I gave this post two tags. One is Rider Fitness. The other, Organizing Your Time at the Barn.
Or in this case, your time not at the barn.
Perhaps it is the start of show season here in the Northwest that is creating a tendency in the professionals to nag, but I have been noticing that many of you spend a great deal of time in your cars. In fact, I would say some of you spend more time in your cars than on your horses. (This is something that should be thought of as a quality of life issue!)
Given that you do this, then I have a suggestion: use this time to find and strengthen your diaphragm.
Yesterday I came home and Rick asked me about my day, “How did it go?”
I said, “Great! Sally finally found her diaphragm!”
Not a long male silence, just a pause, the hint of a grin, neatly squelched.
“Perfect. Where was it?”
There are days when he should just go straight to the creek, smoke a cigar and leave the niceties of coming home well enough alone.
But anyway, Sally drives rather a lot, and I gave her this task last week: When driving, hopefully on one of those long, boring sections that are common in Eastern Oregon and the south side of Washington State,
place your hands at the base (YES–AT THE BASE) of the steering wheel, settling your seat bones in the seat nicely, lift your chest, press upward on the wheel, downward on your elbows, downward/backward on your seat bones.
Hopefully you will locate and press out and up the place just under your rib cage in the center–the same one that should ache like crazy on your first horse, about ten minutes into the ride. That place is key to both your center and using diaphragmatic breathing to your advantage on a horse.
Frankly, I was surprised to hear how many people do long trips with hands at the 10 and 2 position. I understand this for severe traffic, drivers education, or the Indy 500, but on a long trip?
On looking for the following totally frightening picture:
I located an article that says 10 and 2 hand position is no longer advised:
For one thing steering wheels have changed design, and then, should the airbag deploy, it will hit your hands going several hundred miles an hour. And I gather, through some other unpleasant-sounding articles that nasty consequences can occur–such as “degloving” which I will not go into just now.
The consequence I am looking for is that you ride better.
Anyway, I always drive hands low on a long trip. and was surprised to hear others do not. If you spend a lot of time at something it shapes you. Give it a try.
(For more on this subject–diagrams!–please see previous post: https://dressagesnob.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/weight-aids-use-of-the-seat/)