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Monday, April 26, 2010

Back to the basics: Lunge

I was born with a lower back deformity that has caused me to have severe lower back issues that now causes intense low back and leg pain. This is actually what has caused my professional animal training career to be cut short, but that's a whole different story in itself. Since getting back in the saddle I've found it hard to re-find my great seat on a horse. I tend to block the horse's movement with my lower back by "protecting" myself. I tend to what I like to call "duck" out my lower back... which is effectively sticking my rump out instead of sitting on my butt and then getting stiff and blocking through my thighs. All together this isn't helpful to myself or whatever horse I'm riding. My problem is that I'm currently working Fire who is young and needs direction and I haven't found much "me" time. So, in comes my friend Julie to help me with this issue. How do we decide to fix this? We go back to the basics. We go back to the lunge line and no reins and JUST seat. Julie hooks us up and begins to spin herself silly in the center, coaxing me gently to not "duck" my rear, to focus on opening my hips up correctly, even to just breathe, and feel like I use to and just "find that sweet spot that you know"... which I did. And you know what? It didn't hurt me. Not one bit. My core is strong enough now to protect my back against a lot of the impact that happens now in riding, but my back had learned to protect itself in a particular way, and I hadn't "unlearned" it, until that night. So it took about 100 no handed sitting trot circles with my best friend on the end of a line telling me to sit like I had learned almost 15 years ago. But sometimes it takes going back to the basics.

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