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Spastic_Dove 11-12-2010 03:12 AM

Exercises to Relax Lower Back
This has been a huge problem with me and I've mentioned it on other threads but I thought I'd post here to see if I could get some more exercises.

Regardless of how relaxed I feel, I carry a lot of tension through my lower back and tend to push my butt out and have a exaggerated curve in my back.

Here's some old but relevant photos. My other weak point is my shoulders which weakens my elbows (Im a mess, I know) and I have been working on that. I think in the last few lessons I have made a lot of progress with them, but I havent had anyone to take any photos yet.:

I have been riding western at home for the past week and noticed I didn't have the same problem (I have been primarily a western rider up until the past year)

So. I've been riding without stirrups a lot. As well as bareback. I've been trying to do some exercises off the horse with strengthening my upper back (the muscle group between your shoulder blades?) as well as some work on an exercise ball to try and strengthen my core (and thus in theory release the tension in my lower back)

But does anyone have any other suggestions? This and my elbows are my two biggest problem areas. My elbows I can at least get to function for about half a lesson or so but my back seems to be useless...

mbender 11-12-2010 08:31 AM

Do your hands ever go numb? I have back issues too. Went to the chiro and it did help but became to expensive for me. Lay on your back flat (home, or the neighbors might think your doing some kind of seance), take right or left leg and slowly start crossing it over your other leg. Keep the one leg straight and flat as possible on the floor as you cross the other. Hold position to the count of 10 and work it up from there. I have other excersises but really have to think. With your shoulders make a mental note to relax them. Drop them as much as possible. Bet everytime you go to drop them you have them squished up. Maybe when riding buy a back brace with support. Your best bet is to see if you can find a good chiro and let him/her adjust you a couple times. I hope some of this helps. One other excersise you can try is go to to a door jam and put your hands on each side of the opening. Stand straight and push against the wall. Hold for 20 seconds. ?? Good luck
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netty83 11-12-2010 10:01 AM

Hi there. I was looking at your pics and noticed that you sit very well in the western saddle. I have the same problem in an english saddle and i got told that certain styles of english saddles tip you forward which creates the curve in your back. Have you tried a bigger seat size on your english saddle to see if that helps?

Spastic_Dove 11-12-2010 04:31 PM

Thank you bender, I'll try those.
I've never been to a chiro before but my instructor was talking about the one she uses and I may give him a call. I have back spasms every once in awhile (not when riding) and it may be beneficial just all around. My hands never go numb, but sometimes I will get a shooting pain up my spine when riding. I can't really remember what I was doing at the time that it happened, but It's only happened about 3 times.

netty: None of these horses are mine and so I just ride in whichever saddle fits them. The saddle on the chestnut is a Wintec all purpose. I've found it puts me in a very bizzare position. I feel like it tips my pelvis pretty far forward.
The one on the pinto, I'm not sure what it is but my instructor also hates that.

I've ridden in a pretty nice stubben that I feel like puts me in a better position, but I don't have any images of it. I also rode in a very well made dressage saddle (not sure on the size) that I felt put me in an AMAZING position. The dressage saddle I ride in now is a wintec and I absolutly hate it. It makes me feel like I perch.

I believe most the saddles I ride in are about a 17".

tinyliny 11-13-2010 01:26 AM


What I see when I look at the three photos is that your seat in Western is far superior. You are sitting in really good vertical alingment and you have a comfortable bend in your elbow. In no way are you depending on the reins for balance.
In the English one I see a really locked straight arm and what looks a little like you might be in a small way using the reins for balance. Can you post the trot well without holding the reins? LIke on a lunge line? I think getting a little bit of a bend in your elbow when you ride E and keeping your elbow tucked into your side will help a lot. It will also give your shoulder a little more room so that it can roll backward a little.

In the E saddle you also are twisted. On the pinto you are advancing your right shoulder which feels just the oppositie of what I would expect in a horse cantering on a left lead on a leftward circle. I would want to advance my left shoulder a tiny amount right as the leading leg reaches for the ground. This mirrors the horse's shoulder position.

Spastic_Dove 11-13-2010 01:35 AM

I can post an without reins in an English saddle quite fine, but it is possible that I am balancing on my reins. I have never felt I have been, but that doesn't mean it's not happening. I have been getting better about putting a bend in my elbow as well as keeping my thumbs up but I still have work to do. With the chestnut I braced a lot as you can probably see in that photo -- Especially when going towards jumps as he would get rushy. Not the right reaction, I know.

I never noticed the twisting before but I kind of see it now. I'm not sure if that's something I always do or not?

Here's a video of me riding. You can REALLY see the tension in it in both the locking of my elbows and the lower back.

Here is a video from about a year and a half ago of me riding western. If you forward to about :15 I'm on the brown horse wearing the red vest. Even though I was trying to be very straight and quiet because it was a class, I still see far less tension here.

tinyliny 11-13-2010 01:42 AM

Gosh, I think you ride darn well! You seem to know what you need to do; bend elbows, thumbs up (wear some gloves!).
I noticed in the jumping video as soon as you were talking to your teacher that you become aligned really nicely, bent your elbows and sat so well.
I can't jump worth beans, so I think you are doing rather well.

Spastic_Dove 11-13-2010 01:45 AM

There! Finally got the videos to work.

Well thanks!

I ride much better when I have someone on the ground yelling at me. I seem to feel like my elbows are bent and my back is relaxed until someone tells me to fix it.

Jumping is still really new to me as is English in general so it's hard for me to not tear myself to shreds so your kind words mean a lot! :)

Spastic_Dove 11-13-2010 03:50 PM

Anyone else?

Spyder 11-13-2010 03:59 PM


Originally Posted by Spastic_Dove (Post 815121)
Anyone else?

Your biggest problem is you ride over your hips. Instead of allowing your hips to be mobile and let them interact with the horse you cause them to become locked and unable to flow with the horse.

Not sure if you wanted the horse to go left after you jumped when he went right. If you did you didn't have the mobility in the hip to direct the horse in that direction.

You arms do tend to get straight and that will hamper any effort of having a looser more effective hip/seat.

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