Updated: Oct 12, 2020
If you are going to be lazy...at least be effective!
1. From Puddle Pony, gently roll to side
2. Evenly stack shoulders, hips and knees
3. Activate core to support back
4. Activate straight legs and lift into air
1. Torque lower back when you roll
2. Tense neck and let shoulders fall
3. Rock back and forward on hips
4. Sloppily pump legs
This is the pose we will remain stabilized as we lift our legs to the side. Using our arms and core to connect to the ground, we gain endurance. Our working leg comes up and lowers down with control, which activates the muscles in the glute and hips. Using our hips to lift away from our feet, not just lifting from the knees or ankles, we test the strength and mobility of the back of our legs and glutes. This active pose causes our core to remain awake and aware during the repetitions of our leg coming up and down. We should try to keep our body stacked upright and perpendicular to the ground. Doing fewer repetitions with quality is better than sloppily flapping the upper leg and twisting the lower back and letting the shoulder fall. This exercise requires a lot of coordination, along with a good isolation for 'hind end' strength.
Ride and Apply:
When we ride, leg activation and isolation is so important. The more we can articulate control from the top of our hips to the bottom of our pinky toe, the better and more clear our cues will be. This allows our body to have a heightened awareness of working from the inside out as well. Sometimes when we correct a movement in a horse, or try to set him up in a frame, we can jerk him around with out intentionally meaning to. But if we are able to sit stable, balanced and wait as we ask in cue, with a little pressure climbing to a more concentrated pressure, we are giving the horse more opportunity to respond with his dignity still intact. We never want to wrestle a horse into a frame, or aggressively correct a wrong move because it disintegrates his trust in us and makes him confused.
If you have a mirror to do this next to, evaluate that your hips are over each other. You can do 10 lifts, or pretend to trace the barrel pattern a few times. You can also just hold the leg in the air about 10 inches off the ankle on the ground and feel the activation in the side of the leg. To adjust the difficulty you can do more repetitions, hold the leg higher or lower, or begin to lift up the bottom leg to meet the top leg. For fun you can actually try to watch TV while you do it, which might trick you into more reps!