As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I have dystonia and this affects my ability to keep my head in a central position. This condition really worsened earlier this year, so I’m still learning how to work around what it’s doing to my body.
I thought I’d use this post to give an update on what I’ve tried this week with my horse riding. I’m still a bit rusty after having a break, so I’m ‘keeping it simple’.
[If you’re not interested in horses, look away now, click on to some of my other posts, or switch the television on.]
As last week, I’ve been out for a long walk around fields, but I’ve followed this up with about 20 minutes of schooling exercises (really for me, rather than the horse). I’ve done these out in a large, flat field, with an instructor as my ‘eyes on the ground’.
Left rein (my good side)
Lots of short transitions. For example, six strides of sitting trot, two of walk, then six of trot again.
Changes between sitting and rising trot.
Good canter (well it is a nice big field and it’s difficult to resist).
Right rein (my bad side, as my head is stuck round to the left)
20m circle in walk.
20m x 40m arena shapes in walk.
I did an experiment whilst doing these shapes. I tried doing them with my eyes closed. Interestingly, this improved what I was able to do, as all the other senses seemed to step up a bit to cope. I found I could really feel what the horse was doing and my legs / hands just naturally gave the correct aids. I managed to do rectangles, with fairly decent corners, for example.
Additionally, when I started to do the more focussed exercises, my neck/head position briefly straightened (wonderful!).
Next steps? I plan to take my stirrups away, as I enjoy doing this and it really helps develop a good seat.
Have a good week.
PS. I must just add a ‘Don’t try this at Home’ tag to the above. Safety should be paramount when riding.