Sunday, May 05, 2013

Back to the basics with a bit of a twist

I have not been riding as consistently as Calabar and I need and riding sporadically--in addition to not reinforcing the things we need to work on--always brings out my aches and pains.

Eating and no riding makes Bar a muddy, chubby horse
I have a twist. My pelvis rotates up and to the right, seemingly of its own accord. Old injury, habitual muscular-skeletal protection, new injuries--all of it combine to torque my spine in new and interesting ways. Ways that my horse in all his glorious and sensitive nature notices with varying degrees of response depending on his mood and level of patience.  Ways that reinforce the problems in both horse and rider and can lead to less productive riding and--more importantly--less fun.

This is not an excuse, merely an observation of the facts as we now know them. Working in a chiropractic office offers new opportunities to both observe and maybe even begin to correct (as best we can) my own confirmational faults and in doing so, be a better rider and maybe even help make my horse a more balanced horse.

My chiropractor-in-chief gave me a chapter to read that illustrates common equestrian chiropractic complaints. Lo and behold, many of them sounded extremely familiar. "Oh, that explains the bruise I get there sometimes," and "Hm, that is something that hurts all the time." Several of the illustrations in the article were from a book I own and had not opened in awhile--Centered Riding by Sally Swift.

Oh, how two worlds can sometimes collide in very good ways.

So I gave my chiropractor that book (he has several equestrian clients) and then started practicing on Calabar. My horse was amazed at my more evenly balanced seat bones and I had his full attention while I sent my legs to the ground like roots and imagined a ball in my pelvis. Ears on me the whole time. "So nice you're breathing," he said. "And really nice you're not as hiked up off my spine on the left side. Let's just keep this up, shall we?"

Then, just to add fuel to this fire, I had an adjustment that specifically targeted that twist of mine as well as an extremely inflexible--in the entirely wrong way--left ankle. It appears that dropping the heel as is prescribed is a bit of a chore on that side.

"Oh ho!" said Calabar, "You've been doing something!"

Add to this a (new/used) saddle wide enough for his broad shoulders and suddenly I have a horse with movement that is much more free and loose, movement I'm working hard to mimic as we loosen up his corkscrewed rider.

This horse of mine has taught me many things, sometimes in rather painful ways, but his willingness to participate as I learn to balance us out means we've done a few of those things right along the way.

The smooth canter he gave me--from a walk--with upright, happy ears says so, too.

We have a ways to go, Calabar and me, but the journey is the best part. Especially with happy ears.


Anonymous said...

Happy ears and happy forward are the best - glad your physical issues are getting some help - I know personally how important that can be!

lmel said...

The older I get, the more aware I am of my limitations and all the more reason to get out there and ride. But isn't it rewarding when you feel like you are partners!