you lay on your back on the floor do your shoulders touch the floor? Or could someone start to slide their hands under? Do you look down a lot? Do your trapezius muscles get fatigued quickly?

                            If you’re answering yes than I would focus more on strengthening your back and core and lengthening your front.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              This is so interesting - I am one of the most inflexible people I know and have been told my hamstrings are crazy tight. This would make a lot of sense. I'd post a picture but the problem is really on the backside of the fence not over the fence - all the pics I have are the peak of the fence before my shoulders roll forward. I'm also going to do the floor test (: I have to work to keep my shoulders touching the floor.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I also have a rounded shoulders posture, both riding and without a horse.

                                What helps me when I'm working on an eq challenge I can't seem to figure out (flying elbows, swinging leg, rounded shoulders, etc) is very low gymnastics, generally a row of 3-6 bounces. And I mean LOW, because the whole point is to be able to go through several times without pounding on the horse's legs, and to keep it simple enough that the horse can pop through with zero guidance from me. I find that the rhythm of the jumps as they keep coming is what helps me figure out the right 'feel'.

                                I can fixate on what NOT to do to a single jump every single time, only to land and think "oops, I just did it again". But the series of bounces lets me find that correct position if not by the first jump, then by the 3rd or 4th. And I can go through multiple times and really focus on the feel of the correct position, because there's nothing else I have to worry about (distance to the jump, etc) I can just do it over and over (within reason) to help it become muscle memory.
                                A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

                                http://elementfarm.blogspot.com/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by horse_crazyi View Post
                                  This is so interesting - I am one of the most inflexible people I know and have been told my hamstrings are crazy tight. This would make a lot of sense. I'd post a picture but the problem is really on the backside of the fence not over the fence - all the pics I have are the peak of the fence before my shoulders roll forward. I'm also going to do the floor test (: I have to work to keep my shoulders touching the floor.
                                  My suggestion is to go on youtube and find a 30 day yoga or stretching challenge. On days you just can't spare the time, pick a short and sweet video, or just do a quick hamstring and ITB stretch and pick up the next day.

                                  After 2 sessions I saw an improvement in my riding, and after 30 days I was a different rider. A couple of times a week also works, but will take longer. I personally just wanted to commit to my thirty days, get it over with. Now that I have the flexibility, maintaining it is quite easy. I pretty much only do yoga if I feel myself getting a little tight or if I have time off from riding.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Keep your hip angle closed on landing. The upper back and shoulders round because your hip angle is opening prematurely and your brain knows it needs to not get the horse in the mouth.

                                    All the focus on the shoulders will indeed make a rider stiff. The problem is actually the hip angle opening too early. Focus on that and you'll fix the issue.
                                    Power to the People

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Go to the gym and do squats in an actual squat rack. Use a bar, though you don't need a ton of weight. The most helpful thing about the bar is that it requires strong, square shoulders.

                                      Oddly enough, I also found squats helped my leg position a ton for riding. I too am very inflexible in most of my leg, so strength training helped me get more flex in my ankles and knees because of the resistance.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        there are some really good stretches you can do with a resistance band for about 10 minutes a day that help.

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