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I Rock (literally) - HELP!

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  • I Rock (literally) - HELP!

    So, at the canter, I rock (i think that's the best way to describe it) with my upper body, which I am assuming stems from riding lazy ponies. I know, I shouldn't be making excuses for it, but it's become a really bad habit now, and I now do it on every horse I ride. Other than being really really concious of stopping it, are there any tips or tricks I can try to avoid it? It looks absolutely horrible when I see myself on video, but I don't even know I'm doing it! When I conciously make an effort to keep my upper body still, I end up looking stiff which therefore passes onto the horse who then becomes stiff and unrelaxed as well. Has anyone experienced anything like this before?

    Please help!

  • #2
    Originally posted by _downpour_ View Post
    So, at the canter, I rock (i think that's the best way to describe it) with my upper body, which I am assuming stems from riding lazy ponies. I know, I shouldn't be making excuses for it, but it's become a really bad habit now, and I now do it on every horse I ride. Other than being really really concious of stopping it, are there any tips or tricks I can try to avoid it? It looks absolutely horrible when I see myself on video, but I don't even know I'm doing it! When I conciously make an effort to keep my upper body still, I end up looking stiff which therefore passes onto the horse who then becomes stiff and unrelaxed as well. Has anyone experienced anything like this before?

    Please help!
    Rock to me is side to side, but I know you don't mean that. Explain the "movement".

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Rock, like forward & backwards. Not in the usual gentle rocking motion that you get from the natural canter, but like a overly exagguated rock, like a pumping with the upper body kind of. my upper body is not still, in other words. too much foward/backward movement.

      lol hard to explain!

      Comment


      • #4
        All I can recommend other than making a conscious effort about it is... take your stirrups away, pull your shoulders back and sit up tall... Think of riding like a dressage rider, eyes up... even if that means you looking at the sky the whole ride... that combined with your shoulders back and no stirrups... you should definitely stop rocking. I'd imagine rocking like that while looking up would make you sick anyways...
        Good luck... It's really not a "hard" fix... oh and also, DO NOT pinch with your knees!!! That will throw you forward instantly!
        Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!

        Comment


        • #5
          I had a student who rocked too, and I couldn't seem to help her with it. I asked an old mentor of mine for advice. What she said really worked - for cantering seated (in dressage) she said "move your hips more so your upper body can move less". I extended this phrase for two-point and light half seat - "move your ankles, knees and hips more (they are your shock absorbers) so your upper body can move less". Hope that helps.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by EventMore View Post
            I had a student who rocked too, and I couldn't seem to help her with it. I asked an old mentor of mine for advice. What she said really worked - for cantering seated (in dressage) she said "move your hips more so your upper body can move less". I extended this phrase for two-point and light half seat - "move your ankles, knees and hips more (they are your shock absorbers) so your upper body can move less". Hope that helps.
            this is the trick i like to use!

            i think for people that have issues like rocking/pumping at the canter, it's more about not having an independent seat more than anything else. just because your hip is following the motion, doesn't mean your leg/upper body/hand has to go anywhere. ideally you want to be able to hold your core, ab, and lower back muscles to keep your upper body still and strong, while keeping your hips and seat relaxed to follow the horse. and a lot of that just comes from mileage and working on this a LOT. and crunches don't hurt.
            Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

            PONY'TUDE

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            • #7
              Rocking, if this is what I think I'm visualizing, to me, indicates lack of core strength. Some people need very little core strength to hold themselves straight as a board on a horse, and then there are people like me who need to go the extra mile off the horse to strengthen the core. No stirrup, seated canter and trot work will help you focus more on your balance and hence your core all the way round your middle will be activated. Keep focusing on keeping your abs tight, and pulling your back together and up with your abs. Honestly in riding, the two things that need to be active 100% of the time are lower leg muscles and abdominal muscles. hope this helps a bit!

              Comment


              • #8
                my guess is that you mean 'rock' as in 'pumping'?

