Shoulders

I want to do the Two Point Challenge.  I really do.  I think my CrossFit legs could give Alli a run for her money!  (That was quite the number you put up!)  But we're now four months into my husband's unemployment and things just aren't looking good right now.  I don't know if I will still be able to afford to keep Connor here when the Two Point Challenge ends, plus I've cut my trips to the barn down to save on gas.  So as much as I would like to get in on the blog-sharey fun, I'm going to have to sit this year out.  Have fun, you guys, ride an extra minute for me!

Dressage llama has crazy hair.
The only non-stressful moments in my life right now occur on Connor's back, even though we've been working so hard lately on things I've never done before, and it's been frustrating at times. I know you guys know what I'm talking about - they're our psychiatrists as well as our horses!

We've been working on unlocking him at the base of his neck and getting him to travel truly straight.  He responds to the former by saying, "Wait, I can bend there?" and the latter by wiggling his hind end all over the place.  My trainer has gotten on him each of the last two weeks in our lessons, since it's a little above my head to teach him this, and requires more finesse than I have.

But finally last night, we had a breakthrough in his softness, and it was all about my rounded, hunchy shoulders. My shoulders were giving forward, which allowed him lean on my hands, and when he leaned on my hands, it pulled me forward and closed my hip angle, rendering my seat useless.  She had me work on being quicker with my hands, moving the bit more so he never got a chance to lean on me, keeping my shoulders open and my core "up", and working on giving when he softened, but my arm only, never my shoulder.

To help teach me to keep my shoulders in a good position, she had me put my elbows touching my hips, and take my hands away from my body, so that my palms were facing mostly up.  This made it impossible for me to close my shoulders, and when my shoulders were open my hip angle was free.  I can't tell you what a massive difference it made in the way he moved.  He lacked impulsion, but my trainer was fine with that because my SEAT was regulating his very regular rhythm, not the reins, and that if there was any more impulsion than what he had at the moment I would be unable to control his body that well.  Control first, push second.

I feel like we're peering around the corner of a breakthrough, but not quite there yet.  I can feel it.  I'm in uncharted territory here and progress is slow, but very rewarding.

7 comments:

  1. I hope your husband finds work soon :(

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  2. I'm sorry your husband hasn't found work yet. I will be praying that something comes up soon! And awesome on the pending breakthrough. I love that feeling!

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  3. Hey! I know that halter. ;) Cuna has one too.

    So glad you are finding solace in riding--best wishes to your husband in the job hunt.

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  4. I am horrible about keeping my shoulders back!

    Here's to hubby finding a job!

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  5. My shoulders are all hunched when I ride too. And sometimes when I'm not riding. I tell myself to breathe and relax and as they come down I realise they must have been up around my ears. Argh.
    Sorry your OH hasn't had any luck with the job search. It's a tough time. Fingers crossed something comes up soon.

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  6. Hope things start looking up!

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  7. Keeping you and your husband in my thoughts! I know how frustrating it is to be job searching. Great work on Connor!

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