"fan" out the withers. Can someone try and explain? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-03-2010, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Missoula, MT
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"fan" out the withers. Can someone try and explain?

So I somehow achieved doing this, but I was wondering if someone could elaborate a bit on what we were working on in my lesson today.

I have a problem with having a very curved/stiff lower back while riding. I have no idea why. So today she had us trotting on a 20m circle and asking us to bend our horses joints and fan out their withers. I apparently had the bent part right, but not the opening up of the withers.

She had me ask for bend in his stifle and to bring his hind end forward, giving large and powerful steps forward. Make sure my elbows are in (another of my problems) but she described it as "scooping" with my tailbone.

How does one...scoop?

I kind of got the feel of it through trial and error and I will be working on figuring out how to pull this off in the next lesson but in the meantime does anyone have any advice or tips?
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-03-2010, 09:02 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: West MI
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I'm thinking she is telling you to tip you pelvis back. You have two seatbones(that is what I call em) tipping your pelvis back will engage your seatbones, applying pressure to encourage you horses moment forward with emphasis from your horses rearend. You can practice while not on a horse by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart, slight bend in your knees squeeze your butt muscles, you will automatically tip your pelvis back. While you do this keep your elbows at your sides, head up, shoulders back. Helps to do this in front of a full leangth mirror too. Hope this didnt make what your instructor told you more confusing... Was your instructor asking you to do this at the setting trot or posting?
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-03-2010, 09:29 PM
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Scoop is the childhood equivalent of swinging on a swingset, at least in terms of what you do with your stomach muscles. Sit in a chair and pretend your about to pump the swing to bring it forward, but just use your stomach muscles to do it. It will suck your belly button into your stomach. You'll feel your butt tuck underneath you. You have just engaged your core. Notice that you did not create stiffness, but it did park your butt in the chair nice a solid. This is the type of thing you just have to play with on your horse until you see how much or little you have to do to get a response. Hope that helps.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-03-2010, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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I was doing it at a rising trot and canter. I had it figured out at the canter, but had a hard time doing it while posting at the same time. I'll practice off the horse and see if I can get a feel for it and hopefully it will translate to my next lesson :)
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-03-2010, 10:25 PM
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Once you get the feel of it, you can actually do it in any seat. I actually use is in my 2 point to shorten my horse's stride between jumps. The contraction of the stomach muscles creates a subtle change in your entire torso that the horse can feel.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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