Monday, July 13, 2015

Form and function - the struggle is real

I constantly am seeking ways to make Tillie happier and working more correctly without me getting in her way. So I am on a mission to work on my form and iron out those demons that cause the right side of my body to have a mind of its own and generally just drive me bonkers. It is so beyond frustrating to know what you need to do with your body and not be able to actually make your body do it.

So lately my confidence in  my riding has become really fragile where I feel like I need instruction all the time. It has gotten to a point where I almost do not want to ride unsupervised. Even if I just have eyes on the ground to yell at me for a tense lower back, posting too far back in my saddle...etc. I can list things I do wrong all day long. More importantly, it's nice to have those eyes on the ground to point out when the wrong things get fixed...because sometimes it initially still feels soooo wrong.

So I had to put my training cap away for a ride and subject Tillie to my antics...Luckily she was tolerable of it. Shockingly so! She even seem to respond really well to some of the different things I was trying with my body.

The videos are blurry, so I realize make it a bit difficult to see the nuances of me shifting and playing with my body. But I figured I would share anyway. It was really interesting how changing some things in my form really changed the functionality of other things and Tillie's response. Well DUH right?! Who woulda thought...

I believe this was towards the end of the ride...I am working on not collapsing the right side of my body. This results in a tense (water-skiing effect) leg and tense shoulder which leads to tense hands.Which of course will create a horse that braces or simply can't give and be as fully supple as they can be. 

This video I am trying to tuck my bottom under me more to eliminate the tension in my lower back since I have the tendency to sit/post with my back arched out and perched. I can see now in this I am still sitting too far back in my saddle and at the canter not giving with my hands like I should.

More canter work here...I can see now my upper body needs to still more but my hands need to give more. In the moment I was focusing more on evening out my hands and trying not to let my left hand drop. 

More of the same here with the lower back as the focus and trying to use my seat to encourage the bigger step from Tillie without speed.

Again working on my lower back and sitting taller...If you listen you can hear me say how weird it feels. It seriously felt like I was bounding all over the place.

Working on not collapsing in the downward transition here and keeping Tillie connected while keeping the bigger step.

My lower back tension is creeping back in here since I am concentrating on my collapsing issue to the right. Its really challenging to think of all this at once!

Last video, still working on the collapsing right issue. Clearly I was running out of steam at this point. 

I am so grateful I have friends willing to video and softly scold to remind me when things are going awry. At least this eye ulcer has given me a challenge to work on this stuff over jumping which is a whole different beast! 

Thanks for reading! 


  1. oh man, changing up position is SO HARD. like, especially those deeply ingrained habits... and then it's impossible to focus on anything else while working on it. you can totally see the moments when you get it right tho - like that one clip where Tillie is trotting around with floppy ears. just gotta keep on working. and in other news, are you riding tonight? i'll be there around 6:30 :D

  2. Yes I will be there maybe closer to 7 or later...I am going to watch M ride in her lesson with Dan there first then be over. Thinking maybe Tillie and I will try some jumping today if all goes well!

    1. awesome - and bring M along with you if possible haha! i'm gonna long line again first, this time to the left since that was apparently not a direction we could bend yesterday.... so i'll probably be actually getting on a little later anyway

  3. I injured my back in a car accident a few years ago, and it has been such a struggle to sit normally on a horse. I can feel where I'm supposed to be but it takes a lot of focus and muscle control to get me there. Eyes on the ground are a huge help! Do you any body work done on yourself? (I can't watch the videos on my work computer :( )

    I also forget to breathe when I'm thinking about my position...which leaves me very tense feeling for my horse haha