Applied Posture Riding - dressage riding deep seat

  • Age Injury Pain Fear The Damaged Horse Rider


    images 65

    The older rider just needs a little bit of help in certain areas.

    Age affects our strength, our flexibility, our physical endurance. Age gives us experience, hindsight, knowledge, and drives our passion. The older person takes less physical stress, less impact to create more damage, poorer healing, and a longer rehab and then, of course, a loss of confidence.  When I was young, I was strong, confident, and skilled.

    I had very few falls, I broke a few bones and they healed. I never suffered fear or a loss of confidence. Now I am Injury is affecting me as a rider. Shoulder tendon tears, lumbar herniated discs, and broken limbs in the past affect me now.

    Age Injury Pain Fear, A New Experience For Me?

    I did not expect old age symptoms to affect until I was old. It has snuck up on me, though. In 2013 my horse got bogged in the dam and struggled his way out. I grabbed for the neck strap but he went one way and I went the other way as I was flung out of the saddle. I landed next to him but I had ripped my shoulder apart.

    This was a simple bad luck fall. My age was the problem, my tendons just tore apart. Maybe 10 years younger they may have just stretched???

     I had surgery repaired my shoulder did all my own exercises and fully recovered, the fall was not a confidence hitter,...... just bad luck. I returned to riding, after 3 months of rehab, strength was good, confidence was good, all was good, then bang! The horse hit a bank, hit the deck, and rammed me into the ground, shoulder first. I suffered a grade 3 rupture of my AC joint in the same shoulder.

    Just bad luck really! Age or bad riding? 6 weeks in a sling more rehab but to no avail more surgery needed.

    Well, while planning surgery dates protecting my shoulders I did ride, gentle safe riding, I didn't lift anything just kept riding while waiting for a surgery date. Bang the other shoulder is ripped apart lunging a horse....2 shoulders needing surgery now. The right one to re-repair the torn cuff and the ruptured AC joint and the left one needing a cuff repair.

    Well, the left has been done and soon the right shoulder is to be done.

    I still have another repair on the right shoulder to look forward to.....Time off work, many $1000 for medical expenses, pain, time to heal, time to think, time to plan. Time to worry about what else may happen, and of course everybody suggesting it is time I gave up horses!!! I now have experience of age, injury, pain, and fear. I also have others telling me to give it all up.

    This is a scenario I get emails about nearly every day. Riders returning to the sport after a long time away.....scared. Riders returning to riding after having children..scared. Riders returning from a major injury..scared! Riders new to the sport, taking it up at a later time in their life..scared. Well as you can read the history is similar, that is, an injury, trauma, older bodies, pain, weakness, and a loss of confidence. Me at the moment.

    Recovering From Injury and Fear

    shoulder injury websizeI am physically accepting time for healing. As a Physio I have knowledge. I will start a range of movement stretches soon, once I have the range I will start gravity-free exercises. From there I will add strength and movement pattern exercises. Core exercises have never been stopped as well as posture movement pattern exercises. I  will then pick up all the Applied Posture Riding Movement Patterns and plan to get back in the saddle within the next 6 weeks.

    I have to address my fear, though.

    The past  18 months have been filled with bad luck, pain, expense, and time healing. Before my first fall in the dam, I was a strong confident, skilled, and very safe rider. I practice safe procedures, I wear a helmet, chaps, a neck strap, my gear is always well fitted and safe.

    I understand the horse I am riding and the stage of training he is at. I warm up correctly and don't take chances on anything. I have been in this industry for a long time.

    Well, my bad luck continued and I had to put my horse down due to a bad luck injury, so now I am in the position do I start again or do I retire and just teach. Well, I still face one more surgery on my right shoulder, I have to buy another horse. I am recovering physically I am suffering financially and psychologically. I don't want to just be a trail rider. I want to ride and train and compete at a low level and teach.

    I revisit 18 months ago and focus on my skills, my strength, and talents as a rider. I respect my age and luck. I plan to buy another horse and start again. I still have passion and time to enjoy. If fear is going to inhibit me I will look internally and gain confidence from knowing I am skilled and ready. I have given this advice, so now I will use it. The Applied Posture Riding Movement Patterns are still my principal routines to follow.  

