Friday, August 24, 2012

Engaging the Core

This is the best day ever.

Weather-wise. The rest is kind of sucking.

Anyways!! It was brisk and cool this morning and I even had to put a coat on. The sky was clear and blue, the sun was yellow (it's red when it's smokey) and there was no smoke to be seen. I headed to the arena for a dressage ride, but the BOs decided to water.

No worries. Cuna and I took a nice walk through the hills, looking at the bright blue sky, the golden flora, and listening to the birds sing, all while breathing freely.

When we came back to the arena, we had a mission: work like a proper dressage horse until my biceps can't take it any more.

We started with a cool exercise that a friend told me about. We used a large rectangle in the arena. We trotted the sides, then walked two steps in the corner, then right back to trot. The idea is to keep your hands steady and still and the horse relaxed, but just move them back and forth with your body.

Pelham not used today. Cute pic though.
It worked really, really well. We did it both ways, then mixed it up by doing 10m circles in all the corners and the walk steps on the long sides. Then we did trot/canter transitions on a big circle. I focus really hard on just keeping everything the same, especially my hands, then sitting a couple of strides without activating my seat and making him tense, then asked to canter. It's a work in progress, but it's definitely coming along.

I also noticed when I rode yesterday that my hands were much quieter without stirrups than with. My theory is that my core was more engaged and active, which quieted my upper body. At any rate, my hands were much more effective today and Cuna responded really well.

I rode until my right arm felt like collapsing. I'd really like for Cuna to be a bit lighter, but according to his old owner, this is basically how he goes, plus he's conditioned to be that way through racing, plus he simply isn't built to be light on the forehand. Yes, a sharper bit would probably give me some false lightness, but it's not that big of a deal. I'll get stronger. 

Tomorrow I'm hoping to start working on one of my goals for the fall: riding in the pelham with two reins. Omg! 


  1. I will have to steal that exercise for use next week!

    Also, super happy your air was smoke free today!

  2. haha you can totally ride with two reins!!! :)

  3. Oohh! I like the sound of that exercise - Charlie and I are goin to give it a whirl. Yay for no smoke!

  4. I like the exercise idea not sure if i can figure it out more of a visual learner maybe you could make some videos ;). And the two rein tung thing is not difficult at all, you got this.

  5. Yay no smoke!!! :D Sounds like you had a very productive ride.

    When I was taking lessons on a heavy (not draft, heavy in the bridle) horse my instructor told me to think of holding them with my triceps instead of my biceps, it helped to keep me from pulling back against them (which I'm bad about and only makes them tense). I don't know if the visualization will make any difference to you since I'm sure you aren't pulling against him, but it might help prevent sore biceps! :)

    P.S. If you can't tell if you're using your biceps or triceps have someone put their hand on your elbow and push forward while you push back into their hand. :) I had a hard time telling which muscles I was using until my trainer did that for me. It made it much easier to feel the difference. Keep up the great work!!

    1. I think I'm actually using my triceps. I'm bad at human conformation and I was gambling that no one would call me on it. Busted!

    2. LOL! Busted! I figured you had to be using your triceps (back of the arm), because the only way to use your biceps (front of the arm) is to pull up and back on the reins as if you were lifting a dumbbell. That's why I was a little confused. From now on you have to write triceps. If I catch you writing biceps you are grounded!!! LOL!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...