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Help... riding with my core.
Okay so I have a problem. I seem move with my horse's stride too much, especially during the sitting trot. Instead of using my core I ride the sitting trot with my hips loose. Hard to explain, and harder to fix. Sometimes I have it and I feel the muscles in my core working and other times I just can't get it. I've had it explained to me in so many different ways, and I can get it for a bit and feel them working, and then I lose it and have a hard time finding that sweet spot again. Anyone have suggestions? Throw what you can at me. I understand the theory but putting it to use seems to be the problem.
We did lots of sitting trot today and my trainer noticed, and intends to do a strictly sitting trot lesson to work on this. But in the mean time (could be a week or so), what can you tell me to help me find a way to make it click?
Your hips should not be tight.
Go through those article I'm positive you'll find some help. :)
Spyder... thank you for your reply. And I know, they shouldn't be tight, ack, I'm having trouble explaining... okay. :oops: Forget the comment about my hips. Ha ha. I'm still figuring out all this stuff. About how everything I do with my body affects my horse, etc. I've been getting better results from my horse lately and maybe I'm just over thinking things, as I often tend to do. He's been a lot more willing, relaxed, and soft lately, and I guess instead of worrying myself over the little things I should just keep doing what's working, taking my lessons, and not analyzing every little thing.
So lets rephrase... Is there any good way to explain how to activate my core when I'm riding? Or it is something that only comes with time and practice, and not some little thing that can be tweaked to start using those muscles better? I understand that no matter what it's going to take practice to master it. I'm just wavering in between. Sometimes I have it sometimes I don't.
And thank you koomy, I'm running out the door but glanced over the site, seems very informative!
Sorry for my all over the place thought process. I'm a bit scatterbrained. But I'm just trying to find the one piece of advice that makes it click in my head, you know?
Thanks for the help you guys.
I practice it while I'm at work, (much like now hee hee) Sitting in a chair, sit upright with open shoulders as you would in a dressage saddle. Post in your chair using only your stomach muscles. Every "upbeat", suck to abs up and in like you're trying to send them up into your rib cage and out your back. Your belly should suck in with each upbeat and your rib cage should expand at the same time. While not so extreme, it's same basic expand/contract motion you should be doing with your core to correctly follow his movement. If you just try to keep you core muscles tightened the whole time, it will just make your body rigid. If you overdo the movement in a chair, you'll find the modified riding version much easier each time you ride. Hope that makes sense.
In all seriousness, please pick up Sally Swift's two books, Centered Riding I and II. She explains how to engage through visualization, which helps so much!
JDI, I'll definitely check out those books, and MyBoyPuck, I'll do that too. Thanks for the replies!
I read and love Sally Swift's book. I highly recommend it. I did not realize she had a second one! I'll have to pick that up.
My trainer reccomends doing stretches off your horse to improve your core. Something like yoga, pilates, or even just normal stretching. I'm hopefully going to start a routine soon.
Side note, Wendy Murdoch is the present Sally Swift.
Does sitting trot mean loose hips?
Of course your hips are loose, I hope. What's happening with your upper body; your shoulders and collarbones? I have been discovering that if the upper body is toned, the lower takes care of itself. So, sit upright but dont' pullyourself out of the saddle in an attempt to be "taller", just sit naturally upright. Let your arms hang down by your sides (your horse is patiently standing while you do this, right?). Your palm will hang facing backward. Now, without doing anything else, roll your palms so that the face Forward. Pause, now keeping a bend in your elbows, bring your hands into "holding reins" positions . Don't let your shoulders roll forward. They should be open and you should feel a bit of "pull" or positive tension across the collarbone, centered at your sternum. It's that "proud" feeling, but NOT the "snooty" posture of falsely raising the sternun. NOW, here's the kicker, LOWER your elbows, (NOT YOUR ARMS) they will be parallel to the ground. Just think "lower my elbows down OVER my hips" They won't actually move that far, but the feeling is to seat yourself firmly over and around your pelvis. This is a very strong position. NOw , as you ride the sitting trot, every time your go to thinking about your hips and making THEM loose, forget that and thing about making your shoulders FIRM. ONE MORE THING and this is important. Once your sholders are in the above explained position, you must gently squeeze your armpit muscles to tack your upper arm to your body. Do this during the half halt or any transition . Just keep focussing on firm upper body, open shoulder and elbow down, tight muscle just behind the armpit (like you were trying to keep a million dollar bill that is tucked under your armpit from falling out).
Also, instead of tightening the core muscles like you are trying to STOP a bowel movement from happening. Push outward with your core muscles as if you are trying MAKE a BM happen.
I would love to hear what you feel when you try the shoulder thing. Practice the steps while on the ground (the rolling the palm., bending the elbow and dropping the elbow downward)
By the way, I do not think your question is silly in the least. I know exactly what you are trying to say!!
Caroline aka Tinyliny
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