    I don't want to just be a trail rider (no offense to those who do). I want to ride and train and compete at a low level and teach. I respect my age and luck. I plan to buy another horse and start again. I still have passion and time to enjoy. If fear is going to inhibit me I will look internally and gain confidence from knowing I am skilled and ready. I have given this advice, so now I will use it. 


  • Applying Biomechanics To The Horse Rider 2

    Part 2   

    If you have not read Part 1 starts here

    The training of the horse to go long and low requires "eccentric muscle work". This is opposite to "concentric work".An example of concentric work is, lifting a bucket of water off the ground, or getting out of a chair or walking up a hill. All these movements are into resistance. Examples of eccentric work are putting a bucket down, walking down a hill slowly, sitting down in a chair without flopping. The jumping posture requires eccentric work and can be trained on the flat.

    Any movement that requires your muscles to control the movement into the resistance. If you are in a tug of war, pulling the rope in is concentric work letting it out is eccentric work.  Stretching long and low is eccentric work. The building of a top-line requires the horse to stretch his head and neck towards to ground, (eccentric work).To do this he must be allowed to and taught to do it. This is the action that builds the tone strength and bulk along the back and neck-line.

    The rider must be balanced with a stable lower leg to allow the horse to perform this movement.  If the rider is not balanced then he will use the reins and inhibit the horse from stretching lower. The rider must be able to have a light seat as well, so the horse can use his back without the rider driving into it. We want symmetry in our training so yet again the rider must ride with equal weight distribution in both directions or the horse will become, or stay "one-sided".

    This is often demonstrated as a bridle lameness. When investigating lameness in a horse a vet does not necessarily know about the influence a rider has on the lameness. It may be worth getting an opinion from a respected trainer or coach, especially if the vet finds no clinical reasoning for the lameness.

    The importance of understanding the biomechanics of both the horse and rider can save many dollars and many hours of frustration. Arena work, as well as hill work, is great for eccentric muscle training. For the rider, the Applied Posture Riding exercises are a must. It takes time and patience to build up muscles.

    Skeletal Structure and Muscle Structure.

    Confirmation is the size and shape of the bones and this can’t change much,(skeletal structure). Posture is how the bones are held together and how they are supported and how they are moved by the muscles, ligaments, and tendons (muscular structure). Soft tissues can be changed. So the horse's muscle shape and strength and control are changeable as is the riders. Bad confirmation can't be changed totally, but it can be controlled and managed. Poor confirmation in the legs can be managed with correct shoeing.

    A bad posture in a horse and a rider can be changed. For example, a horse with a U neck (upside down necks which are more heavily muscled underneath) can be trained to reverse this posture.before and after APR A rider with round shoulders can be trained to be tall and upright.

    It is important to know your horses' past. Has he raced, has been badly handled, has been badly trained, and what is his breed? The thoroughbred has a different brain to the stock horse.

    It can be due to emotions the horses are carrying, for example, negative emotions like fear, or anxiety, anger, depression, etc. In a person who is stressed, fearful, and anxious you might see a contracted chest, tight muscles, and a tight jaw, round shoulders, and a stooped posture. Similarly, you can see these same patterns in horses, and of course, these tension patterns extend on all throughout the body. Poor posture could be the result of an accident or injury or due to pain or discomfort, for example, sore feet, or it could be from badly fitting saddles and poor riding.

    How do we change these Postures?

    As I have said it is important to have knowledge. I believe the rider is the first point of change. A rider can identify their own strengths and DSC 0087websizeweaknesses by following my Applied Posture Riding program. Only when a rider is able to balance through their core and lower leg will they be able to ride in balance with their horse. A balanced rider will be able to sit light and get off their horses back and allow it to develop.

    A balanced rider will be able to keep their weight centered and symmetrical as the horse grows bulk and length. A balanced rider will not pull on the reins. A balanced rider will feel the movement under them. When horses are ridden in better biomechanical balance their postures can start to change. Although in some cases horses need extra help with bodywork to make these changes.

    Massage, special stretches from the ground, showing the horse what you want is needed sometimes. A good saddle fit is very important. Knowledge in all areas is a must to have the best outcome.

