See, I did take heed of whoever's recommendation it was to "unwonky" myself with a simulator session at Ashen EC (http://www.ashenec.co.uk/3.html
I managed to persuade Kerilli, meardsall_millie and BeckyD to keep me company and then promptly bullied poor BeckyD into going first, possibly due to her mentioning she'd had a go on the simulator at YHL, therefore being our team expert.
The upside of that, from her point of view, was that I was so busy trying to get photos I forgot to get any video, although obviously she was fantastic (you have to take my word for that), needed only a couple of little tweaks and set the bar that high that the rest of us were seriously worried about how we were going to fare by comparison.
Here she is after Becky (our simulator trainer) had tweaked her back, thigh and ankle position:
Looks good, huh, despite saying how odd it felt and not having had the simulator move out of halt yet.
Sickeningly BeckyD managed to maintain the same corrected position in walk, trot and canter and it appeared that trainer Becky giving two or three things to keep uppermost in your mind worked a treat.
At the same time as all this was going on there was information being charted/graphed re your weight distribution - front to back and left to right, as well as your up/down plane, weight distribution down the rein and what is noted as "drive", but we thought translated better as "consistency" . You could watch this on a screen in a before and after way, as well as having the printout afterwards for each pace. Add to that a mirror in front, a mirror to the side, Becky's training and the input
of the other three of us, you can probably see what a great learning experience it was albeit with some information overload at times....or was that just me?
I'm probably not explaining some of this very well but hopefully K, m_m and BeckyD will add the bits I've missed or explained badly, and it's probably better if I just link you to the vids of each of the rest of us so you can see the difference in all of us.
Next up was Kerilli, who will explain her pelvic problems to you (ooh err missus
) and who left the rest of us marvelling at how she manages to ride at all with such pain and discomfort; let's hope Becky's recommendation for a "bodyworker" can help K in this respect. What I found fascinating was how defensive riding can affect your position so much, and how a small adjustment to K's position could make such a massive difference to how "at one" she looked with the horse, I mean simulator.
I loved the "stack your buttons" mantra:
And then it was meardsall_millie's turn - see how cunning and bossy I was to make sure I was last to go,
although that just served to make me more worried and nervous about how bad I was going to be.
m_m always sits so well, beautifully upright, but uh oh, Becky's assessment and prodding and poking pointed out that actually
she needs to almost round her shoulders yet roll her arms back, cover the back half of her armpits. Yes, I know it sounds odd and watching m_m put into position had me wincing at how difficult it looked to make the correction, but wow at the difference:
Halt and walk:
Looks tricky, doesn't it?
Becky liked that the design on the back pockets of m_m's breeches meant that she could see if she's straight from the back, that could be useful to anyone on here who teaches so I'll be sitting at the end of the arena in the future, bellowing at everyone to ride down the centre line away from me in a straight line.
Last up was yours truly, who spewed out her list of excuses a mile long including fractures, the big C thing, just to see if I could get an easy ride, so to speak.
I was shocked enough to look in the mirror in front and see that my right shoulder (my bad side) was about 4 inches higher than the left, and even after a clothing adjustment - as obviously it could have been the neckline of my jumper making it appear that I was hugely wonky
- I was still odd-looking. It's very weird when you make the correction, mine involved softening my ribs on that side which let my shoulder and arm drop down, all well and good until the simulator moved into walk.
I had to concentrate so hard on the mirror to keep that side level that I couldn't even shift my gaze to the pooter read-out, so only got to look at the detail of that afterwards. I was heartened to hear Becky get very excited at the improvement at one point, but how on earth I'm going to manage that on Jupiter when he starts his ducking, diving and the left/right game, heaven only knows. It is literally like patting your head and rubbing your tummy times 100, but what a difference when you can do it, or start to be able to do it in my case.
To summarise I think we all felt it was a great learning experience, moreso with it being a group of us so we could learn from each other. Becky's input was educational, fascinating and insightful, through her knowledge, experience, anecdotes and refreshingly engaging manner whilst putting this across, so huge thanks to her for such a great afternoon. I'm sure I'll have missed lots out but the rest of the HHO posse can fill in the gaps, or answer any questions you have. My brain is officially full after an inspirational dressage lesson on Friday and equally inspirational jumping lesson today, so I can only manage words of one syllable.
However, I do have homemade flapjack and builders' tea if you've made it this far, help yourselves.