Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lesson 15: Shoulders Back

Our lesson this week was pretty good, we had a nice ride with a lot of good moments and hardly any shying or bad behavior.

Julie wants to see Louie's head about an inch lower than what I've been getting out of him, so I've got to keep working on that, though I have to say he's come a long way in the past 3 months!

We worked on a few cavaletti and I could feel Louie rushing through them, so we worked on slowing that down.  Almost half halt through them and get him so slow that he has to really push forward with his legs each time.  This will not only make our caveletti work and stifle strengthening more beneficial, but also it is beneficial for our training as if he rushes through this, he will also want to rush over jumps and even in flat work.

The last thing we did was deal with my hunched, rolled-forward shoulders (though I have to say I have been paying attention to this and I felt like I was riding more freely and straight- I put my stirrups down one notch- shhh! don't tell- as I felt that my cramped short legs were contributing to my crunched, mechanical posting and forward upper body).  Julie was having me sit up quite straight at the walk, and when she still wasn't satisfied with my shoulders, she took my whip away and put it behind my back, through my elbows. 

This was pretty uncomfortable, but helped to at least get my mid-back straight.  I did note right away that my low back wanted to arch when we did this, so we're going to be very careful about this and only do it for a little while.  Julie is fairly certain that Bill Woods, the clinician who is coming at the end of the month (and yes, I'm going to take a lesson from him!) is going to make me do this, so we figured, might as well get used to the idea. 

I did notice that while I could barely hold onto my reins like this, we had some really nice walk and trot circles, and I couldn't believe how steady and on the contact Louie was when I rode like this- goes to show how our horses appreciate when we don't constantly pester their mouths. 

So I have to wonder, they do make a wrap type device to help keep the shoulders back, has anybody tried this?  Does it work?  I am thinking I may need to look into some kind of external aid to help me with this has been such a long-standing (think: lifelong) issue. . . I'm going to have to look into it!

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