Friday, April 22, 2016

Position Is Key

I would have loved to respond to everyone’s comments on the last post, as I truly enjoyed reading them! Know that I appreciate feedback, and solidifying the fact I am not the only-non fearless rider out there! Fear is so difficult to conquer, and as we know, can sometimes be irrational. As an equestrian blogging community, together, we got this!

Bacardi recovered well this week and we had two rides before my trainer took over (thank the lord!) for the next 3 weeks. I recently changed jobs (instead of going part time AND full time) and dealing with the mess of insurance, 401k, two-weeks notice, new paper work…its been a stressful mess. 

Along with Yankee, gym, sleeping and school, I knew I wouldn’t get to ride my healthy horse much, so this actually worked out wonderfully. Despite the $, its money well spent in my brain. Pro training, pro show ride, less stress on my end. Winning.

I digress.

Our ‘last’ ride together was a flat session in 82* weather on Monday. I was NOT feelin it, since I was sporting a wonderful sunburn from Saturday, and I am one of the select few that loathes summer. I hate sweating, I hate being sticky, I hate bugs, I hate the blaring sun, I hate crispy lawns, crispy horses, crispy shoulders, fried hair, thunderstorms, not sleeping well, sweating and almost everything else the accompanies summer. HATE. And its only SPRING.

So putting breeches on in 80 * in APRIL had me bewildered and jaded and I was already like UGH for our ride.

Surprisingly, he was brilliant. Much more so than he should have been; I was truly riding horrendously. Like so bad. I could feel it before I even looked at the video I took of myself. I cringed when I actually watched.

Lately, I’ve taken to crouching, curling, pointing my toes down and riding with my hands in my lap.
Literally all the bad things you could do, I do it at once.

I do not understand how my horse stands it, and honestly, based off his initial behavior with me (when first purchased) I almost didn’t believe I was riding the same horse. Like, did I grab the right one out of the pasture?

what is this creature? 

Perhaps he was zonked by the heat too, but he really was lovely for me despite the potato sack on his back.

Because of the heat and my lack of self-confidence, I really was riding without purpose and we most toodled with 20m circles and practicing down centerline to halts.

He could’ve been a wee more engaged and forward, but most of that was due to my shit riding, and nothing of his own. He was still relaxed (minus one random spook in the corner) and actually swung his ribs in the corners and strutted straight on the long sides. Transitions were beautiful and I wanted to cry I was so proud.

so relaxed

I’ve been thinking over the last few days though, on my position, and what exactly happened. I’ve never been a “flawless” rider by any means, but my jump position has been solid and dressage was correct, mostly. Now, both seats have gone to shit and I’m like, no, why, come back. I miss you.

Come back to me

textbook, also no fear
Part of the problem is my actual body type. I have insanely long femurs (like ridiculously), a squat booty and a short torso coupled with non-existent boobs. Not only is it incredibly unmatched and not streamlined at all, but finding the right stirrup length, or even a saddle that fits me is impossible. I essentially gave up years ago looking “correct” on any horse, but still took pride in my equitation.
Minus conformation issues on my end, battling the urge to return to hunter land has always been a nagging problem as well. Re-training my body from the hunter crouch to dressage seat took years and I sometimes still struggle.

just look at B
Case and point.

Then I got to thinking. What has REALLY changed in the last few months though?

My job description.

I spend HOURS a day curled over a keyboard now, looking down with hunched shoulders.
No matter how conscious I try to be about it, I still do it. Muscle memory. That’s hours and hours a day for months at a time.

Wow, that explains it.

Just call me Ms Dame


Hopefully the job switch will decrease that time spent hunched over on a computer, because not only is my riding suffering, but so is my Crossfit!

Time to retrain my body!

Tomorrow, we head out to KY for some cross country schooling. I love being less than 2 hours from KY XC grounds, and I can’t wait to see how Bacardi does with Supertrainer! I will take so many videos, don’t worry.


  1. You're probably right on the money about your day job influencing your riding posture. I once had an Olympian tell me in a clinic that if I really wanted to improve my riding position/posture I needed to fix my posture in the car, at my desk, walking around etc. and then having proper posture when riding would be much easier. I also find it helpful to mentally rehearse my position reminders at random points during the day. Even if you think you are only mentally rehearsing, big deal, it has been shown to have really positive outcomes for all kinds of sports. Good luck on the job restructure!

  2. Yep. I have spent 40+/hrs a week for the last 17 years crouched over a keyboard at a desk. It is a constant struggle to sit up and put my shoulders back.

  3. I have a ball chair at work. It really helps my posture.

  4. Your job certainly contributes, but remember that riding a greenie, especially with limited lessons while mostly on your own is absolutely HELL on your position. It happens to the best of us. It sounds like B is finally getting rideable enough now that you can start thinking about fixing it, but until this point, it's been more about survival than looking pretty.

  5. Ugh I feel ya on the rider conformational flaws... And am mostly disappointed in how slow my position has shifted from the hunter perch to a dressage seat. It's like I can only do one thing at a time. If my legs are stretching and solid, my torso is collapsed. Or vice versa. How are we supposed to remember all the things all at once?!? Ugh. Oh and yea. The whole "slumping at a keyboard 40hrs a week" thing def doesn't help... Le sigh.

  6. We actually have a weirdly similar body type, only you're taller than I by a fair bit. Insanely long legs and short torso. And weirdly, for having such long legs that are supposed to be helpful and elegant THEY LOOK TERRIBLE. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LOOK GOOD WHEN MY BODY IS FUCKING BETRAYING ME?

    I also spend a lot of time at the computer and in my car. I practice my riding position whenever I can doing this -- no joke. I will sit up really straight and pretend to dressage, or I'll hold my hands out in front of me and not rest them on anything but the steering wheel when driving. I do it on my bike and basically whenever I can!

  7. Yes you are so right about the desk job! I'm so happy to be back at a desk job just because of the money and hours (and having weekends off), but it is killer on posture. This slipped disc in my neck has made me conscious of how awful my posture is all the time (even reading and looking down at phone contributes).... it's a work in progress. I hope someday we can all beat it lol.

    Good luck with the new job! I hope it makes things easier.

    1. P.S. With your awesome clip job on B I highly doubt you accidentally got the wrong horse out of the pasture hehe. ;)