Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 6

This week’s riding has been good. On the downside, I think that the limited effect of my first round of botox injections is now starting to wear off, as my dystonic neck is becoming more twisted. On the upside, I think I am still managing to make small improvements in how I’m riding.

This week, my regular instructor was back.

Aspire Equestrian kindly supplied some tips regarding visualisation i.e. trying to reduce my reliance on sight. This, I know, seems a bit odd. But as my head, generally, does not point in the direction I want to go, it’s not as crazy as it sounds! The plan this week was to make a start on doing this.

I like working out in the fields, as I don’t have people staring at me (so I feel more relaxed), but I think if I’m going to get my body working more independently of my sight, I’m going to have to do more, back in the school. I may actually try ‘mapping’ the arena in terms of the number of walk, trot and canter strides it takes to go along the long and short sides, for example. That way, I’ll get my brain focussed on counting steps and I won’t be second guessing when a corner is coming. I just need to combine this with riding circles with my eyes shut and I’ll be heading for the Olympic team! Also, I think if I’m in a defined space, I’ll be clear about the exact feel that a 20m circle needs to have, for example.

I need to give this some more thought. And some more practise.

Today’s successes:
Managed some good, clean quarter turns on the forehand.
Managed about six, not very correct, steps of leg yield. I find this really hard, but it’s up on last week’s one stride!
Walk to canter. No problem.
Right rein canter (in the school). As usual, my head lined up beautifully with Tosca as we came off the corners. Bizarrely, when my head does this, I think that my head position is actually better than it was before I became ill – I’m more aligned to the horse’s bend. Very strange.

I am now toying with the idea of doing a simple Walk/Trot test (my school runs regular competitions) but I’m a bit frightened what this might do to my confidence, if it’s a disaster.

Have a good week and don’t forget to wear a riding hat.

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About Dystonia Girl

Horse rider who loves to blog and do lots of other things too. Lives with, but is not defined by, a rare neurological condition called Dystonia.
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