Do you spend large amounts of time in a car, bus or train?
Have you had a jerky commute and felt it in your muscles?
Do you want a body that has less strain as it ages and allows riding horses late into your life?
If you answered yes to any of these questions these exercises may help you. Bringing awareness to self carriage not only will improve your riding ability and feel but also longevity of lifestyle and overall balance. Below is how you can reduce your frustration and improve your balance all at the same time!
1. Bus/Train forward/backward facing seats
When the bus or train moves forward you maintain an upright body with even pressure on the center of your 2 sit bones. This should engage your abdominal core to resist to be thrown backwards or forwards.
1. Feet flat on the floor. This may mean you will need to sit away from the back of the seat.
2. Straight back. Whether you are against the seat or not. Shoulders and elbows feeling heavy or pulled down to ground this position.
3. Locate your 2 sitting bones. One in left buttock and one in right buttock.
4. Maintain equal pressure. Try to not let the train/bus fling your upper body backwards when it takes off and forwards when it stops.
Extra challenge: Sit away from the back of the seat and try to do the same steps.
This will strengthen your ability to not get left behind when your horse takes off and to not fall forward if he suddenly stops.
2. Sideways bus/train seat
Maintain even pressure from right and left seat bones. Control upper body not allowing it to shift left or right.
1. Repeat steps 1-3 from above.
2. Maintain equal pressure on both seat bones. Work to not let the stop and go of the train/bus to cause you to loose 1 seat bone.
This is done by lengthening the portion from ribs to pelvis on the side you need to maintain pressure on. The seat bone that wants to lift, draw that shoulderblade down more when working to keep it.
Extra challenge: Keep your back from resting on the back of the seat.
Extra challenge: Try the other side of the train/bus as it can make it easier/harder to keep both even depending on which seat bone needs to be maintained when going or stopping.
This will help when a horse suddenly dives in for you to get back in the middle. It will improve your ability to have length in your obliques to help with turns and the straightness of yourself and horse.
3. Standing on bus or train
To remain standing with very little effort from muscles turning any movements the transport may make. This means you don't have to move feet to catch your balance.
1. Get into a stance that would be slightly wider than hips distance. I find being sideways to the direction of movement is easier to start.
2. Stand close enough to grab onto something if you are unable to maintain balance 100% of the time.
3. Keep a soft bend in your knees for ease of following the motion. If you can anticipate the motion this does help to follow easier.
4. Breathing throughout your ribs to the sides, front and back can make the engagement of your core help stabilize you. Same as you need to ride!
5. Weight on bottom of shoulders and elbows. This will help upper torso be grounded to less likely tip over.
Extra challenge: Keep legs hip distance apart to gain greater control of core and stability.
The more you become aware of your daily self carriage the easier to maintain a balance and posture that helps your horse work with you instead of against you. For those of us who are older, it will increase longevity of your life and/or comfort for the remaining time! :)
Enjoy trying these out and let me know how it works for you!!