Updated: Oct 8, 2020
If your dreams don't make you want to spur your pony a little faster, and lengthen your stride a little bit longer, then what on earth are you doing it for? - K.R.
How to do:
1. From campfire, ground down & reach up
2. Evenly seat bottom on ground
3. Lift out of the hip past top of the head
4.Breath into all the spaces between ribs
Fall to the side and crunch ribs
Forget to support your core & chest
Let your focus fall downward
Don't let the arms relax, be lazy
This stretch can be optimized to serve the circulating 3 layers of 11 pairs of muscles interlaced within 12 ribs on one side. Releasing lateral tension down the side of our body can help mobilize the ribs and spine, low back and hips. The side body can house so much undetected tension since we rely on it to stop and turn our horse. The repetitive movements of sometimes even forcefully trying to maneuver our horses can lock up muscles and fascia that should normally glide along smoothly. We can't really see these muscles, but we definitely feel them and definitely use them! This reminds us to keep 'scanning' our body for tension/pain/lack of mobility/asymmetry/alignment. Since the ribs/side body takes up half our body, there is a good chance that many of these trouble spots could be present. Much of our posture, balance, mobility and stabilization comes from our torso/core and side body. Adding in this stretch is essential for riders.
Ride and Apply:
This posture only resembles what it looks like to "over-under" your horse. I don't necessarily think this is how we should urge our horse on, it is just to help us remember the movement's name. However, the practicality of what the stretch adds to the quality of our riding is present. When we are in the saddle asking our horse to stop, usually there is a weight and posture shift that comes from our core/torso/side body. As we do this, our body accommodates in a few ways. Our breathing changes so our ribs have to accommodate our lungs. Our posture changes so our ribs have to accommodate a weight shift. When we ask for a turn there is a posture and mobility shift. Our posture changes so our ribs have to become separate from our hips. Our mobility changes so our torso has to accommodate the rest of our bodies adjustment. When we scan for tension, it allows us to break down the motion into a micro movements and with adjustments, we can create better quality of movement.
In the saddle, try to take inventory of how your body feels in slow basic movements. Test stopping from a walk and trot. Test turning on the haunches and in small barrel sized circles. Is there any place with your increased awareness from exercising in Winning Warm-UPS that something feels like it hits a 'wall of tension' or feels restricted to one side? Even if you can't feel pain doing these things, take some time to evaluate the same movements via video. Sometimes visual feedback can also help us make an adjustment.