Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2016: the year of the shoulder?

After a sort of unintentional life-is-crazy three week lesson break, I was back on M today in a lesson with Roxanne.

I've been trying to stretch out some of the kinks and twists that seem to happen to me when I ride, but it's slooooooooooowwww going.  My right oblique, which has a tendency to crunch and collapse, is improving.  I've been sitting on an exercise ball at my computer and making a habit of stretching it out and down, and that at least seems to be paying off. My darned left shoulder, though... No matter how much I try to stretch it, and habitually push it down and back, it comes up and forward. I think it is improving when I'm riding straight (Actually, I should clarify with her that that's actually the case) but it's still not moving how and where it should on a left turn.

Things I *think* are getting better:
-staying tall on a right turn
-keeping my body straight when I'm going, well, straight
-using my inside leg effectively for impulsion at the canter; I can actually take it away and kick and nudge with it without feeling like the canter is all going to come apart
-Canter departs definitely feel better and more prompt, and I didn't blow a single lead today
-Transitions were much better today. I'm also remembering to stop posting when I transition down from trot to walk; it's so easy to accidentally post that last stride when I really should SIT it.
-Just generally more on the ball today with making things happen the right way in the right place.

Things that remain stubbornly the same and that I wish I could really REALLY get past:
-Left shoulder :P
-Unintentionally bracing in the sitting trot, even though I *know* what my body should be doing
-Pumping my hands at the canter to over-allow, instead of keeping them steadier and pushing the horse forward into the contact. (The latter keeps her off her forehand and makes for a nicer canter, too.) The pumping hands thing is laziness on my part -- a kind of evasion from me.  Dang.
-The angle of my hands, which in turn makes my elbows poke out. I CANNOT seem to keep my hands upright and thumbs on top while holding a crop, though.  I can't seem to put it anywhere that doesn't turn my hand, and from there, everything goes to poop.  Hmm.  Wondering if I should try riding without one for a bit to see what my hands do, just for comparison. Change the muscle memory on that, too, so maybe the angle won't be as bad when I switch to a crop again?
-My two-point position is still weak and quite hunched.  Trying to straighten my back feels sooooo exaggerated and strange. But at least I'm not falling out of it constantly? Part of why it feels weird to me is that, arched correctly, my seat isn't at an angle where I can plug it in quickly if I want to.  Forgetting the fact that it's TWO point, not three.  My butt is not SUPPOSED to plug in.  :/

As for my personal mental goals right now: I had moments of remembering to engage my lower abdominal muscles and lift my chest to straighten myself, but somehow those always seem to slip my mental list of things I want to check myself on *during* the ride, despite thinking of them often *between* rides.  So weird.  Maybe I'll ask Roxanne to try reminding me to lift my chest periodically, see if it helps some of the other stuff we've been trying to target.

After the ride, I helped Roxanne draw a lion stencil image on Berge's butt so he could have a cool design when she clipped him.  It turned out pretty nicely!  Sweet!

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