Yeah.. if I really wanted to show off how great my seat is, I wouldn't have used this footage.
LOl. It doesn't show me off at my best.
But what I hope is that people see it and think, oh! I can try that. And maybe faults help with that!
It's a process!
Karen, I have to tell you another little secret too!
I was purposefully trying out your bookshelf across the chest imagery, and it made me a bit taller in the chest, but also a bit stiffer - not the fault of the imagery, but of my stiffness when I tried for it too hard. It also tended to pull my lower back into hollow. (Although I loved the way it helped me turn corners!)
I have another exercise that I do when I'm riding, which is kind of the opposite: I tuck my chin a little, curl my back under slightly and lengthen it, raising my self "up" by my "withers" , at the same time lengthening my psoas- it's my "self-collection" pose. Did you end up getting that little psoas and riding book? It talks about the twin engagement of psoas and hyoid, in both horse and rider.
Anyway, this exercise doesn't make me look so tall and military from the front, but it really helps my internal positioning, and I often find when I do it that Sunrise will mirror it, lifting up from the withers, tucking her chin, lengthening her back and strengthening it from the inside.(It's the "cough" posture
It feels GREAT on my back, so strong and relaxed and easy. I exaggerate it sometimes to get the stretch. But I think it probably doesn't look so externally impressive. I look like an old Mexican.
Anyway.. in this vid, I was conciously trying to use the bookshelf, and I found it very difficult to keep my lower back from hyperflexing at the same time.. I could, a little but it took a lot of concentration and effort, which I think always will translate to stiffness.
One way I have of working through this kind of stiffness when doing specific body exercises
( I use it in exercises with students too) is to EXAGGERATE the opposites, then settle into the middle. So, in this exercise, I would deliberately exaggerate the bookshelf image to the full extent possible while still doing it correctly, the switch to a different imagery and exercise, such as loin curling and stretching through the outer back in an exaggerated way..slouching, alternating back and forth for a while, and then settling into a relaxed position somewhere in between.
(I have another exercise I do like this teaching students sitting trot, where they deliberately lift each knee in turn with the horses shoulder lift. It allows their other leg and hip to let go and move, so they don't bounce at all on the horse. This of course makes their seat shallow though.. so after ten steps of that, I get them to change to pushing their alternate heels down towards the ground with each step for ten.. which deepens their seat again but makes them stiff in the butt, then back to lifting, then pushing.. then it will be ten steps lift, ten steps push, ten steps relax, ten steps lift, ten steps push, ten steps relax. Usually, by this stage, they suddenly find they can sit the trot easily and in balance! The Relax phase will be their "normal" sitting trot.)
Anyway.. back to the subject at hand. I think it's good for me to do this bookshelf exercise and stretch up tall sometimes, but for me, best as an "exaggeration". I need (at the moment anyway) to focus a lot more on my pelvic engagement, and this exercise I find hinders more than helps that problem if overdone. I tend to be quite upright and have good natural "loose" upper body posture anyway (if it's tight it usually means I'm holding my shoulders too far back and need to drop them forward a little) so I feel I can afford to just relax from my shoulders, drop my chin a little, and focus on really engaging my psoas/ pelvis instead. (FUnny thing is, Sunrise has, naturally, similar conformation to me.. lol, so seems it's good for her too. She is naturally very upright and strong in the shoulders, and hollow in the back.,.. so also needs lots of curling to strengthen her loins and prevent stiffness in her back. )
Something that was really brought home to me by reading Deb Bennet's built for riding article, was that different people sometimes need to do quite opposite things to improve their posture, depending on their own conformation. People who roll their pelvis back and slouch need to be drilled in the classic shoulders back, chest out posture, which will help to correct their pelvic positioning to more upright. It lengthens them through the front. People like me who tend to have their pelvis pulled forward (more commonly women, but not always - my dad was EXACTLY the same build and posture as me.. and suffered lower back pain all his life!) will probably suffer from being told to sit up straight, chest forward shoulders back. They need exercises and imagery to help them lengthen through the back.
Lengthening through the back ( I think) will usually automatically release and lengthen psoas muscles at the same time, which you'll need to do to keep the long, relaxed leg. When lengthening through the front, it's common for the psoas to shorten and bunch at the same time. (Try it sitting on your chair, and you'll probably feel the front inner thigh slightly tense and lift. So, it's important when you're doing this, to also be aware of relaxing and lengthening the psoas at the same time. Possibly easy if you have a correct "upright" pelvis, or a tipped backward slouch, but very difficult if you have tipped forward pelvis, which goes hand in hand with over used psoas muscles.
I would like to do ANOTHER seat exercise.. where I'm not trying to do anything, but relax and move with the horse as I normally do, no stretching up, no stretching down, just sitting straight and hanging loose, and see what you think. I wonder what differences you'll note. I suspect also that part of what your were seeing in my pelvis was the other end of the nice upright position you were seeing on top.
Once again, Karen
I so LOVE being able to discuss this with you. I don't in ANY WAY feel put out with any comments made, or feel that you or anyone else has to "get it right" or face my argument... I don't mind talking about my bustle butt. I live in Taiwan. None of you will ever see me!
Your caveats are always duly noted and appreciated, so critique away!
I just want to learn and share about horses! So THANKYOU for your comments. Without them, there would be no discussion.. just me spouting into the ether. "Oh. look at me on my horse!"
Keep "em coming!!
Looking forward to hearing your yoga induced thoughts..
Birgit, of course you're right about the GS!
I was wondering how long it was going to be before someone mentioned him! I wouldn't dare make this video public on youtube! I can just imagine the comments.
But you're all mostly as mad as I am with horses and dogs.. and chickens.. and ...
"My" GS is a newbie here, only been with us two weeks so horses and he are not quite used to each other yet. I didn't feel he wasdriving her - he's being VERY careful and polite, averting his eyes from her - ah but interesting what you say about herding without eye - but he's just not going to let me get two metres away from him, in case he finds himself back in no-where land again. He's my shadow. (Beloved pet puppy, then on the streets, then a year caged at a holding facility -also the reason he's on best behaviour - although a couple of times he did try out to see if it was an acceptable game to bite her tail.. he's still a pup.)
Anyway, you're right, Footprint is not yet entirely comfortable with his presence so close.
However, he was doing the same on the day of the first seat lesson vid. She didn't really like it, but her energy was much more calm and relaxed that day. This day, her energy was more up with the weather, and a few days of regular exercise had got her metabolism going again.
I love Mark Rashid's videos! Don't have that one though. I especially like "finding the try". YESYES>> the elliptical hip movement! The exercises I talked about above will help you to find this. Also there's a useful vid on youtube of someone demonstrating Centred Riding sitting trot on a trampoline. You can practice on the ground without a trampoline too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0c3SHQjKb0
I think doing passenger lessons this way is great and in one way even better without doing it the traditional way because the horse can give so much more feedback. It makes us look worse in comparison but it will help us become better riders.
Yeah! I reckon!
Leigh.. hmm.. I think she first mentioned it to me in an email.. then I went researching..
I'll see if I can dig up where I found the best info.
You'll find some specific riding related info about psoas here:http://www.zenandthehorse.com/Home.html
Here's a basic article about psoas and back pain which explains how the psoas work. http://www.ojaihealing.com/2008/07/psoa ... pain.shtml
Now I must get me off to work!