Balance Problems due to Scoliosis. Any helpful ideas? - Page 2

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Balance Problems due to Scoliosis. Any helpful ideas?

This is a discussion on Balance Problems due to Scoliosis. Any helpful ideas? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    06-20-2013, 09:10 AM
I have a friend who rides with scolisos, so I'm can only give information 2nd - but she spent alot of time doing yoga/pilates to strengthen her core/back muscles to compensate the best she could. She found that it helped her tremendously, I think she still leans slightly but there isn't alot she can do about that but the yoga/pilates/strength exercises helped her.
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    06-20-2013, 09:24 AM
You may also have developed a bad habit as you grew. It is common for older riders (non kids) to allow the rib cage and hip to collapse on one side. This will create a feeling of the opposite leg being longer and the rider often loses the other stirrup. Instead of the hips, spine and shoulders looking like an " I ", they look more like this " > " when viewed from behind. The best way to correct this is to have someone stand behind you as you ride away at the walk and correct your posture. Over and over. It has to become a conscious effort until the muscles are retrained.
    06-20-2013, 10:07 AM
Saddlebag, there's a world of difference between "bad posture" and medically diagnosed idiopathic spinal scoliosis. Unfortunately no amount of telling me to straighten up in the saddle is ever going to help. I'm wonky out of the saddle too. I'd give anything to sit and stand up tall like an average person but my bones, and a fair amount of titanium, just won't let me!
    06-20-2013, 10:51 AM
I have scoliosis. HAHA Hi, I'm Steph and I have scoliosis. (that struck funny for some reason). I can't remember how old I was, but I know I was in Jr. High when it was diagnosed. For me I ride all cock-eyed to the left and yes it can throw off a horse's balance.

Because I was already riding when it was caught, my trainer made a hard effort to figure out what would work best for me. It was a lot of yelling and stopping to reposition myself on the horse. A lot of "see the difference, try to remember this feeling when you're moving." Also, it was a lot of lunge line lessons, most times with out stirrups, she figured if I fell enough times, I'd figure it out on my own (she was right). She also put me on her horse that was very sensitive to all aids and if I was the slightest bit off, I knew it.

Growing up riding with all that extra effort I was conditioned to get used to feeling like I was riding off balanced, but really wasn't. Now as an adult I spend the majority of my time riding/training on my own. However, because I spend all those years as a kid hearing my trainer, I can still hear her voice as I'm riding. I feel like I give myself a lesson because when I'm on a horse I literally am thinking "shift to the right, what's your shoulder doing, lift your chest up more, use your core muscles, a little more this, a little less that."

Im not sure that really helps your or not. But short end, you have to constantly check yourself. Listen to your trainer, if she she's you're crooked, then fix it and make a mental note of that feeling.
    06-20-2013, 11:24 AM
Ha, yes Steph. I know that feeling!

If I feel comfortable in the saddle, that's when I know I'm sitting wonky. I have to shift my weight back to centre. This then makes one leg slightly shorter than the other because of my tilted pelvis.

When I sit as straight as I can it's not really comfortable at all. Maintaining that position makes me ache. Then I start losing feeling in my legs (dismounting at this stage, I usually end up sitting in the dirt!).

It can be frustrating knowing how I should be riding but not physically being able to get there. I try to strike a happy medium
    06-20-2013, 11:57 AM
Originally Posted by MissingStar    
It can be frustrating knowing how I should be riding but not physically being able to get there. I try to strike a happy medium
You'll get there. I turned out okay. It just takes a lot of effort getting used to that feeling. But as mentioned doing other activities help too. Yoga, weight lifting. I have a trainer (not horse trainer) for my work outs. I've told him about my issues and what I want to get out of working with him. He's monitors every workout I do and it's helped my riding beyond words.
    06-20-2013, 01:31 PM
Steph, I was diagnosed 30 years ago, so I'm guessing my riding style is about as good as it's going to get.

I do pilates for core strength and to keep my overall condition from deteriorating.

I often wonder about horses ridden side saddle. There must surely be more weight, no matter how minimal, on one side of the horse than the other that must be compensated for? They always look so elegant and balanced in the show ring.
    07-01-2013, 06:10 AM
Since posting this I have been trying to be more aware of my position in the saddle. So far I can pretty well tell when I am leaning. I also notice I put more pressure in one stirrup than the other. I feel like I am riding with no stirrup on my left side. I can't get my heel down like I can the right. Standing in the mirror I notice that my hips are uneven!
    07-07-2013, 09:12 PM
Originally Posted by MissingStar    
If I feel comfortable in the saddle, that's when I know I'm sitting wonky. I have to shift my weight back to centre. This then makes one leg slightly shorter than the other because of my tilted pelvis.
I also have scoliosis, and I know this feeling well! I have ridden with a biomechanics specialist a couple of times, and she and I worked together to find the right thickness of shims for my stirrup and under my seat bone (using a shim between the seat of the saddle and a Seat Saver, so as not to affect the fit of the saddle for the horse) to make straight feel a little more straight. It's still tough to keep everything in alignment, and it does get very painful after a while, but it helps.

That being said, shimming is not something I would play around with without a very experienced set of eyes on the ground to evaluate it. The first time I rode with a shim added to my stirrup, I thought it was a huge mistake, and that it was making me twist terribly and making my leg swing forward. Nope, it just felt awful because it was correct!

I would also encourage you to have the flocking of your saddle evaluated more regularly than otherwise might be necessary. If you have a tendency to weight one seat bone more heavily than the other, you will likely compress the flocking unevenly and end up with a wonky, crooked fit. That could be contributing to your horse's unwillingness to pick up a particular lead, combined with your own crookedness.
    07-09-2013, 01:19 PM
Since they make saddle pads where you can add a "shim" to front/back left/right sides of the saddle - have you ever thought about buying a pad and "lifting" (using 1-2 shims) the side you sit heaviest on (right side in this case)?

ThinLine Shims for Contender II Saddle Pad - Cushions & Wedges from SmartPak Equine

Link is to shims (for a specific brand of saddle pad).

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