    Good luck and enjoy your riding Annette Willson Applying Biomechanics Of The Horse And The Rider Part 2

  • Core Stability and How to Train The Transverse Abdominal Muscle

    Did You Know This Muscle is The Single Most Important Muscle to Have a strong For Skillful Riding?

     Core stability provides several benefits to the musculature system. A strong core will maintain lower back health and assist in preventing injury in numerous parts of the body. The training of the core is a mandatory part of treatment by physical therapists, athletic trainers, and musculoskeletal trainers. Core stability is the ability of the lumbar spine to remain stable while the body or limbs perform a function, eg throw a ball, hang out the washing. The photo shows the anatomy of the chief core muscles.

    The health of the joints and bones will have a huge influence on the function of the core. The pain will inhibit its contraction and it will switch off when the body suffers pain.  Core stability is predominantly maintained by the dynamic function of the Transverse Abdominal Muscle. Specific

    Core stability is the ability of the lumbar spine to remain stable while the body or limbs perform a function, eg throw a ball, hang out the washing. The photo shows the anatomy of the chief core muscles. The health of the joints and bones will have a huge influence on the function of the core. The pain will inhibit its contraction and it will switch off when the body suffers pain.  Core stability is predominantly maintained by the dynamic function of the Transverse Abdominal Muscle. Specific

    Core stability is predominantly maintained by the dynamic function of the Transverse Abdominal Muscle. Specific core exercises will achieve this. There is a clear relationship between trunk muscle activity and the stability and quality of movements. Core hold

      Current medical evidence suggests that decreased core stability may predispose to injury and that appropriate training may reduce injury.  

    The horse rider is at risk of injury from many areas of riding. Riding itself creates a compounding impact through the seat and lower back. This will cause microdamage and pain. The pain switches the core off and the rider is open to further injury and of course, their riding skills are lost.

    By training the core a horse rider can prevent this.

     The care of a horse loads the body, in particular, the lower back. This happens in many ways and often. The joints become worn and the pain creeps in and again the core is switched off. Preventing pain and maintaining the strongest core possible for riding is essential.

    My Applied Posture Riding Membership Program is a horse and rider program designed to teach horse riders, how to gain the best and effective horse riding posture. The specific horse riding exercises are simple, easy but most of all effective.  Join my Applied Posture Riding Facebook page.

    Good luck and enjoy your riding. Annette Willson.   

  • How To Ride a Horse. Balance Exercises

    As a rider coach seeing and hearing about poor balance in the saddle is common.

    So many horse riders have poor balance. This is evident at the trot and especially the canter. The horse and rider seem to be out of tune with each other. It is not always the horse's fault. For a horse and rider to be in tune, first the horse must have even and regular paces. Horse riding is a 73difficult skill to learn.

     A lot of racehorses off the track have major problems in this area and need a lot of gentle training to stop them leaning on the bit or charging through it all the time. Racehorses are taught to balance on the bit so a rider taking on an ex-racer must teach the horse otherwise or this rider will learn to balance back on the reins and the cycle is set up. I teach my ex-racers to work with no contact, first, and then go through a whole process of re-balancing.

    My training is slow, repetitive, and consistent. The horse has to understand what he has to do before it is successful. This is only as effective as the rider, though. I am a balanced rider and I teach horse riders HOW TO balance with specialized balance exercises.  As a Physiotherapist, I train many people in my practice about balance and muscle control. These exercises are valid for horse riders. How to ride a horse with a balance must be practiced out of the saddle before it can be trained in the saddle.

    How To Ride A Horse Balance Exercises

    Balance exercises on the floor are easy to learn. Balance exercises on a moving horse can only be successful once you have actually established this skill on the floor.

    How To Ride A Horse Balance Exercises

    I believe and have proved over and over the key to balance in the saddle is establishing the lower leg first. Once a rider has this skill they can move onto training the core and aiming for a deep independent skill full seat. This will only happen by training many composites of the horse riding posture and not the final result. When we learn a new skill at any sport we do drills to learn the sport, horse riders seem to miss this and try and sit upright and still straight away.

