I got 99 problems

equi

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But a horse/saddle ain't one! :p

Since moving to my new yard im incredibly lucky to have a highly trained instructor as my YO, she is fab in both walks of life. I usually have a lesson once a week with her in a group and we work on all the usual group lessony stuff which i adore - i have learned SO much! But noone else could make it today so i pinched her for a 30min balance work up on myself.

The issue; i always feel like im leaning on my left leg while my right flops about out of the stirrup sometimes, but my right leg feels longer. After making sure i looked balanced in the saddle at square halt, she played about with me a little (horse is a saint, he just stood while we wiggled my legs about and did exercises and stretches on him lol) and then i had to remember what we had talked about in walk and trot both with and without stirrups. I noticed a huge difference after a few goes, but i have a looot of homework left to do this week.

Basically, im collapsing my left hip, and firing back my right leg but im not actually moving my upper body, so in a group etc when there are a few people moving about and its a bit faster (courses etc) i can look like im ok but when focused on only me on a straight line, im sitting with my legs in totally different places and not really using my pelvis/lowerback at all. Not always, but an awful lot. This leads me to mess up my corners and unbalance my poor horse who just copes with whatever i give him.

I do have a known hip issue and a lot of weakness in the pelvis area but i keep putting off getting it looked at because i don't really like spending money on something for myself but i was quite happy to arrange saddle fitter and physio for my horse because i thought he maybe was a little asymmetrical/saddle not quite right. Instructor popped on at the end and rode him and confirmed both him and the saddle in her opinion are absolutely fine, so don't waste my money and go to the physio/chiro already! She also confirmed that my horse is horrifically bouncy in trot haha but she still managed to look somewhat graceful sitting to it, so another part of my homework is a few Pilates type exercises she taught me (we must have looked a right pair doing a lesson on the floor of the arena, horse having been abandoned at this point)

I know how important it is to keep yourself fit to ride, but id just forgotten for a little while. But im buzzing now and looking forward to my homework, if i can stand tomorrow.
 

equi

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I had originally just suggested that i do a stirrup-less lesson, she said we might pop on the lunge. After a little assessment we both agreed i was nowhere near ready for that! (it may seem silly considering i have been riding for 25 years but realistically ive only been doing lessons/schooling for 2 as i was always a happy hacker!)

She said after it she really enjoyed it herself, cause you don't often get lessons like that..people want to ride and learn to do stuff with the horse...my poor horse was just used as a tool and then abandoned hahaha he got zero attention or teaching today. Don't think he minded much but he was a little like WTF are you knobs at..
 

SEL

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That sounds the kind of lesson I need. My physio tells me I'm wonky and twist when I'm standing so I'm betting I'm no straighter in the saddle!

It's great when you come out of a lesson with a buzz
 

equi

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I can feel my inner thighs, outter thighs, core and sides all starting to burn. After a 30min hard work out! Just shows how little i must use them on a day to day basis!

We also need to work on my breathing.. i found that when i am really focusing on keeping my muscles in the right place, i stop breathing. Then flop about cause i forgot to breathe hahah
 
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JanetGeorge

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equi, I feel your pain. I am a geriatric horse rider with arthritis in my right hip. For the last few years I have been unable to sit on my Irish Draughts, though until a year ago I could just about bear 30 minutes on my dumb-blood. An osteopath has helped, as have Ibuprofen and exercises I've done nightly in a HOT Radox bath. And this mornig I had a steroid jab into the hip which I HOPE will help - tomorrow I'll try getting on a rather narrower than most ID.

I DO havea sugestion you could run by your Instructor, and that is that for the first 10 minutes, you have the stirrup for your 'wonky' leg one hole shorter. See how it feels. And then perhaps do 10 minutes with them level - and 10 minutes with the other stirrup shorter. Many riders DO get one-sided (as do horses) and a good physio will certainly help you work out if it's a medical problem or just a habit to sit unlevel. Keep up with the pilates (I'm a bit too crippled for most of their stuff - I have tried but i hurt too much.)

Sounds like your Instructor WILL get you straight - but physio/osteo will make her job easier!
 

Keith_Beef

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We also need to work on my breathing.. i found that when i am really focusing on keeping my muscles in the right place, i stop breathing. Then flop about cause i forgot to breathe hahah
Yes, I understand that perfectly. Out instructor is always calling out out us to breathe and to smile when she thinks that we are concentrating too hard on what she's asking us to do with our hands, legs, back, pelvis...
 

JanetGeorge

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Yes, I understand that perfectly. Out instructor is always calling out out us to breathe and to smile when she thinks that we are concentrating too hard on what she's asking us to do with our hands, legs, back, pelvis...
I just make my students sing - at the top of their voices. The loss of tension is pretty much immediate - and then they can RIDE.
 

Pippity

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My instructor does centred riding (Sally Swift), which is a lot of that sort of stuff - she taught me a few exercises that really helped with sitting straighter and more even. You've reminded me that I've been letting them slide for a while. I'll have to get back into it! (And I recommend Sally Swift's book if you want to read more.)
 

equi

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equi, I feel your pain. I am a geriatric horse rider with arthritis in my right hip. For the last few years I have been unable to sit on my Irish Draughts, though until a year ago I could just about bear 30 minutes on my dumb-blood. An osteopath has helped, as have Ibuprofen and exercises I've done nightly in a HOT Radox bath. And this mornig I had a steroid jab into the hip which I HOPE will help - tomorrow I'll try getting on a rather narrower than most ID.

