Sunday, June 11, 2017

Learning From Media

Alternate title: We Do Actually Have 100 Problems

Back in April, Jen from Cob Jockey did another of her amazing posts about biomechanics . I almost always learn something from these posts and often really think about this stuff at my next ride. This time I read through it and basically thought, "we've got 99 problems but this isn't one" (pinching with my thighs).

Fast forward to a couple of days ago when I got media from the second show.

The first show media makes me happy. It clearly shows some rough moments and tension but overall there's some harmony between me and Katai and while she's a bit hollow mostly she's pretty good for a scary show environment.

Case in point
 However, when I got the media from the second show I was really disappointed. Partially I think that the photographer (a boarder from my previous barn) just happened to catch more of the rough moments than the good moments but between the few rough pictures from the first show and most of the photos from the second show I noticed something in my position that still isn't good. I don't see this as much at home (probably because we're less tense) but I still see it so it's clearly a pattern. It was also something that I couldn't identify just from a picture beyond being unhappy with how it looked haha.

An uncomfortable picture to share but there it is plus...

An example of a similar thing from the first show
At least here she looks pretty good
So, when I went to the barn on Friday evening I started messing around with position stuff. Jane had already started working on the pony and my position at the canter but I wanted to figure out what was going on at the trot. I've thought that it's coming from my hip flexors and core but as I messed around I just happened to do something that changed everything and that was to stop gripping with my thighs!!

There it was, this whole time and it's such a habit that I've been COMPLETELY unaware of it. I would imagine that probably 60-80% of my rides I'm carrying some amount of tension in my thighs which means that I post like Barbie haha. I have to rotate back from that point which leads to my legs coming forward and my seat going to the back of the saddle and my shoulders coming forward to balance and compensate. Plus, then as you can see above my hands to weird things so that I can still post. I'm not pulling per say but I am certainly unable to allow her to come forward in that moment.

As soon as I released that tension I was able to sit down around my pony and be more effective in practically every way. Katai didn't even know what was going on since it's a huge change but I'm really curious to see how it effects her as I get more consistent since there were brilliant moments where I felt her back come up more than is typical for her. My legs were so sore afterwards from using different muscles that this is clearly a big, important change for me to make and one that I'm excited to show Jane.

I'll end the post with my favorite picture from the rated show :)


  1. Nice, that's a big realization (ask me how I know!). Happy I could help. :) Looking forward to seeing what that does for you!

    1. Me too! So cool to figure out the basis of a lot of the things I've been struggling with and so great to be able to learn from a fellow blogger :)

  2. Riding without stirrups has been a great help for me to stop gripping with my thighs, maybe it might work for you too? 😊

    1. That's a great suggestion Rosa. I haven't ridden much (if at all) without stirrups with Katai because I couldn't trust her before. Now that I can, I should do this!