Tips/exercises for maintaing correct body position please?!

Dazzle

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May 27, 2016
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I'm feeling very deflated! I've been riding now for just over 3 years and sometimes feel like I'm stuck in the same place with no progression. I recently started a new part loan and have been working in the school with him (to not great effect). My partner filmed me recently and I was horrified when I saw the video - bent forward with my toes stuck outwards, heels in the air!

I had a private instructor with my previous PT and she was always screaming at me - sit up straight woman!!! Why can't I get it right? The crazy thing is I feel like I am sitting upright with my heels down but the videos tell a totally different story. I watched a video taken of me a year ago and my seat is exactly the same as it is now!!!

Are there any tips anyone can share - exercises I can try? I would have thought after 3 years having the correct seat would come naturally to me but it obviously isn't.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Videos are a great way of keeping tabs on your position if you can't have lessons all the time :) Its all about muscle memory, you have to do the 'right' thing often so it becomes your default position.

Assessing your position in and out of the saddle will help you, in front of a mirror if you can, then when you find the right position take a moment to really think about how it feels, eg. for me 'sitting up' feels like I am very slightly leant backwards, but that's because I have a tendency to slouch!

You can practice sitting up and on your seat bones at the dining table, office chair, on the train etc. the more you do it, the more your body will accept it :) You can also stretch your calf muscles for heels down and improve your balance by putting your toes on a small step, kerbs works great, drop your heels to the ground and keep your body up and balanced with a slight bend in your knees :) People might look at you a bit funny in the street but needs must :D
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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All of what Jessey says :)

When you hack out take the chance to look in windows to see how you're sitting and when you correct yourself if it's safe quickly close your eyes to concentrate on how it feels.

You say your heels are pointing up & you tip forward, that combination makes me wonder if you're tight through your hips &/or gripping with your knees. Could you get a couple of lunge lessons with an RI who would be a bit more helpful than shouting "sit up straight"? You clearly know what you're doing wrong, what you need to know is why & how to correct it.
 
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Huggy

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On a lighter note - carthorse's suggestion to look in windows is spot on - I do it all the time. Just be warned - you see your reflection, the people in the windows see you peering in - I was suddenly aware one day of an old lady waving happily to me , as I critiqued my riding position! :p
 

Jessey

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On a lighter note - carthorse's suggestion to look in windows is spot on - I do it all the time. Just be warned - you see your reflection, the people in the windows see you peering in - I was suddenly aware one day of an old lady waving happily to me , as I critiqued my riding position! :p
I did it riding one night as it got dark, as was my habit to look in this one perfect height window, forgot I had me head light on tho :D bet they weren't too impressed and no way they could have missed it!
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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I'm always too busy admiring my horse in reflections, rather than critiquing my own riding lol. I think @carthorse makes a good point when she says you need an RI who will tell you why and how, rather than just yell at you. Don't be too deflated, most of us have been there (some of us still are, but we enjoy ourselves anyway even if we don't look too pretty!)
 

Huggy

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I did it riding one night as it got dark, as was my habit to look in this one perfect height window, forgot I had me head light on tho :D bet they weren't too impressed and no way they could have missed it!
Probably thought you were a stalker. o_O
 
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chunky monkey

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...la la land
If you think your upright, does your saddle need checking. Could it be tipping you.

I'm another that looks in the windows to check position. Also looking at horses head carriage. Us horses riders will be accused of being peeping Tom's.
 

ReturneeRider

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Dec 11, 2018
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I think this is all about core strength. If your posture isn't right off the horse it will be very difficult to maintain on the horse. I have a similar problem, as so much of my day to day work involves sitting at a desk and writing, and I sit in a hunchy slumpy way when I get absorbed that I don't even notice. Have you tried core-strengthening exercise off the horse? I find yoga is good for this (not the relaxing gentle kind, the get-your-muscles-burning kind), or ballet-based exercise classes - you can then practise the moves in your own home every day. My muscle tone has improved quite a bit through this. If yoga isn't your thing and you have this opportunity near you, aerial circus skills are also pretty good - silks, hoop, trapeze, that kind of thing. These activities are quite popular at the moment and most big towns should have some classes. They're not suitable for me, as I have joint problems that get in the way, but I know other riders who swear by them.
 
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Been there, done that and the T shirt is worn out! I have been riding for 34 years and still have to think about my position.

Lean back - you will still probably still be leaning forward, so lean back more. Think about opening your shoulders, like you are trying to grip something between your shoulder blades. Tuck tummy and chin in and stretch your ribcage. Ride without stirrups for a while, when you take them back I bet your heels will be down.

It will feel really odd for a while but make a point of regularly checking your position as you ride
 
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Dorry

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Nov 20, 2018
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I've been having lessons now for 9 months on the same school horse and doing well .....but! Have a tendency to lean back putting my legs too far forward. Soul destroying! Am making a great effort to correct this I know it's all down to the seat. Did better today. My 7 yr old granddaughter videod me (mostly the ground! ) not too bad but could do much better! Only a couple of weeks ago I was doing everything right then for some unknown reason went all to pot last week. I guess that's how it goes. Would appreciate some tips from experienced riders how to maintain correct position. Position at walk is fine!! Rising trot is when it can go wrong! Am doing lots of pilates to strengthen core which is going great. Still loving my riding whatever. Just want to do it well!
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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It's a good inner thigh workout too!
So much so that I've stopped trying it - my thighs were getting huge! I know I shouldn't be so vain as to put my appearance over my riding ability, but I find that I am. I have that body type though, everything goes on my thighs - same thing happens if I do regular squats.

PS I second the idea of riding without stirrups though, it's really good for getting you to sit on the correct part of your seat.
 

Dazzle

New Member
May 27, 2016
26
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3
Devon
I think this is all about core strength. If your posture isn't right off the horse it will be very difficult to maintain on the horse. I have a similar problem, as so much of my day to day work involves sitting at a desk and writing, and I sit in a hunchy slumpy way when I get absorbed that I don't even notice. Have you tried core-strengthening exercise off the horse? I find yoga is good for this (not the relaxing gentle kind, the get-your-muscles-burning kind), or ballet-based exercise classes - you can then practise the moves in your own home every day. My muscle tone has improved quite a bit through this. If yoga isn't your thing and you have this opportunity near you, aerial circus skills are also pretty good - silks, hoop, trapeze, that kind of thing. These activities are quite popular at the moment and most big towns should have some classes. They're not suitable for me, as I have joint problems that get in the way, but I know other riders who swear by them.
I actually think you are spot on! I spend my days hunched over a PC as well and know what you mean about becoming absorbed. I think my posture is probably dreadful full stop. I've been doing yoga for about 5 years and my posture has definately improved as a result but clearly not enough!!!