Collapsing The Ribcage

You’re not alone.

Of course.

No one comes into riding with a perfectly symmetrically aligned body.  Just like the horse, we have a softer and a stiffer side.  Not necessarily related to right or left-handedness.

There, sounds better just saying it out loud, doesn’t it?  We are all a work in progress.

staying upright

My friend Helena came out while I was riding Gandolf – I got a snippet of film in trot and canter.  I rarely really get to see what’s actually happening, but yep, left side of the ribcage still collapses in a little on me when going in that direction.
Collapsing the ribcage to the left

This was SO valuable to see!  (Thank you thank you thank you Helena!)  Thinking this is a part of the struggle with my young mare – helping her straighten up her inside shoulder is not going to happen if I’m weighting it at the same time!

Still in canter, better here:

Apple Butt Gandolf
Apple Butt Gandolf :-*

Now, need to figure out how to level the torso without any visuals or help from the ground.  A shish kabob stick lined up there should do the trick.  Bit dangerous during bucking though.

Also helpful was seeing how Gandolf swings his haunches out on the circle.  Instead of “yielding his withers” for the inside leg, he just sort of slides the hind out.  I feel it, of course, but seeing it in motion was great.

swinging haunches

Next scheme, bribing my youngest to film at least twice during summer break.  Thought about using a twitch on him, but then he gets so noisy and just starts to shake the phone.  Bribe will have to do.

6 thoughts on “Collapsing The Ribcage

  1. It’s more a question of feeling where your body parts are than monitoring your every movement in a mirror. Try this–stand in front of a mirror with your eyes closed. Position your shoulders and ribcage so you think they are absolutely even and straight. Open your eyes and check. If they’re not even, put them there, then close your eyes again and feel that position. It will probably feel “wrong”. Not to worry. Move your shoulders and ribcage around again with your eyes still closed and then position them where you think they should be. Open and check the mirror. Keep doing this for a couple of minutes every day until you know by feel that you are correct and even. It’s usually just a matter of a fraction of an inch to correct the position, but that fraction makes all the difference!

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    1. This!
      Will do 🙂 Sounds very Mary Wanless in a way – who I admire.
      Now, just have to accept the fact of having to spend time staring into the closet mirror, it’s so discouraging haha 😉

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  2. I think you will find having video will be a tremendous training aid for you. My daughters use a lot of video to see what they are doing on the saddle and how their horses are doing as well, and if they need make adjustments to their seat, alignment, and hands. They feel it is much better than mirror work in a training arena. And, the exercise Alli describes in her comment above is a perfect ground exercise to do with yourself before heading out to train.

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    1. I loved Alli’s advice too – have to try!

      I’ve struggled with the whole video thing. It just never seems to happen. But, with some luck, my sons will take some for me (Hey, just two snippets of around 3 minutes each is plenty!) during their summer break. My own attempts have been really measly, but then again, we’re talking about someone who doesn’t even own a selfie stick…

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      1. I think you can persuade your sons to do more than 3 minutes apiece for mom … it may require a bribe, like their own private stash of cookies where sharing is optional. The past couple of years, I’ve shot a lot of video and stills of my daughters in their practices and competitions. They’ve been able to see things they would not have normally seen. It’s allowed them to better understand what their instructor is telling them in making minor adjustments.

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        1. I sure hope so – but their patient limit seems to be 3-4 minutes 😉 Sigh 🙂 Their excitement about their mom’s riding is about the same as a teenage girls excitement to spend 5 hours combined in the car and then standing in a grimy dark autoshop. (I know this becaus I’ve been there… )
          OK, now hoping for some video next month!

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