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My driving v. riding theory...

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  • My driving v. riding theory...

    When I first started taking lessons at age 24, I had a hard time learning to keep my heels down... but I noticed after a while that it was easier to keep my left heel down than my right. Eventually, I theorized that maybe it had to do with driving... I'm more used to pointing my right toe onto the accelerator than pressing my heel down, and I feel as though they use opposite muscles... so maybe muscle memory was fighting me on that. Now I can keep them down evenly, but when I'm using my right leg actively, I'm more likely to have the heel pop up than when I use my left.

    Now, I have an issue with wanting to drop my outside hand through a turn. I'm starting to wonder if that might be related to driving a car too... I drive at the 10-and-2 position mostly, and always drive with both hands (I drive like a grandma), and so when I turn the wheel, I turn with my inside hand and my outside hand slides down the wheel to the bottom.

    Any thoughts? As I spend hours trotting around with a dang crop laid over my hands to keep 'em even, I'd like to be able to blame this on something. d;
    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

    Graphite/Pastel Portraits

  • #2
    Hmm, maybe that's true for you. I drive a stick shift, and when I'm not clutching I still put my foot on the dummy pedal. And this hasn't affected my heels, that I am aware of.

    If you drive a lot, it might affect riding. But I have a feeling that everything we do--how we walk up stairs, open doors, sit at our computers, walk our dogs--predisposes our bodies to certain habits.


    • #3
      I have always dropped my right hand ever since I started riding English. Blamed that on Western riding but my western eq was abysmal to non-existant. However reins in left and right hand resting on leg are still very easy for me to do.
      I have blamed puppy paws on driving powered equipment that had horizontal grips. I quit driving those two years ago this week and my hand position has improved, somewhat.

      I'll agree that your basic theory is correct, that some of the attitudes and postures we adapt in everyday life, such as slouching at desks for eight hours a day or gripping the driver's wheel of the car (which I do for at least two hours per day - I don't ride that often), can work against correct posture in riding.
      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
      Incredible Invisible


      • #4
        hey, I'll take that reasoning. Anything to help explain my crappy riding to my trainer.


        • #5
          I actually tell students to change the way they walk for awhile to better their riding.

          I also tell them to examine how they drive. We usually sit on one seatbone or the other when driving. You need to be careful if you try and switch.

          They are definitely related!
          “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
          ? Albert Einstein


          • #6
            I used to wonder a lot about what makes me do things incorrectly. Finally my instructor said "Who cares why you do it! Just stop doing it!"
            Then I finally understood her comments about being proactive and visualization - I simply stopped putting the energy into deciphering my mistakes and started re channeling my energy into doing things correct.

            I like what horsegaerie said about changing the way you walk: I spent a year walking around in proper "position" because I could rarely ride, and when I did get back in the saddle it made a HUGE difference in my riding. Use you body as you should as much as you can, visualize correct seat and balance. Carry yourself through your corners, up and down stairs with the same grace on foot that you desire in the saddle. Sit at your desk the same way - energy up through your head and balanced seat bones, loose, un-restricted hips,hanging legs. It sounds goofy but it's retraining the brain and muscles in a truly effortless way.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by hundredacres View Post

              I like what horsegaerie said about changing the way you walk: I spent a year walking around in proper "position" because I could rarely ride, and when I did get back in the saddle it made a HUGE difference in my riding. Use you body as you should as much as you can, visualize correct seat and balance. Carry yourself through your corners, up and down stairs with the same grace on foot that you desire in the saddle. Sit at your desk the same way - energy up through your head and balanced seat bones, loose, un-restricted hips,hanging legs. It sounds goofy but it's retraining the brain and muscles in a truly effortless way.
              That's interesting... I never thought of that, and it makes sense. I get too tense in my upper body when I ride, but I'm also prone to being overly stiff or tense in general... I work hard to relax in the saddle, but maybe I need to work on it more in general...
              "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

              Graphite/Pastel Portraits


              • #8
                WHen new students come to me I find that most of my right handed students are weaker on their right sides. They ride heavier on their left leg. They are mostly kids so they do not drive.

                They also tend to drop their right hand and pull a bit more on the right. I attribute this to the rider trying to compensate for the weaker right leg.....post off the left and use the hand to try to balance out their hips while posting.

                Think back to times when you carry your groceries, carried your books in school, etc. You bear the weight in your left hand so you can use your dexterous hand for opening doors, turning keys etc. The left is stronger, the right is dexterous.

                Without realizing it, you probably "rest" more on your left leg when standing. When you go up to a fence and put your foot on the bottome rail, which foot is it? Probably your right foot.
                Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
                Bernard M. Baruch