Discovery of the seat asymmetry on a new level
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Thursday, September 22, 2011 02:25 PM
Recently I had a ride on one of my students horse. He is an old gelding and quite crooked. During the ride I have noticed that my left hip was always behind my right one. It took me a while to figure out how to straighten out. At first I tried my usual way - I pushed my left thigh into the saddle. I looked down and to my surprise nothing happened. My left hip was still behind my right one. So I tried other ways and at first nothing worked. Then suddenly I saw myself being straight in the hips. At first I didn't even understand what exactly I did. I moved and twisted and pushed my left hip and thigh trying to reproduce the straightness. And I got it again. This time I caught the movement that brought my hips to straightness. What I had to do is to attach the most upper and inner portion of my left thigh to the saddle. It almost felt to me like I am attaching my left groin area to the saddle. The movement pushed my left hip forward and aligned my hips and it pushed my left knee down and my left heel back (which were couple of my issues I have been working on). At first I was amazed at the sensation, I literally felt like my left hip is a mile ahead of my right but looking straight down on my hips proved me wrong, they were square. After the ride I went home and tried it in my saddle with my horses. At first I didn't catch the crookedness and thought may me that old horse is so crooked he made me crooked plus the different saddle and bla, bla, bla...
As you can predict it wasn't the case. I had an issue - the left front side of my seat was falling off the saddle backwards more into the seatbone. This would push me to the right on left circles, my left side would be left behind on right circles. These are only couple things in the long list of issues that started to make sense to me. Before I would think that my thigh is not connected to the saddle enough, and it is partially right answer. However, I focused on the lower portion of my thigh not at the groin area. Even Mary Wanless' idea of thighs being connected to the saddle like letter A from top to bottom didn't ring the alarm because I felt my thighs connected. What I didn't realize is that my left thigh had the connection more to the back of the thigh along the hamstrings muscles instead being to the inner front along very short adductor muscles that run from pubic bone (hence the sensation of the groin area being attached). Now this difference screams at me. My horses were telling me about it but not as clearly and ruthlessly as an old guy did. May be because the horses I ride at home are young and it is hard to pinpoint the cause of their mistakes. For example, Goodwyn would change behind in canter on the right lead during circle to the right. At first I thought he is just weak behind and the problem will disappear on it's own in time. Or, sometimes I tried to hold his haunches with outside leg thinking he is swinging out and changing because of that, didn't help. To my surprise and delight since I learned to connect my left thigh/hip position he had not made the mistake once.
Again horses showed me that it really pays off to listen to them. This discovery was amazing and humbling experience and it opened a door to the new path that I am very excited to take.
Happy riding...
 
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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