September 14, 2021

Crooked Pelvis, Part Who Knows At This Point

It's been a couple of weeks since I had a lesson, first because Pivo didn't play ball, and then because GP trainer had to cancel due to being at a show. I really don't mind this though, because between a break from lessons and show season "ending", it's given me a chance to take a step back and focus on my own biomechanics.

And I've come to a couple of interesting realizations, the biggest of which being that my pelvis is STILL crooked in the way my PT friend helped me discover last summer.

I'm just on the buckle here, having just got on, but in this moment I'm intentionally thinking "fall off the right side of the horse", and in reviewing the footage I discovered I was actually centered...oh no...lol

At Waterloo, in the warmup, I discovered if I put the right side of my body forward, he suddenly raised his back and went really well, but I don't think it was really my right side at all. I think when I did that, it made me focus on my torso to the point that my hips leveled off, and THAT'S what he responded well to. I mean:

I still feel like I'm falling off to the right here, lol, I cannot even tell you how crooked this feels to me!

You might be asking why my GP trainer hasn't caught this, but I think it's a very difficult thing to see because this is not a "the way I'm sitting in the saddle thing", it's a true asymmetry that impacts every aspect of my life (sitting, standing, CrossFit, Pilates, everything), and my torso compensates for it. I can have a lot of weight in the left seatbone, the right one floating in space above the center of the saddle and the bulk of my torso over my right/floating hip, which places my center of gravity, well, relatively centered, even if it feels awful to the horse.

Not going for a tiny pirouette here

As I explore this, I've completely taken out all of the Second Level movements and any expectation of collection temporarily, and have stuck to big figures and long leg yields in basically a First Level frame, and Connor has responded so well. To feel him lift his back and reach for the bit without seemingly any effort on my part is so cool.

I'm also working hard on transforming my contact after GP trainer pointed something out to me in Chicago, but that's a post for another day.

The hard part about this is that he REALLY wants to tip me into my old position. Stride by stride, I have to constantly fight it. There's this specific movement he does from the left hind to the right shoulder that gets me every time, and that's the kind of thing that I have to be policing for myself. It's also the kind of thing that's hard to actively pay attention to when I'm learning movements and other things I've never done before in lessons, which is why it's so great to have a brief break from lessons like this every so often.

It may seem like a step back to just be working on First Level stuff right now, but it's all the more important to fix stuff like this now, because I doubt I can do good flying changes with one hip stuck up into the air all the time!

7 comments:

  1. I feel this so much LOL My trainer calls it an internal GPS issue. For months, I constantly felt like I was falling off to the left and my right side would cling on for dear life. Totally not the case, I was actually centered and level (tell my brain, please). Lately (mostly!) it is starting to feel more centered and less like I'm flying off to the left!

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    1. Ughhhhh SO FRUSTRATING! But awareness is the first step.

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  2. Working on these tiny components makes later stuff so much easier. Plus I'm biasly invested in your crooked hip story since I also have a crooked hip lol

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    1. Hahaha yeah. I was going through this with my Pilates trainer this morning and she was like "What position do you sleep in?" and I was like "...here we go" lol

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  3. I've spent almost every ride over the last month just focusing on noticing and reprogramming bad biomechanical habits (turning my sternum into a turn, crushing one side of my cereal box, leaning off the left side of the horse, to name a few) through really simple movements -- simple like 20m circles and 3- and 4-loop serpentines. I could probably keep riding 20m circles and serpentines for the next six months and not run out of things to fix, and those are just things I'm noticing. WILL THIS BIOMECHANICAL TORTURE NEVER END?!

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    1. NO, NO IT WILL NOT. I didn't want to get too MW'y with this post, but the bear down is really coming into play here, because when I'm "beared down", my pelvis levels out. Part of me wonders if the value of the bear down isn't in the internal pressure itself as much as it is the internal pressure leading to positional alignment. The "the horse's pressure matches the human's pressure" explanation never really sat right with me. Desperately want to have this conversation with you and Kate and Megan over a margarita sometime, btw

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  4. I spent my whole life having trainers tell me I was collapsing left... and I often wondered if my broken collar bone contributed to that. Then I started yoga and realized that my pelvis is super crooked. Turns out I don't need to expand my side body or lift my shoulder... I need to drop my left hip!!! I do so many exercises to work on it, but I think it will always be crooked. Learning how to unlock it on horseback has been earth shattering though!

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