|Love me some throwbacks|
I actually spend far more time doing this than I care to admit, but it got me thinking about things..and trends. Specifically equitation trends. Not specifically worldwide trends, but personal trends.
Since I tend to admittedly focus on the negative (I'm working on this, okay), I notice right away my giant obvious flaws throughout years. My wayward, drifting inside hand. My tendency to jump ahead. My other tendency to look down. My stupid thumbs pointing inwards on occasion. And the big one, closed hip angles.
|Looking down, per usual|
Generally this might be good thing, over fences specifically. But I'm talking about closed hip angles on the flat. As in, a dressage saddle. It is seemingly impossible for me to open my hip angle and keep my damn knee and leg back where it belongs. It just wants to live up front with the breastplate. this also leads to slumping forward and looking like a literal sack of potatoes on the saddle.
|Oh look, every single flaw in one picture!|
For real though, I feel like sack of useless muscles and bones at the moment, and miss the gym and riding more than I can describe. Actual torture.
The point being, I know my riding won't be up to par for a while, but I hope to focus on my strength and get back to tip-top shape soon enough.
Back to my main point.
Yes, I have tiny flaws that are easily fixed with practice (looking up, thumbs, inside hand) and constant self reminders, but my lifelong and biggest struggle has been feeling comfortable in a dressage saddle. Really, having a wide hip angle at all. Even in a jump saddle, I tend to close in on myself more than I should. I really work hard on things like my hands (since they like to live in my lap), and generally those self reminding sessions stick.
|The best period of time we ever looked on the flat. Winter 2013|
Coming from hunterland at an early age, the perch and pray/& or jump massively ahead position was engrained in my muscle memory for, apparently, forever. The single most difficult thing of my riding career has been transitioning from hunter crouch to a dressage seat. Thats like 40* of hip angle and my body wasn't (and still isn't half the time) ready, 11 years later.
|hip angle, WYD?|
|Literally, what is this? What is this position??|
|Classic getting thrown about by exuberance|
Therefore, for the sake of my horse and my riding, I began looking elsewhere to try and correct my hip angle.
|Literally the worst. I can't believe I'm positing this.|
This adventure led me to crossfit. Yes, yes, the cult. I won't spew my koolaid on you all again, but if you're interested, I detail my crossfit journey up top in the tabs on my blog.
Crossfit not only works with gymnastic movements, but also entails learning how to weightlift. Weightlifting is an integral part of crossfit, and learning how to lift properly is a lot like learning to ride. It requires exceptional body awareness (check), tenacity (check) and the desire to succeed (check). You don't necessarily have to be strong to weightlift, you just have to want it! Crossfit lifting combines Olympic lifting with strength training and promotes speed, power, coordination, agility, accuracy, and balance.
|Bangor demonstrating strong hips= strong lifts|
|a few days pre back injury (cause: horses) . I can assure you those abs are now gone|
Learning to weightlift was incredible for my hips. A lot of lifts (literally almost all of them) focus on the hips and use them to generate power for the lifts. My absolute favorite lift, the clean, focuses almost entirely on hip power.
|Practicing close grip overhead squat; a modification for my elbow/shoulder injury (cause; horses)|
In other words, opening that hip angle to generate lift to get that bar moving!
|1 week ago, practicing a clean with a PVC & on power opening my hip angle. Notice my feet are off the ground. Its all I'm allowed to do *sobs*|
Crossfit and weightlifting have done incredible things for my body, and I will never stop. I could go on and on about the positive affects its had on my riding.
My position gets pretty good...
However, thats not all! I have more tools to help!
Yoga has also been a staple in my life for about a year now. You can thank Bangor for this.
I generally focus on Crossfit yoga, called ROMWOD, which is a quick, daily yoga session you can run through in about 15-25 minutes. I try to do this almost every day (well, except for right now, for obvious injury related reasons) and if I skip a day or two, I really do feel a difference in my body immediately.
I also really enjoy hot yoga.
Crazy, coming from someone who despises summer, but hot yoga is glorious.
A session leaves you feeling satisfyingly sweaty. Like all your negativity, french fries and shame have been sweat out through your pores. Its amazing. Not only that, but you feel so bendy and stretchy.. simply delightful.
Seriously, if you ever feel this sick urge to feel your hip flexors almost snap, try yoga. It'll be amazing I promise.
Right now, I can't do any of it. But as soon as I have the go ahead, I will be diving back in...slowly and carefully, haha!
Now since I said I'm working on being more positive, I also want to take a second to praise myself on things I do well.
I am incredibly hard to toss off. Yay stickability! Over the years, my lower leg has maintained solidarity over fences. This pleases me, lots. Lastly, my hands are very forgiving and I'm quick to soften right when the horse needs it. This is good too.
|leg still there, even if upper body has peaced out|
So what I want to know this week is your strengths and weakness as a rider. It can either be position, or mental things, like bravery. I want to hear both, you HAVE to praise yourself too! Also, what do you do to help your weaknesses? Tell me dear readers, what do? I must know.