I DO havea sugestion you could run by your Instructor, and that is that for the first 10 minutes, you have the stirrup for your 'wonky' leg one hole shorter. See how it feels. And then perhaps do 10 minutes with them level - and 10 minutes with the other stirrup shorter. Many riders DO get one-sided (as do horses) and a good physio will certainly help you work out if it's a medical problem or just a habit to sit unlevel. Keep up with the pilates (I'm a bit too crippled for most of their stuff - I have tried but i hurt too much.)

Sounds like your Instructor WILL get you straight - but physio/osteo will make her job easier!
Thankfully my issue is not really a pain its more a "jip" i can't quite describe it. I fell off and landed on that hip badly and it was jippy ever since, but with a chiro and pilates etc it got better..but i have neglected both for a long time. My bad hip just gets tight some times and won't do what i tell it, but the funny thing is its actually the hip/leg/side i am more balanced on we discovered! I have a fat leg and a thin leg, my bad hip is the skinny one lol

Great idea about the changing stirrup lengths, ill try that. In my GP i have them even, always. They feel good and i don't have this issue as much cause im not really using the GP to do balance work its usually for jumping so i have my stirrups hoiked up. In my dressage saddle my left leg needs to be a hole shorter cause i lean on it so much but the stirrups are totally even off the saddle (i checked) so i will try this tip to see what happens.
 

JanetGeorge

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Thankfully my issue is not really a pain its more a "jip" i can't quite describe it. I fell off and landed on that hip badly and it was jippy ever since, but with a chiro and pilates etc it got better..but i have neglected both for a long time. My bad hip just gets tight some times and won't do what i tell it, but the funny thing is its actually the hip/leg/side i am more balanced on we discovered! I have a fat leg and a thin leg, my bad hip is the skinny one lol

Great idea about the changing stirrup lengths, ill try that. In my GP i have them even, always. They feel good and i don't have this issue as much cause im not really using the GP to do balance work its usually for jumping so i have my stirrups hoiked up. In my dressage saddle my left leg needs to be a hole shorter cause i lean on it so much but the stirrups are totally even off the saddle (i checked) so i will try this tip to see what happens.
The skinny side is due to lack of muscle on that side, i expect. A lass who works for me fractured her coccyx, was barely back in the saddle and fractured her elbow. 3 months after that, the visible 'deformity' in her back was SO obvious I sent he to my osteo. He culdn't believe what he saw when told she actually worked full time - in a physical type job. Luckily, he got her straightened out enoug that she can now ride straight. Get back to your physio - and your Pilates. It really IS a case of playing around and seeing what helps.
 

Tarragon

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I wish this was me! Also a happy hacker of a certain age with many ridden miles under my belt I would love to get stuck in to some serious lessons and take me and my pony back to the basics.
I KNOW that there is so much in my riding I could improve on!
My problem is that I work full time so do nearly all my riding about 7 am, keep the ponies on a sheep farm with only one other lady, have no school available and a non horsey husband who begrudges any extra money or time spent on the ponies and i find it hard to justify spending more on lessons than I do on livery!
It is my resolution for the year though to see if I can do as you have done and get some regular lessons in with someone that can see past a 56 year old lady on a 13hh Exmoor pony!
 

scats

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That sounds like a great session OP.
I have an unstable coccyx that dislocates everytime I sit, ride, rise... basically the ligaments that hold it in place have given up. It makes fantastic crunching and popping noises. No-one can fix it unfortunately, but I know it has an impact on my riding, which annoys me. I tried physio and saw a chiro but there was nothing they could do. I spend so much money on making sure the horses backs, saddles etc are fine and then I’m sat up there no doubt having a negative impact on them.
 

EKW

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I get all the noobs upsides me on the gallops because they hold their breath so I make them talk, sing or whistle - anything to force them to breath. And by breathing you relax more and in turn the horse relaxes more. Its amazing how much of an effect something we do subconciously affects us!
 

tristar

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because when i ride more i feel much better on the horse, my body adapts to the demands and my concentration on what my legs are doing etc improves, practice makes perfect for me, if i`m ill and don`t ride for a while i feel all over the place
 

equi

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My instructor learned pretty fast that my worst habit is overthinking and overdoing! She keeps me talking and doesn’t give me too much time to think (so on a course I can’t have a big long run up to a jump or I’ll not get over it lol)

So practice my breathing, focus on my seat bones and try and let the rest fall into place!

Now I know what I’m doing I can catch myself when I’m feeling the tilt and correct myself without fearing it’s the saddle/horse cause when I’m sitting correct it feels fine.
 

Remi'sMum

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I’m another very wonky rider - one leg slightly longer than the other, pelvis tends to tilt as a result. Also 2 dislocated shoulders (the right 20 years ago, the left 6 months ago) has left me very lopsided across my shoulders.

I highly recommend the Dressage Rider Training programme. (Not just for dressage riders, any rider would benefit). You can find it on Facebook or google. The full
Programme is 12 weeks of progressive core/strength/balance/ breathing etc etc. Presented in 3 x 20 minute off- horse exercise sessions weekly, with a few bits of extra homework to do in the saddle. It’s not cheap to get the full programme (about £200) but once you’ve got it, you’ve got it forever and if, like me, life gets in the way and you end up falling off the wagon, you can just pick it back up when you’re ready. It’s helped me immeasurably with core strength, balance, straightness etc and I’m finally starting to feel like I might be able to do my horse justice instead of getting in his way. Both my dressage coach and my physio have remarked on the improvements in my overall strength and balance. (I’m not associated with DRT in any way shape or form - just a happy customer who has found it very very helpful!!)
 
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