As a reminder, I’m documenting my progress using the Ride Advanced Physio Pilates for Riders Program over this year. I met Stephanie at a clinic and have been a fan of her programs ever since! At first I thought this program was going to make a huge difference in my riding and my seat… but now I realize that it’s going to make a huge difference with a whole lot more than that. I’m excited to document the changes I see while doing the program!
Before I get into this particular blog, Stephanie and Jeanette are offering a Free live zoom class for non-subscribers to introduce you to the course. The class is Sunday May 1 at 12:30 PM PST. To RSVP please email Stephanie and RSVP (and tell her I sent you). If you were thinking of trying it out, this is a good way to do it!
Anyways…life has been a complete mess since I last posted about my Pilates journey in January. I have managed to keep doing the Pilates even through some major hurdles being thrown in my direction from the universe. I did post after that the horse show was a complete mess…things are still messy with Jax. It’s more of a mental problem for me…and a major training moment for him…but the Pilates is helping. Sometimes. HA! Let me explain.
I am noticing even more when I’m not in balance. I’m noticing crookedness (in me or in Jax) a LOT more than I used to (to the point of it being annoying). I’m noticing weaknesses and compensations in my own body. In fact, I’m noticing them all so much more that it’s hard to actually ride and train the horse sometimes, but it’s all a journey right? You can only focus on fixing one thing at a time. It’s become a big start towards me being a much better rider. Noticing pelvic tilt here, trunk rotation here, weight too shifted right here, leg drawing up here, knee grasping there…it’s just a constant state of aware adjustment…which is much better than before (I think) where I just worked on the one thing my coach was bringing my attention to for the day.
So riding is the reason why I’m doing this whole thing…but…BUT…the biggest changes I’m noticing are elsewhere. Namely my posture. I’ve always had garbage posture. Hell…my mom used to threaten to pierce my nipples and put a chain on them so she could pull my tits forward (in theory to fix my bad posture, but possibly because she thought saying something so ridiculous would embarrass me…it didn’t). Not joking…she’s actually said that more than a handful of times in my life as both a teenager and young adult.
Dressage helped my posture a bit…but not completely. Pilates is changing my posture without me even realizing it. As I sit here, I’m typing with the best desk posture I’ve ever had in my life…with no concentration or strain on it. Sure, there’s time I’m still curled up on the couch over my phone looking like a complete mess…but the fact that I have found I no longer need to force my shoulders back to not slouch is not lost on me. It’s a damned miracle. Granted…it’s taken months of work to get here…but I should have done it a long time ago (and I would have if I’d only known how easy it was to fix).
In the same vein I’m also noticing my pelvic position regularly. I’m a curvy girl with a big bum. Even when I was skinny…it was enormous (we’re talking a 4 dress size difference between top and bottom as a younger woman). I always have too much forward pelvic tilt. My lower back is often sore and always has been. However…my greater awareness and range of motion in my pelvis after all this Pilates work has actually started to change my walk when I think about it and align correctly. I have always wondered at those that don’t have that hip swaying walk…and now I see how that happens. I thought it was just build, but it’s a lot more than that. I find myself changing my pelvic tilt now while walking to see what is most comfortable in certain shoes…certain terrain…certain conditions (standing long periods vs ambling vs walking quickly). It’s been very interesting. I’m becoming perhaps a bit more…dare I say it…athletic (don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fluffy middle aged woman who could stand to lose 30 lbs like yesterday…but the difference is super noticeable to me).
Why does this matter? Pain duh! The body awareness and posture has helped me from breaking myself SO MANY TIMES. I crawl around on the floor with a 30 lb+ toddler on my back…or jumping on me…and when I used to hurt afterward, now it’s barely a notice because my supporting muscles are doing so much better a job. Ditto while working in the yard. I’ve recently been tearing up an old dog run, breaking up cement, pulling up and carrying around heavy pavers, digging out the top layer of soil by hand to remove the weeds/roots, weeding, and planting new plants. Three to six hours at a time of smashing myself into this work, I’m usually broken. This spring…I only get sore. I’m not hurting myself anymore (minus the occasional cuts which is another problem). My spine is supported by my engaged core and correct alignment due to these Pilates classes. Carrying 100 pavers across the yard…no problem. As “easy” as the Pilates classes are…the changes they’ve made to my body are astounding. I’m excited to see where I am in a few more months!
If you’re interested in making some big changes in your riding for a small financial and time investment (and by small I mean…15-20 minutes a workout…and $50 a month…quick and painless), I highly suggest you give Ride Advanced Physio Pilates for Riders Program a chance for a few months and see what it can do for your riding and your general health and body awareness. And don’t forget to sign up for that free Zoom course to check it out yourself! The class is Sunday May 1 at 12:30 PM PST. To RSVP please email Stephanie and RSVP!