Exciting news! I will be a guest writer for the new Dirt Road Daughter’s Magazine!
The premier issue hits stands in September, so be sure to get on the mailing list now, only $10!! www.DirtRoadDaughters.com
If you live on a dirt road, chances are good you have a horse, or two or four. If not, how do you get to town when the plow doesn’t come? Maybe you should consider a hay burner!
The typical dirt road daughter is a jump on and go kinda gal, heck if you can take pictures of youself feeding in your pajamas you certainly don’t too much care about how you look when you ride, right?? If you are shouting ‘Wrong!’ right now, thank you! You are not alone!
Have you ever seen a ranch kid, born and raised on a ranch, jump on and ride a horse and make it look as easy as walking? Exactly! It’s just plain beautiful! So, if you’re like me, and weren’t lucky enough to be born into the ranching life (don’t worry you can buy into it, marry into it, even gasp work into it — or just read this magazine and dream your way into it!) you may have wondered how they make it look so good? Certainly your old body isn’t capable of that? It is! I swear!
Your body is made to take subtle impact, every step you take your joints cushion the blow of your heel on the ground so that by the time that energy of impact gets to your head it doesn’t shake your vision. Your ankles, knees, hips and every little vertebrae in your back dispels that energy. What doesn’t bend breaks right, or it’s at least jarring! Trotting doesn’t have to be jarring.
Our poor little brains are inundated with images of Olympic-level riders sitting so erect at the trot, it seems they aren’t moving at all! Their horses must be so well trained, the rider just thinks a command and the horse responds perfectly without so much as a cue visible to the naked eye. It’s an optical illusion, just like shaking a pencil makes it look like rubber! Those riders are active, they’re moving with every step of each of their horse’s four feet!
Check out these three pictures — if I showed you any single one of them… (don’t I look great? Awe, thanks! OK but really) …these shots were taken in quick succession, can you see the movements I make from one photo to the next?
Check out the wrinkle behind my knee, see it expand and contract as my knee takes some of the impact of the horse’s movement. Look at the level of my toes compared to my heel. That comes from the change in angle of my ankle. The harder changes to see are those in my hips & back, but the point that I am trying to make here is that there is constant movement in my body in order to make me look like I am still.
It’s more comfortable to ride with some movement, and it looks better, but here’s the real kicker — it allows you better ‘feel’ of your horse. When your body is stiff you lose some amount of perception or feel, now I’m not talking about when you’ve sat still for so long that you get pins & needles and lose all feeling! Here try this exercise to see what I mean. Find a bumpy surface, a keyboard, a bag of chips, that sequined jacket you love so much. Now stiffen your hand, flat with all fingers extended, and run it over your chosen surface. Now, allow the natural curve of your hand, and run your hand over the same object. See how your fingers now can move independently of one another?
And your fingertips are facing down instead of turning up? You can feel it better, can’t you? Same concept applies to your body as a whole; if you are stiff and rigid in your saddle you won’t be able to feel your horse’s footfall as easily as if you were in a more relaxed natural position — enjoy your ride!
PLEASE PLEASE leave me a comment! I do read them 🙂 & I’m anxious to hear what works for you! Off to teach my annual Yoga & Horsemanship Retreat here at the ranch this weekend! I’ve got one spot open if anyone wants to be a last min add in, I’ve got a horse for you to ride!