Trouble Keeping My Arms Down
Hello all! This is my first post, so I'll try and make it brief... :-)
I've been riding for 5 years now, but I only go riding about once a month. My instructor says that I have a problem keeping my arms down... I play flute, and I was wondering if that is some way attached to that..? I have been riding English for a while now, but I am worrying that this action will cease me from moving forward in my riding skills.
Also, since I don't go riding very often, do you have any tips for practicing keeping my arms down without a horse? (Besides the obvious tucking your arms in?)
Arms down as in how? Do you mean you always have Chicken Wings? Or do you mean you carry your hands high?
MIE already asked. I want to add... Can you post some pics may be?
And BTW, Welcome to the Forum! :D
What you need to do next is to make sure that the point of your elbows part of your arms can feel your sides. This will be approx just above the point of your hips. Now when you ride be aware of those elbows and the minute you lose touch with them and can no longer feel them against your side then check for they probably have drifted away.
Just not that I am not stating you jam your elbows against your side, just be there so you can feel them, almost like your side is being brushed by them.
Since you are able to ride so little, do what Spyder advised, keeping the elbow at your side such that you can feel it brushing your body, and do it while walking, eating at the table, anywhere you are , bring it to your conscious mind. just say "elbows" and take the correct position.
Another trick that is helpful is deep breathing. This will relax your entire body. If you are raising your elbows you have tension in your shoulders and or upper arms. I would say that it definitely correlates to your flute playing. Bodies have muscle memory so your body is in performance mode when you ride. You would need to teach your body that their are different "Performances".
When we ride properly it is about becoming one with another being. Motion quiet riders, ie the ones who don't look like they are doing much and get the horse to respond very well do so because they are physically and mentally relaxed and are in focus. They are not thinking "Elbows in, Head up, Heals down" etc. When you focus on breathing you are getting your body to drape the horse like a blanket and that is what you want on top of being balanced without slouching.
Mental imagery is what all top athletes use when they are not actually performing to get more mental practice time in. That is what Spyder is telling you to do. Try it and use a good lesson you had to review and practice with. Imagine you are on your lesson horse, in the saddle and going around the ring. Picture all the details you can about the place, smells, senses, sounds and most importantly both the body feel of you and your horse. As you do this feel your body relax and move as the horse does. Practice relaxing your shoulders, breathing deeply and allowing your shoulders to swing and sway along with the motion of your horse's shoulders. Your body should be moving in the same way as the horse's body when you ride.
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