    Many fail and look for a new instructor. It is not your instructor's knowledge to teach you how to ride a horse, their skill is different but they do recognize that rider is having major problems in this area. How to ride a horse is a phrase goggled 1000s of times. DSC 0092People and horse riders looking for balance exercises realize how important they are. I am a rider coach I love teaching horse riders to ride to their best skill.

    If you have the passion to learn I have the passion to teach you

     Start with my Applied Posture Riding Membership Program.

    I promise your riding will change once you learn about yourself and about the horse riding posture and movement patterns to train it.

    If you have any questions about my program or your riding or the braces I recommend for riders then use the contact page and sent me a note. I am able to respond to most emails quickly. Please be respectful I cannot give medical advice without a full consult.

    Enjoy your riding and good luck. Remember to look at yourself before your blame your horse

    How to ride a horse is my specialty.

    Follow me on Applied Posture Riding Facebook pageand fill in the subscribe form as well to stay in touch.

  • The Mystery Of "Use More Seat" When Horse Riding!

    How To Use Your Seat Correctly is the Question?

    Training a rider to use their seat is not natural! Why?

    Why do riders rely on their reins for balance?DSC 0028websize

    Your seat is your buttocks and this is not a body part people focus on or use to move or to function. (Except for the obvious).

    People don't think or focus on their seat during their daily lives (as a rule). We use our eyes, our hands and our feet mostly for performing our daily tasks. We sit on our seat.

    Our eyes give us a target to go to, our feet take us there and our hands then perform a function. Our seat is just a body part. The seat is a follower of movement, not the leader.

    So when a rider is asked to "use more seat" what does this mean? If your seat has only been used to sit on then how does it suddenly become a leader of a movement when riding. The default first movement is usually the hands and hence the reins.

    To most, it suggests they should wriggle or vibrate or jump around in the saddle.

    To some it means to change the direction of weight through your seat bones, to others it is a pelvic tilt and to many, they have no idea!

    Riding Instructors use this term all the time "more seat".

    DSC 0101websizeHOW ? is the question?

    The seat if a follower of movement and not the leader of a movement. The anchor for the seat is the hands unless it is trained otherwise. This leads to an unbalanced horse and rider which then leads to a horse heavy through the front end and possibly a bridle lameness.

    However, you can train it to become the leader and learn HOW to use more seat in the saddle.

    The HOW is what riders want to know. It is not an isolated answer or a matter of a few exercises. Like all new skills, it takes an understanding, time and training.

    Rider Biomechanics has become popular but many "experts" do not fully understand "Human Movement".

    We all have habits, age-related changes, muscle imbalances and scars that affect our body. These do not go away when we ride. The knowledge of clinical reasoning is the missing knowledge of so many rider experts.

    The existing body problems riders have needs assessing and dealing with long before a rider can "use more seat".

    A rider with a painful, stiff lower back or weak hip muscle will try anything to get their seat to move? This creates more problems, and many are then transferred to the horse. An injury may have created a muscle inhibition resulting in a muscle not firing off when needed.

    The core group is the chief to all stability and without it, you cannot use any of your leading points efficiently in or out of the saddle. Your hands (reins) will be used for balance, mostly you will tip forward and your lower leg will swing around. Sound familiar?14934490 horsewoman in uniform at a jumping show

    To change HOW you ride is a matter of working through the steps.

    Once your core is trained to be used on demand you can then train your lower leg to be solid and stable. This skill will allow you to use your hands and feet for effective reproducible aids. Once you have established this you can then train your seat to follow and become your primary tool for riding.

    Pilates will not teach you this. Why? Pilates is a lifestyle routine for strengthening your core in "neutral spine" horse riding requires so much more of your core than sit to stand ect. Riding requires "active flexibility" through the pelvis and spine. The pelvis does not remain neutral!

    Applied Posture RidingAnnette WillsonTraining Riders To RideRiding With Your Core 1

    Think beyond your instructor, beyond your Pilates Class and beyond your own Physio, each has knowledge of what they do. Do they have knowledge of what you do?

    If you want to change the way you ride and the way you train your horse then have a look at my way of training. 

    Applied Posture Riding Program.

    Contact me with any Questions, I can start your new way of thinking and training now.

    Look Good Feel Good Ride Well.