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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Physiotherapy Clinic Recap & Blog Giveaway Reminder

I am so slow to write about the physio clinic that happened on November 14/15!  It was really fun and my brain was stuffed full of helpful information.  I was a little disappointed I couldn’t bring my own horse but I still got a lot out of it.  The clinic took place at the dressage barn I work at. 
On Friday evening we watched Sandra’s (physio lady) presentation about various types of rider ailments caused by being crooked or using your body incorrectly.  She also talked quite a bit about how bad sitting all day is for the human body and how that affects riding.  She had a lot of slow motion video so you could see how various riders’ bodies were absorbing the motion of the trot.  Sandra also made us all think about bending from the hips (and sitting our butts out) rather than our backs when we bent over to pick something up – like a hoof!

I asked her about what activities were the best cross-training for riding.  She suggested cycling was probably the best.  But fencing and golf are also good. 

On Saturday I got up early to muck stalls and helped with chores before the clinic started.  So I was sufficiently warmed up for our stretching/exercise session.  It was incredibly hard!  I’m not very flexible and the stretching part was probably the most difficult for me.  She has a series of exercises for riders to do before riding.  I hope to incorporate a few into my riding routine.

Here are the exercises I plan to do before each ride:
1)      Plank for 2 minutes
2)      Side planks for 1 minute on each side
3)      Circling arms in opposite directions
4)      Sitting against a wall with legs at a 90 degree angle and engaging lower abs

The riding portion was Saturday afternoon.  One of the very kind boarders allowed me to share her horse.  I was pretty nervous about riding.  I have worked there for 4 years and no one has ever seen me ride.  I wish I had someone take a video for me because I think that would have been helpful for future reference.  It felt so weird to be riding another horse!  She was quite lovely and patient with me while I tried out a variety of strange exercises on her back.  

I thought my scoliosis would be a huge problem but Sandra actually said I was fairy straight (what?!).  She mentioned that I need keep my stirrups the same length and switch them monthly (so one doesn’t stretch out).  That’s actually contrary to what I’ve been told before, I was told to have one stirrup longer if that was more comfortable.  I was riding in stirrups that were the same length in the clinic and I actually did feel fairly straight, I guess I haven’t been doing myself any favors but having different lengths.  We did lots of little things but the two big things for me were pretty simple (thank goodness):

1)      BREATHE.  I need to not hold my breath!  I didn’t even realize that I did this but I totally do.  When I’m focusing on something I totally stop breathing.  Apparently this is a big reason that jumpers go off course, when you stop breathing your brain doesn’t work as well (obviously...).  So now I have been practicing the breathing exercise that Sandra gave me.  When I start riding I count the beats (of a walk or trot) that it takes me to inhale and exhale.  Then I increase them.  I started at the trot with two steps for my inhale and one step for my exhale and increased it to 5 and 6 respectively.  Kind of neat!  I felt WAY more relaxed after I got my breathing sorted.

2)      CROOKEDNESS CURE.  When I feel crooked she recommend posting the trot to the left, in the center and then to the right.  It felt weird at first but I did find my center in the saddle. I will definitely be doing this in future.

Another thing that she mentioned is that I use my hands a little bit to balance myself.  I’m not pulling but it’s not really correct either.  

It was a great experience.  There is a really nice group of people at the dressage barn that made it fun :)

Now for a quick reminder about the blog giveaway.  I haven't had any entries yet into my blog giveaway.  I would really like to find this halter a new home:



To enter to check out this entry here:

16 comments:

  1. awesome clinic! the breathing thing is huge - my trainer constantly shouts 'exhale' at me when i'm jumping lol. at shows i literally count strides out loud to force it.

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    1. I can't believe how much of a difference it made for me! Who knew...breathing...haha :)

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  2. Sounds like a great clinic. Breathing is key to relaxation so your exercises should help. I find (in my old age) that the balance ball I have is a great way to stretch without overdoing it, I also cycle on a recumbent bike regularly. Not that any of this helps I'm still out of shape!

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    1. It was a great clinic! I'm going to ride my bike to work when the weather warms up :)

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  3. Sounds like a fab clinic I would love to go to something like that ☺

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    1. It was great! I learned so much :)

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  4. Sounds like a great clinic. I'm really excited to hear that it was worthwhile since I will be taking her January clinic.

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  5. That clinic sounds wonderful! I would be so interested in taking one!

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    1. You should! :) I hope more of these start popping up

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  6. Sounds like an amazing clinic. I would love to take something similar. When I started riding, my left leg was always drifting back - my trainer called it "the chicken wing". She had me ride with a longer stirrup on that side to force me to reach down. I rode like that for about a year and a half and eventually the muscles in my leg got longer and now I ride with the stirrups at the same length. So, I dunno - it worked for me and I found value in doing that, but maybe you "cured" yourself and no longer needed to be doing it.

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    1. That makes good sense to me. I think I should have been stretching out one leg (a longer stirrup on that side) but instead had that one shorter.

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  7. Sounds like this was a very productive clinic, thanks for sharing!

    Plank for 2 minutes ... and then side plank 1 min each side?! Good for you, that's not easy!

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    1. I have a super weak core, on the days I remember to do this I sure feel more solid in the saddle!

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