Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Star-fishing: the engaging phenomena of physicality that exudes maximum effort from the rider for minimal results on the horse. Still somehow necessary for running barrels.
How to do:
1. From down alley release legs outward
2. Evenly seat bottom on ground
3. Make even contact through whole leg
4.Sit up in Squash and hinge forward from hips with a straight back
How to do:
Neglect the back and core
Pop knees off ground
Forget to breath
Stretch the arms more than legs
The most simple stretches are where we can find the opportunity to go for a deeper stretch with more quality This back of the leg stretch is one of the most applicable poses for riders. We are constantly activating the back of our legs when we ride, either to stop our horse, move him over or ask for an isolation. Our bodies love when we give some dynamic movement in muscle moving patterns. If we are so used to contracting the muscles in the backs of our legs, then it's a good idea to "even out" the gesture by extending the muscles too. It is really common to try to tense and protect yourself where you don't feel flexible; try to avoid this. Breathing into the tension a few seconds at a time, with frequent breaks and reattempts will help you achieve a functional position to actually hold the stretch in. You can scan your body and see if there is an area that feels tighter than the other and focus more time and breathing into the stretching of that area. Remember the key is to find a place where it feels relatively comfortable to be in the stretch, because that means the muscles are releasing.
Ride and Apply:
This posture only resembles what it looks like to "star-fish" your horse. I don't necessarily think we should go out of our way to train our body to ride our horse this way. But this comical and all too common slang for the maneuver of hustling our horse to the barrels, is a good way to remember that we still need to pay attention to stretching the inner part of our legs. Keep in mind that even through the basic series of stretching we aren't just sitting there - we are circulating blood flow. Blood flow + oxygenated tissue = healing/mobility/flexibility. Our muscle networks are so interconnected and complex; when we stretch one part, more than one part will benefit.
In the continued effort to make our riding better, and our mounting easier (for us and the horse) we should just keep stretching. Find a way to make a consistent habit out of paying attention to your body and making a point to help it heal and get better. Doing these habits beyond the scope of race day alone is beneficial. You will feel better and ride better when your body is more evenly circulated.