Monday, November 11, 2013

La-Z Boy Syndrome

Everyone has seen it, most of you are guilty of it, and I'm the queen of it. What is it, you ask? Why, the dreaded chair seat of course!
Is it just me? Or could we replace Pig with a barstool here?
My whole life I fought the chair seat. Honestly. If you ever run into my old eventing instructor, you can ask her about me. She'll immediately begin chuckling and mention something about being unable to keep my fingers closed on the reins, and propping my feet out in front of me like I'm lounging around watching tv on top of my horse. Chronic problem should be my middle name(s). 

Luckily, I've been getting much better about keeping the chair seat in check, but I can't seem to eradicate it completely. I seem to  take special enjoyment in it when asking for a lengthening, riding in front of others (read, at EVERY SINGLE SHOW), or when I've gone 2 months without a lesson.

Guys. It's been 2 months without a lesson, and I'm working on lengthenings.

Crap.

Let's just say that though I have been feeling really good about Pig's progress recently, (Full 20 meter circles of counter canter! Can I get a "Whoohoo!"?) some recent video of my riding brought the chair seat back into my attention. Guys. My position was so bad in that video that I couldn't even bring myself to watch that video a second time. I deleted it almost immediately.

While seeing my horrible riding was initially a shock, it's not surprising, and I've tried not to let it get me down. Instead, over the last week, I've made some neat discoveries that have helped me keep my position. Two discoveries, to be specific... my seatbones.

Now, I know this is a strange statement to come from a rider working on 2nd level. However, I'm reasonably certain that I've never knowingly been able to point out exactly what sitting on my seatbones felt like, or how to get back to them. I've approximated the feeling with leaning, or shoving my legs back. This week, though, I felt what it was like to balance on them and let my legs drape.

So. What does sitting on my seatbones feel like? To be somewhat indelicate, it feels like rolling forward onto my pubic bone and thinking about sinking into my heels, like I would for a crisp downward transition. I'm not actually that far forward, but the idea of sitting more forward than my tailbone is completely foreign to me at this point so I'm really exaggerating the feeling.

Interestingly, sitting this forward has allowed me to slide my shoulder blades down further, bring my elbows in more, and keep my hands up higher. I also find it easier to stay in balance with my horse, and not get left behind (dur!). However, my abs are even more engaged to keep my body straight. I have a tendency to tilt backwards with my upper body, getting left behind. I think this comes from my background riding hunters, and trying to lose the "hunter hunch." I can actually feel my abdominal muscles stretching me up straight, which is a neat way to be sure I'm on the right path. I do have to admit that holding this position is really difficult for long periods of time. I'm clearly not accustomed to it, and easily tire.

More work ahead!

2 comments:

  1. I've been fighting off my chair seat for ages; turns out my saddle has been deflating at the back (I CAIR air cushion system instead of regular flocking) and tipping me back. I fixed that problem with a saddle pad, then went out a bought a new saddle. I am hoping that will be a much better fit and the end of my chair seat problems! :)

    bonita of A Riding Habit

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    1. Oh my! I've heard of those CAIR saddles doing that, how awful! I definitely think saddle fit is a big part of a chair seat, but I think human conformation is also a factor. :)

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