Fun clinic – yoga, dressage and chiro

My friend Katy organized another clinic with James Houston this weekend, and so I signed up for one day.

It was fun. First, I had a nice yoga session with Sylvia Vitazkova, where we did lots of chest openers after a couple of sun salutations. The shoulder and chest openers were first, over a roll, then a cork block (I think I might need a couple of these, they have just a bit more corner than the foam blocks I have) which gave a tiny bit of a massage to tight muscles as I moved my arms, then, it was to a bolster. Sylvia teaches in Sterling and Leesburg, VA. I might see if I can get to her class one Saturday. She teaches Ashtanga style, and I’ve been interested in trying that. I’ve mostly studied Anusara or Iyengar styles.

Then, I went out and tacked up Bali, and hopped on for my ride. After the usual warm up, where I keep doing the same thing of wanting more swinging back, more reaching for the bit, more round, etc, I mentioned that I was concerned that the collected walk was causing some tension, as Bali has sometimes started clacking her teeth together in collected walk. Rather than perpetuate this, I’ve abandoned it at home, and we did not work on that today, but instead, worked on lateral work. During our warmup canter Bali was anticipating lead changes, so we also skipped those and I concentrated on keeping my leg precise and not swinging unintentionally.

Shoulder in on a circle was the first exercise, followed by haunches in on the same circle. We’d started left. I had an incredibly hard time keeping her bent and her haunches in this direction. I get all mixed up in where what part goes, I weight the wrong seatbone, stretch down into the wrong leg, and essentially make it harder for poor Bali. We went the other way, and it was all happiness and ease, so we went back to the hard direction and finally got me straightened out, and got a few steps of good haunches in on the circle.

Then we worked on some medium trot. I worked on allowing her to develop the medium and feeling a difference, and then also riding it with a bit of shoulder fore. I feel like the medium is finally coming along!

We moved to half pass next. Trot a 10m circle in the corner, half pass to center line. Half halt on the outside rein, riding the shoulders up, it is an uphill movement. It felt pretty nice, and I am going to start memorizing the tests to practice some test riding. Start seeing if I can put the third level elements together. I need to go find some closing dates on schooling shows.

After all that, it was Dr. Joe Skinner for chiropractic on me. He does interesting work, and again worked on my tight lower back. I think my ride would have been nicer if that part had been before the ride also, but it was a nice way to spend a morning.


About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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2 Responses to Fun clinic – yoga, dressage and chiro

  1. Paula Roberts says:

    Funny you should mention Yoga. I used to do it years ago, and recently started it again while working on my new-to-me Percheron/Standardbred Fella. I was so crooked in the saddle and so unbalanced -half cocked forward trying to drag a behind-the-leg horse around the ring that I was regressing in training instead of progressing. It occurred to me to try some yoga ahorseback in an attempt to remember my seat and balance. I’d vaguely recalled a book on Yoga for equestrians that suggested the very same thing years ago.

    Wow: It was amazing. With my eyes closed and arms raised in Tree pose I could feel my horse! I mean his minute shifts in weight. Suddenly I could feel how hollow my lower back was too. It was pretty intense. I made up a sequence that went something like Tree, Warrior II, Triangle pose, Warrior II, Tree and did both sides, holding poses for a slow count of 10. It was pretty cool.

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