Let’s face it, we all have postural habits or compensation patterns that we wish we didn’t. Some of us have super tight hips, some have frozen, or partially frozen shoulders, some bad knees, an unwanted twist in our torso, a scoliosis, an old broken ankle..and the list goes on. And we use these excuses to affect our riding, we say , oh I can’t do that because of x, y and z..
What if we didn’t let these habits/patterns stop us? What if we delved into understanding how they are limiting our best possible “use” and we discover a way to work with, or better yet even change that pattern or habit.
When I was in my mid 20’s I was in practically constant back pain. At the time I was Three Day Eventing and driving many miles from my upstate NY home, to Massachusetts, Conn, and Pennsylvania to compete. My best friend, who I competed and traveled with had a Dad who was training to become an Alexander Technique Teacher, and she mentioned that he might be able to help me. I was living on a bartender’s wages and could not afford much and he was still in school, a 3 yr 1600 hour program, and not able to charge till he graduated, so I said yes!
I will not go into too much detail here but that decision was one of the best and most pivotal decisions of my life. Not only did working with Wade Alexander get me out of pain but it began my journey to revolutionizing my life and my riding. Even though I had a “condition” a spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, it was not my “condition” that was causing me pain but rather how I was affecting that condition by my poor postural habits.
What Wade did for me was to teach me FM Alexander’s Discovery, which mainly consists of learning about the relationship of one’s head, neck and spine in activity. This may sound very simple and in some ways it is but the end result is increased awareness of how my body works and therefore the beginning of my discoveries of how my body is affecting my horse.
Whether we like it or not we carry our habits into all of our activities, and they are often the most pronounced in the activity we are the most passionate about.
So what if by delving into a process of self discovery we could actually better understand why our horse is always stiffer going left, or falls in on a circle right , or can’t seem to take the left lead consistently, or locks his jaw against my right hand, or just runs through my aids, and as mentioned before , the list goes on and on..
Could we be the cause of some of these behaviors? Perhaps..
Years later, in my mid 40’s I became trained as an Alexander Technique teacher and these days my passion is to help Equestrians gain knowledge of the many ways they are affecting the best possible performance and relationship with their equine partners.
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