Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pilates musings

OK, I had to do something, I have literally sat through my first winter in a decade and aside from my walks and the occasional day of riding between raindrops , things where changing in the derier region that were not pretty. The lack of motivation to do my beloved yoga tape( you know, no heated room, or yoga friends and well, gee is house hunters international on again?) drove me to take action. I had driven by a sign just down the road from me that offered private Pilate's lessons for a full 8 months, casually reading it while I waited for the light to change. Last week I actually called the number I had practically memorized. My first lessons went by in a blur of pulleys, funny shaped chairs, padded barrel like contraptions and mat work. It was great! So why am I writing about this on my horse blog? Simple, this type of exercise gives you tons of information about your body that directly relates to your riding. "How so?" you ask. Well, using myself as an example I have had all kinds of "aha" moments concerning my lower body strength/balance. Way back when I used to swim on a team my coaches killed me with kick board drills. They where trying to develop a good strong kick. To no avail as it turns out, as I always compensated with my arm and belly strength. You've seen those Olympic swimmers kicking up a fan of water behind them...yeah, that wasn't me, EVER. So then I was riding, and my coaches had me in two point, two point with no stirrups, sitting trot no stirrups, jumping no stirrups. What do you think happened here? Well, my balance was pretty good up top, but my hips tended to collapse to the left which meant? yep, I ate sh*t alot. So I did what any smart young gal would do, I stopped taking ridiculous riding lessons of course! And the compensation continued. Enter John Lyons. Well, his advise to my position questions was "shut up and ride" or "don't get out of position" This I could do, no one drilling me on where to be or not to be. Believe it or not, I think all the "not thinking" about my body may have helped in a weird way. I wasn't pounding myself mentally over my lack of position and I wasn't building wrong muscles trying desperately to be right. Which bring us back around to the present and pilates. Vanity may have driven me to begin this but mentally I'm finally ready for it. Instead of being mortified by my complete lack of skill in class, I'm fascinated by my teachers ability to zero in on exactly the muscle that I should be using. I know I've used said muscle too. WOW! I'm surprised( and thrilled) at how many muscles tell me they have been working! This new introduction to parts often ignored is really giving me the ability to "see" many of the corrections offered in riding articles. I studied them, trotted right out and got on my horse and then proceeded to get disgusted with myself, my saddle, the weather and finally the author of said article. Into the trash it went too. After a few pilates lessons though, its as if a film has been removed from the words in "how to" riding articles. They make sense now. Its like Lyons training. I have always "lyonized" other training techniques. Passing them through a filter of sorts to see if they can fit in my favored philosophy. Now I can "pilate-ize" riding articles! Its a whole new world! So , for those of you who like myself who have long standing, deep seeded riding challenges, I recommend getting introduced to your body through pilates. You will be glad you met!

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