Mechanical Horse Session

Ambers Echo

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I was really unsure about how helpful this would/could be. It felt like just the latest in a series of me chucking money at niche people doing niche things in a vain attempt to eventually improve! But it was actually very good.

She picked up a few issues that I can improve:
  • Seat bones are not equally weighted and do not move equally. The left is ‘stickier’ and I have less control over it
  • My sacrum does not ‘open’ enough in canter, instead I sort of wiggle my belly in a very ineffective imitation of moving with the horse!
  • I am ‘gloopy’ in my core so inviting the horse to suck back at me and hollow instead of everything being forward: hand forward, torso like a plank of wood pushing the neck forward. I had to visualize the space above the wither as mine and not for the horse to draw its neck into.
  • My hip joint is not dropping enough in the canter stride.
Of all of that I think I can sort out my gloopy middle! I can’t feel the unevenness in the seat bones. I can’t ‘open my sacrum’. But now that I am aware I can think about opening my sacrum, levelling up the seat bones, bringing awareness to those body parts and maybe one day I will ‘get it’ in a functional, usable sense.

I can now feel the difference between moving my hips joint and pelvis and wiggling around with my belly and upper body. Apparently I was much better when I tried to ‘do nothing at all’ and ‘let the horse move me’. The curse of learning by reading!

So things to think about and practice.

I have ridden twice since then and I can’t say that my riding was magically transformed. But I have changed a few things and hopefully those changes will mean I am a couple more small steps along the road to competence!

The trainer said that learning was like an onion, The outer layers are easy but once they are unconsciously competent at those layers you peel another layer and on and on. Each deeper layer takes longer and results are more subtle.

It is dawning on me that I am trying to learn to do a hard thing well and that is going to be hard! And take time. So I have been chasing a ‘transform your riding in 3 easy steps’ myth. Whereas really I need time, patience, good instruction and hours upon hours upon hours of practice.
 

milliepops

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the onion thing applies to horses too doesn't it.
you teach them to stop and go, turn left and right, and then years later you're twiddling around with "turn right this specific way" and "go more like this"

there are certainly no easy steps!! :D

I was taught right at the beginning to move only as much as the horse moved me, I think it was probably in a lesson about rising trot, and i think it's a good place to start (and revisit periodically... had visions of Brett Kidding when we started the passage work in earnest this summer, hahahaha)
 

sbloom

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Riding well is hard for the vast majority of us. Pure and simple. I tend to recommend then having sessions on your own horse, and doing rider conditioning exercises, ideally customised for you, but a general programme such as Activate Your Seat can be very useful. And of course making sure your saddle isn't making things harder, it's much easier to be an effective rider if your saddle allows you to sit, with gravity instead of against it, in a neutral pelvis with no effort/tension.
 

NinjaPony

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Great to hear about your experience, it’s something I’m interested in.

8 months of little riding, with several months before that of just light riding has not been good for my position, a lot of bad habits have crept in and with each different horse I ride, a different bad habit pops up!

No issues with the contact on the forward sensitive horse who likes light hands, but I was tipping forwards out of tension and nerves!

Sitting up nice and straight on the lazier horse who is tricky in the contact but dropping the outside rein and not keeping my heels down.

Riding a horse really is tricky, I think a lot of the time when you ride your own horse you adapt to each other and once the partnership is well established, the bad habits don’t matter as much. On a new horse, particularly one well established in its way of going, is a whole different ball game!!

I think I’ve got a mechanical horse nearish me, I might have to give it a go…
 

Bernster

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I imagine non riders thinks it’s odd that we keep on having lessons, like haven’t we learned to ride yet? But there’s always so much more to it.

I do struggle with the slightly odder things, like flip yer pancreas and wiggle your sternum…all sounds a bit gobbledygook to me but little things that you can learn a and work on are all positives!
 

Nicnac

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I did it a few years ago and it was fascinating. My horse has hock arthritis which is particularly bad on the right. It was only when I was on the mechanical horse that we realised the reason my saddle slips to the left is my horse throws me to the left in a really subtle way to avoid pushing through properly with his right hind. I had started to sit much heavier on the left which was immediately picked up on. It's now fixed for both of us and no more saddle slippage.

My soggy core is now much better thanks to an hour a week of 1:1 pilates - it has made a massive difference to everything I do including sitting at my desk. No more backache!

For me the most exciting bit was doing one times across the "arena" - something I still haven't achieved in RL and probably never will! It's a really good way of getting the feel and the correct aides to ensure things happen as they should whilst sitting properly and using bits of us that we don't tend to use elsewhere.
 

splashgirl45

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after my first hip replacement i found i was riding crooked and couldnt seem to get it right on my horse so i went for a mechanical horse lesson so i could concentrate on sitting correctly. i found it really useful and it made me more aware of when it was right...
 

Tiddlypom

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Thanks for the report, AE.

I'm going to book in there for a kickstart before I get back on the wonky IDx. I had a course of lessons before in 2012 on Rocky when he was on his former yard with his former owner! They were very useful.

I hadn't realised that he had moved.
 

Ambers Echo

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Thanks for the report, AE.

I'm going to book in there for a kickstart before I get back on the wonky IDx. I had a course of lessons before in 2012 on Rocky when he was on his former yard with his former owner! They were very useful.

I hadn't realised that he had moved.
Is there only one of him??
 

Pinkvboots

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After I broke my ankle in a riding accident I felt unstable every time I rode I knew it didn't feel right but I couldn't work out what was wrong or what I was doing.

So I booked a simulator lesson and she was amazing she knew within 5 minutes what was wrong, I was basically not sitting on my bum I was sort of balancing on my seat bones and tipping forward.

How I didn't work it out myself who knows but it was a massive game changer fir me I immediately felt so much better, she also said that I was quite unusual as I sat too upright and in general slouching is a lot of people's issue, it was weird as I literally struggle to slouch so I sort of had to train myself to slouch a bit.
 

Trouper

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Does anyone know of a "good" mechanical horse venue in the Warwicks/Northants/Leics area? Tried the one at Moulton College but it was a bit limited/basic.
 

Muddywellies

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Its all well and good having issues diagnosed, but you need to know how to rectify it with specific exercises. Google Andy Thomas (TESTT). Speaking from experience, the man is a genius.
 

Bob notacob

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Hi, I,m mike,Bobs owner and I can so relate to this thread. Bob is dificult to say the least . I find it hard to trust him and give the contact and let him relax into it.
Hi ,I,m Bob, Mike is difficult to say the least .He hangs on to me like he doesnt quite trust me and I throw my head up in disgust . After all ,its 10 years since our little altercation. Yet he trusts a machine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mike here aain .Yes Bob , I know the machine wont piss off with me so I can practice all the stuff you claim you want from me.
Bob: YES I DO WANT IT, The light contact ,and the trust I wont piss off down the arena. OK , MY bad, the voices tell me to do it, ok ,work in progress. But I gave you my best ever canter tomight .Get that satisfaction fron a machine ,huh ,I dont think.............sob .
OK Bob youve got me there. Tonight you were a star.
 
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