Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Muscle Memory

I've just been glancing through the Centered Riding Book 1, and this statement caught my attention. "Changing old habits while riding". Muscle Memory.

I know we have muscle memory. And what our muscles tell us, or do to us, as in whatever position we hold, we think that is correct. Sometimes it is not, and we have to re-learn the correct way.

This was brought to my attention while I lope, besides other areas. When I lope, I lean back a little. To me, that is correct. When the instructor showed me where my body should be, I felt like I was leaning over the horse's neck.

As I'm changing my posture and balance, allowing my hips to open, and finding that neutral pelvis point that will also keep my legs under me, my upper body should improve. If my legs are forward, I'm leaning back. If my legs go to far back, it pushes me too far forward.

I ride a lot in 2 point, and that has brought me into a better alignment. I have found that balance point with my upper body, and I keep it when I sit. OR so I thought.

Tom took a few photos of me, which I posted on my Horses Are Our Lives blog. Not of me riding, just sitting still. But when I was loping Duke, I asked him where my alignment was, and guess what he told me? I was too far back!!! Not as much as 2 years ago, but still back when I loped Duke!

But I know why. That big boy has such a strong deep lope, he throws you back, even if you are in motion with his lope. But then that meant I was still behind the motion.

I went back to a little bit of 2 point and trotted him around. I loped him and asked Tom how it looked. Better, but still a little bit back.

Now that I know this when I canter, I make myself come a little forward. I need to learn new muscle memory.

The other area to remember that if you do this, don't let your back arch. Come forward, then flatten your lower back, keeping your seat bones in the seat.

Your lower back will thank you for this when you get done riding. You won't have a sore back if you remember to flatten your lower back, let yourself sink deep into your seat (no slumping), and then take a deep breath out and relax.

Do it now, while you're in a chair. You will like the feeling!

"Embrace the Journey!"

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