Hips Don't Lie

I haven't gotten to 1-3 yet, that's okay.  This is on my mind right now.


You guys know this summer has been full of breakthroughs for us.  There were all kinds of ways I was self-sabotaging us and I had no idea.

But nothing has been as big as the "your hips are locked up" revelation from Nancy K has been.


If anything is the key to Dressage, at least for me, this is it.  I've always had a hard time feeling the hind legs, and I've realized this past week that it's because I actually couldn't feel them before.  Riding instructors, take note: I was sitting on the horse, but resisting his movement so thoroughly that I actually physically couldn't feel what was happening below me.


On Tuesday night, I was playing with my new position, my hips moving with his hind legs, my position totally relaxed.  Each hind leg thrust came through my whole body; I was both moving more than ever, and more still on the horse than ever.  

I asked him for a lengthening across the diagonal, and on the first one I got a "...huh?" type response.  We came around, I coiled him up, and asked for another one, and he went "Oh!" and pushed off his hind legs so powerfully, it caught us both by surprise.  Big pats for the right answer!  And the only thing that's changed is I'm letting it happen in my body.

(Sidenote: when I told my trainer that story in my lesson on Thursday, she grinned and asked if I fell off backwards.)


Suddenly everything is easier.  Things that used to feel really hard and turn me into a pretzel, like half pass, now make tons of sense.  

I can see how I had to learn this lesson in order to go anywhere else in Dressage.  And I'm more convinced than ever that there is no such thing as a "pretty" position in Dressage, only an effective one.  How many years have I spent trying to train this horse when it was my own body that was preventing him from doing what I asked him to do?

Hope that helps, my biomechanics loving friends.  In the meantime, I can't get enough saddle time right now and plan to ride all weekend.  Dressage is addicting!

Stretchy trot is actually stretchy when, you guessed it, you're not blocking your horse's energy.

28 comments:

  1. SO interesting! I've been playing with this concept a lot lately too, and it's so enlightening to read your perspective on what you have learned about blocking/allowing your horse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like it! I tend to overanalyze but I think a lot of us struggle with these things, so I hope everyone finds it interesting and useful.

      Delete
  2. Love the breakthrough. I similarly find that if I pay attention to loosening my hips and actually engage my core things come together. My problem is if I'm not constantly like "hips, hips, hips, core, core, core" I immediately revert!

    You guys are looking so awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally, I haven't even brought up the core and shoulders yet but that's the other piece of the hips thing. My core was actually somewhat sore on Monday from holding up my new position, which has never happened to me while riding.

      Delete
  3. That is just awesome! Really enjoying following your progress and biomechanics breakthroughs. It is all about the biomechanics. Really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Aptly named blog ;) It really all comes down to how you sit and use your body.

      Delete
  4. I think this is my big take home so far this year too...it's amazing how we can force our bodies into a 'correct' position that is anything but effective :) My coach recently assigned homework of riding every day as if I am on a cool down trail ride and no one is watching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Same here. We had a ride in the field in which he was really spicy, and she had me "think cool down." She said I could either escalate it by being tense, or de-escalate it by relaxing and telling him we were done even though we weren't.

      Delete
  5. I totally know what you mean. My leg position isn't correct because it looks pretty, its correct because it gives accurate aids. I have to remember this when I just want to be a slop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! It matters so much more than we think it does. There are so many ways to sit on a horse, even if to the outside observer they all look the same.

      Delete
  6. I have the same issue (not being able to feel the back legs) I need to learn this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's helping me so much. It really feels like my hip bones are tied to his hind legs.

      Delete
  7. I love this! Ugh I have the same problem with tight hips and a lack of feel when they get that way. After auditing a bunch of clinics with my trainer and reading posts like yours and Kate's, I feel like I'm on a biomechanics binge right now! Yay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're telling me I won't just kick this habit once and for all someday?! Ha! I'm kidding. I would love to be a fly on the wall for her lessons and those clinics you're auditing, the opportunities you all have out there for trainers are just insane.

      Delete
  8. This is fascinating! It was a huge revelation to me when I realised that I could feel the movement of each hind leg individually. So now I'm going to try even harder to loosen up my hips and even them out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm curious to know how that works for you, definitely write about it if you can!

      Delete
  9. I love reading about your position breakthrough - I am now committed to convincing my body to do the same! Watching you in warm up, I immediately noticed a difference in you and Connor's way of going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, that means a lot, especially since I struggled to get him doing in the warmup at first. It feels a lot different.

      Delete
  10. This makes my heart swoon and I am so excited for you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! We are both going through some big changes in our riding right now.

      Delete
    2. Holy guacamole, you're telling me!! I can't wait to see what happens next

      Delete
  11. It took me forever to learn how to turn my hips in half pass. It made a huge difference! I still struggle with tight hips tho. argh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmmm I think I'm doing it wrong then. Haha. Still only doing it at the walk. Can you come back and teach me if I promise you more food?

      Delete
  12. This is a really interesting post for me. I'm going to have all sorts of things to think about when I ride tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think when our seats become effective, that's what makes them beautiful. Cart before the horse lol...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Keeping hips loose-ish and feeling the hind legs is a constant struggle... along with a million other things. But when you feel it's right, wow! You know just how wrong you've been (and in my case, continue to be for 95% of the time lol... this stuff is HARD!)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great to read! Enlightening and wonderful for you - yay!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP