Some days you ride and finish physically exhausted, on this training day, I finished mentally exhausted. British Dressage Central Region organised a training day at Croft Equestrian Center, near Reading with The Balanced Rider and Centaur Biomechanics and I was delighted to take Jack along. My aunt had attended a Centaur Biomechanics lesson previously so I had an idea of what it was about but I underestimated what kind of impact it would have on me.
I arrived and Jack was a little on edge. Croft Equestrian Centre is a beautiful venue with an indoor and outdoor arena and stunning paddocks, but also two resident dogs sporting super cool coats. Jack couldn’t quite get his head around the dogs in jackets though at first. He settled quickly in the outdoor and I managed to keep my head…. while all about me…… sorry, reminds me of a poem! 9.45am came and it was my turn in the indoor with Russell Quire of Centaur Biomechanics.
I felt a little diva-ish when Russell suggested I put on one of his special ‘Visualise Training Jackets‘ and I responded “actually I have my own”, but, thankfully he laughed! Mother had bought one for me a couple of years ago, in GB colours, as a Christmas present when I asked for things to make me a better rider.
H.e also added a couple of stickers to the back of my saddle and on Jack’s back and then sent me off to have a trot around. I tried to block out the fact that I was being videoed to then be analysed but it’s harder than I thought. Literally there to be judged on my riding was a scary situation. Russell asked me to trot and canter along the 3/4 line and on a circle whilst he videoed. I then had a look at the video screen in the corner and was asked what I thought.
I was pleasantly surprised! I am actually quite straight in my seat, I needed to sit up more but then I think that is a lot to do with confidence as much as physical ability. Russell then had me walk down the centreline and close my eyes. It was a disarming feeling. When I opened my eyes, I was still fairly central. Russell said that if someone is very off balance the horse will migrate across and as you can’t see, you can’t correct as you normally, perhaps unconsciously do. Really interesting.
Russell then made corrections to my position. Putting my stirrups down a hole. Thinking of my pelvis like a bowl of water and tipping it back “so the water stops pouring out the front”, then shoulders back, lift hands a little, engage core.
I have been told to sit up so many times but actually if you just sit up, you can create an unnatural arch in your back. You need to straighten from the pelvis and all the way up. I instantly felt better and noticeably more stable. As I finished Russell said “Well done” and then went in to say “You are a lovely rider. You just need to sort that head of yours.” He may not have thought much of that at the time but it has really meant a lot to me. My mother said “well, I say that all the time.” However, it means a lot more coming from someone who isn’t your mother! Do you find that?
I then, slipped on some trackies and headed inside to have a session with Cara and Leanne from The Balanced Rider. First, I sat in the Flexchair UK. Looking at the screen you can see how you are sat and then had to guide a little dot around various patterns to look at flexibility and stability in the hips.
And then Cara had a look at me. She put me through my paces and soon had me balancing on a wobble board and catching a ball, holding a plank shape on a ball and prodded me a bit. Again, I was pleasantly surprised how balanced and undamaged I was considering everything that has happened in recent years but Cara instantly pin pointed some key areas to work on. I had to giggle though when she talked about the boney bits in my bottom – I definitely don’t have those! I have actually got my exercise ball out of the loft and will be continuing at home. She is also based at Wellington Riding in the Equine Rebalance Therapy Centre – i didn’t even know there was one, so I may be dropping in for another session.
The Balanced Rider team were good fun, as well as seriously knowing their stuff, so we had a giggle too as can be seen by this picture demonstrating a busy mum’s life….. #multitasking
A great day and definitely something I would recommend if the opportunity arises.