Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pushing A Shopping Cart

When in training whether it's one disipline or another in equestrain sports, or any other 'thing' one would train for that required learning a new skill we often use analogies that are familiar to us.  For example -

I'm trotting around on Rosie, I'm listening to my trainer throw out tidbits
Shoulders back
More outside rein
Give the inside rein
 -- THERE! feel that?!?  You're round - now let's get through --

Shoulders back and down
Elbows tied to your ribs
Push your heel through the center of Earth
Marshmellow butt
Push a shopping cart with your hands

KABAM!!!  I've NEVER felt such lifting in the shoulders, balanced, forward implusion from behind, zero weight in my hands from any horse I've ever ridden. 

I love that analogy "Push a shopping cart" - it's something we all know how to do, it's muscle memory already.  We just need to train our brain to push instead of resist or block.  I have always struggled to keep my hands steady in Dressage.  I believe this "push a shopping cart" is the missing piece, assuming one can keep all the other pieces in place.   I'm still setting the boundry but with almost no resistance from me (with the exception of my rein length, I don't give that up) my hands became completely steady and I had 2000 pounds of soft, bendy, pony between my legs.  It's one of those feelings that you strive for and when you achieve it you have to smile big and give a big ole "whoo hooo!"

The whole "marshmellow butt" thing - relax your gluteus maximus muscle to warmish marshmellow mushy, sticky state and ride from your core.  This does two things - 1 - you miraculously stop bouncing around like a fish out of water in the saddle, and - 2 - the horse lifts it's core to meet your seat since there is no resistance from you there.

What are some analogies you or your trainer uses to help you "get it" ?


  1. My trainer makes us do this exercise where we hold on to a kettle ball while we're riding. It forces us to use our core and not fuss with our hands. It means when you turn the ball, your body will follow. Now she just says "Remember your ball!" and we all know what she's talking about.

    I love push the shopping cart! I'm going to use that on my next ride!!

  2. Good analogy. Our trainer always said, "following hands, not resisting/holding hands."


  3. I love the push with the shopping cart! I will use that whenever I finally get to ride Shy.
    My old trainer always said sit on your back pockets. . .I have a tendency to hunch forward.

  4. I like those analogies, make great sense!

  5. can't remember much at the moment but elastic arms is one

  6. I think this is very similar to what my instructor says, which is to pretend that the reins are sticks and that I am pushing the bit with them. My consistency of contact always improves dramatically when she says that.


Happy Trails!