Christy Peterson (PRC) and I gave a riding clinic April 6 and 7 at her facility (Riverside Physical Therapy) in Ord, Nebraska. This was an ideal setting, because Christy’s facility is located on her farm which has an outdoor arena for riding. Participants trailered their horses in from the surrounding area. All were competitive riders (mix of Western and English disciplines), some of whom were competing at the World level.
After PRI evaluation and treatment, followed by some PRI-based exercises designed specifically for riders, each rider saddled up! They were tasked with integrating what they learned off-horse to on-horse…challenging but powerfully effective. Riders must be able to move their seat, arms/hands, and legs independently of each other in order to guide and lead the horse successfully and perform well. This requires extraordinary body awareness, subtle controlled movements, and centering to the ground (not the horse) atop a powerful animal that has its own asymmetries. Riding is a complex sport and often referred to as an artform.
It has been my experience over the past 3 years that many of the cues traditionally used by riding trainers are misinterpreted by riders and promote an extension pattern. I cringe when I hear these particular cues: “sit tall”, “chest up”, “shoulders back”. Interestingly, a term that both Christy and I use to highlight and promote flexion for riders is the word “collection”. Riders know and understand this term, because it is used to describe a state of posture and movement of the horse. “Collection”: moving back to front; getting hind legs under the belly for powerful movement, balance, and control; top line of the horse lengthened and bottom line shortened. So, when we get a rider into an All-Fours position, a 90-90 Hip Lift, or a Supported Standing Wall Reach and ask them to “collect”, they will instinctively reach their knees forward with a posterior tilt of the pelvis to “move from behind” and activate their hamstrings. Pretty cool! It is also a helpful cue for the seated posture of riders in their saddles…lumbopelvic flexion with the front of the hips open.
Christy and I both learned from working with each other, and the participants seemed to appreciate the dual point of views. We are in the process of planning more clinics, since we had such a positive response. Each participant received an individualized 2-hour session with both Christy and I.
I hope to extend these types of clinics across the country…beginning with NE, MD, VA, PA, NC. If you are interested in hosting one of these types of clinics, please contact me at Lilla@MovementControlSpecialists.com or visit www.EmpoweredRider.com.
Posted by Lilla Marhefka (PRT).