                I slightly started down this path not too long ago from riding a super lazy ottb. Really really bad habit but easy to break!

                I find that as soon as you are conscious of it, try sitting up very straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together to keep your shoulders back and very tall. Usually I find by just remembering to squeeze my shoulder blades usually fixes the problem for the most part (weird). I believe someone (or maybe a couple? I didn't read through all the posts) also suggested losing the stirrups which is a great idea.

                I find that not only will I pump with my seat and body, I will tend to follow along with my arms, but once again, as soon as I fix my shoulders, suddenly I'm not "chasing" my horse with my reins and pumping with my arms.

                Try constantly thinking to yourself "tall and dressage-like" - no moving of the body!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had battled with this too in the past, and I noticed it more on the lazier horses. It was almost like I was using my upper body to help keep them forward. Once I strengthened my core and legs, I was able to hold myself steadier. Try using your hips/pelvis more to follow the canter rhythm rather than the upper body. And I too had to do exercises on AND off of the horse to strengthen my core. I'm not naturally strong in that area so I had to work a little harder at it. Good luck!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The old egg and spoon game can be a real help if you are into being a little silly. But along the same lines I've had instructors tell me "imagine you are carrying a tray with a glass of water on it" - if you actually try that at home, walking around your kitchen, you'll feel how your abs hold your upper body independently and your upper body sort of "floats" to prevent the water sloshing, while your hips move to balance you as you walk.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This is an all to familiar issue to me what has helped me is to take one hand of the reins and let it hang straight down at my side tapping the saddle pad in rythm with the horses stride and the concentrating on keeping my lower back soft and following with my hips. When you are "rocking", you balance is off and you won't be able to truely let that hand hang straight down at your side. When you get more balance you can start to move that free hand around and also do the same excercise with no- stirrups...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've been working on this, and for me at least, some of the problem is getting my legs stronger, so I can rely on them to get my mare going, rather than trying to use my upper body. I also try to get a really good canter, even too much canter, so I can relax, and feel like I do not need to do as much to keep that canter.

                        Once I get that, I think of a zipper going all the way up my abs, and I stretch it as long as I can while keeping my abs tight (like I need to make them tight to keep the zipper closed). I let my lower back flex with the forward motion, and I think of keeping my knuckles lightly against her neck, so may hands stay quiet. Maybe (Probably) not perfect, but it has brought a lot of improvement.
                        My blog: Journeys in Riding

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Have your trainer lunge you with no stirrups while you hold the pommel and cantle.

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                          • #14
                            Some people "rock" due to a pinch in the knees and not having enough weight thru the back of the calf down to heel in the stirrup. They are "pivoting" back and forth on their knee, if this is your problem then you need to strengthen your base of support, which is best done by riding without hands for support. Also standing in stirrups and then going to two point and back to a standing position, with weight centered over the leg into the heel will help.
                            www.shawneeacres.net

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's in the arms

                              If you relax your arms and let them move WITH the motion of the horse, your upper body will stay quieter. Try holding your reins like "driving reins" ( palms up with thumb pressed to top of rein) and just let the horses motion take your hand. Close your eyes and get in touch with your horse.

                              Good luck!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by equitationlane View Post
                                If you relax your arms and let them move WITH the motion of the horse, your upper body will stay quieter. Try holding your reins like "driving reins" ( palms up with thumb pressed to top of rein) and just let the horses motion take your hand. Close your eyes and get in touch with your horse.

                                Good luck!

                                That is a very good way to think about it.
                                I noticed I did this both with my upper body AND my seat, after riding a lazier horse and also not being strong through my leg. It can be a really hard habit to break when you have been riding the lazy ones who won't move off your leg. I agree with the comment of doing no stirrups and also establishing a good canter and focusing on your position (maybe have another rider watch you and call you on it).
                                Love my "Slow-T T B"
                                2010 OTTB, Dixie Union x Dash for Money

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