I’ve got some back issues, I think most of them stem from age, and probably all the arthritis that shows up in xrays, there are a few bulging discs, blah blah, but anyway, it feels worse when I do nothing…or sit around, and it feels better after most riding and exercise, so other than trying not to do a lot of heavy lifting (literally), I have not changed a lot in my daily routine. Although I do have a pain management doctor, and I do take an NSAID nightly and a muscle relaxer most nights.
I’ve had the occasional chiropractic adjustment, and it helps a bit, but only when that is the cause. Yesterday, I tried a new chiro (recommended by some friends who ride), and this was really different. First off, it was a long session. Over an hour of actual working on my body. The vast majority of it was very low key, and using a lot of specific pressure points to assess soreness, imbalances, but after each set of points, my back kept getting looser and looser, and this was all before any “adjustment”. At the end, he did adjust most of my back, and did get the spot in my right thoracic region that has been bugging me for a while. He also seriously stretched my right shoulder, which was a major OWWW, but it isn’t sore today, so it was obviously not too much.
He does not want me to do any forward bends for 2 weeks, which means I’ve got to decide if I can avoid those in yoga next week, or should I just skip it. We actually did some back bends this week, so will likely do those. He also wants me to try going completely gluten free for a couple of weeks. I’m pondering that, I avoid most gluten, but I don’t know if I want to bother with being hard core about it. I’ll give it a try as soon as I finish the new loaf of sourdough (my main gluten indulgence, and Pat just bought me a loaf yesterday).
After that, I had a lesson. James knew I’d been at the chiro (I was a touch late due to both being the same afternoon) and he instantly noticed the looser spine. He also noticed that I was letting Bali be above the bit as I thought about how it felt, trying to decide if I could feel a difference. We went to work and once I got her round and on the bit, he noticed that my hands were quieter. Hopefully a combination of my work that I’ve been doing almost every ride to keep my hands still in relation to the horse (or as I have to think about it…my elbows and shoulders moving, since that is what it feels like) and the body work.
We had not worked on flying changes in a while, so once we were warmed up, it was flying changes work. Which meant, straight, uphill, forward canter, and counter canter, and half pass into counter canter, then change. All but one change was clean, but a few of those were rather exuberant. As I got Bali more forward, the huge changes got easier.
First we did this, canter a 10m circle, once that is balanced and good, half pass to counter canter on the quarter-line, then we straightened, moved the shoulders out towards the wall (which is to effectively move the haunches into the middle more…but I cannot seem to do this yet in counter canter, and I can get the shoulders out) and then ask for the change. I got a lot of changes before I asked for them, and those are great, but I need her to wait for the request. As we progressed, she would change the moment I started my sequence of things I do as I ask (straight, shoulders over, shift seatbones, shift legs) and so as long as I had started, that was good. I just need to get faster with my reflexes as she is definitely willing to try.
After that, we had a walk break, and I figured we’d be done, but nope, we did a few more, this time with a 10m circle in the corner, then straight across the short diagonal, changing before we got to the letter. As I came out of the 10m circle to straight, I then kept the shoulders inside of straight, again, to keep her haunches over to the inside of the new lead, this makes it easier for her to change. Her legs are all in the right places and she doesn’t have to make some huge swing to get her hips out of the way.
All in all, it was good. I’ve got homework for the changes, and tonight I did one each direction, using the second exercise. She worked hard last night so I did not want to do too much. I also make sure we get in a good bit of counter canter, I need to make sure she doesn’t equate direction changes with lead changes. I also worked on some of our shoulder in to renvers stuff and I think the chiro helped that. That has been getting better and better, but tonight she felt pretty smooth about it. I think the half pass might come back (I’d lost that after we started getting our lead changes).
Overall, a good lesson. I need to get back into my lesson reports.