Soapy bones all day every day
This is another of those Lessons which should have drum rolls and bells and whistles around it. 🙂
We have already talked about the fact that bracing in our bodies makes it difficult, if not impossible, for our horse to have complete freedom of movement in their bodies.
You can ride and ride well using your stomach muscles for strength – and most people do – but when your skeleton is in alignment on a horse and all your joints are available for movement then the stability in your riding position is effortless and your horse absolutely loves the freedom of their movement that comes from that.
And that freedom of movement is what riders are looking for in all kinds of disciplines. Whether it’s for the power of the dance in dressage. Or your horse’s ability to carry you effortlessly on the trail or over longer distances for endurance. Or in the freedom of movement that is required for the athleticism of jumping or the leaping and diving of a cutting horse or a campdrafter and the poetry that is good reining.
This Lesson will help you ride that beautiful freedom of movement in your horse.
Click here for your alternate recording if you need it. (To download, right click and save.)
Written Version of the Audio
For those of you who want to be really good riders and have the confidence that comes from being a really good rider, I cannot stress enough the importance of practicing this lesson.
What I am suggesting that you do, is decide to have soapy bones all day, every day, no matter what you are doing – walking, sitting or working – so that when you are on a horse, that way of being is already automatic.
Soapy bones is Peggy Cummings name for when a rider’s skeleton has all the joints softly available for movement and even if it wasn’t such a huge key to being a brilliant rider, it is SUCH a healthy thing to do for your skeleton anyway.
With just a little bit of practice that is so worth it, you can get soapy bones by listening inside yourself and scanning your body from head to toes, imagining that every joint can move freely and easily.
Check every joint from your jaw, the atlas bone that holds up your skull, all the way down your spine, all the possible flexion angles of your pelvis, down your legs, your knees, ankles and even each toe joint. You don’t actually move the joints – you just imagine that you can.
When I said this is a healthy thing to do for your skeleton, that was one of my dry Aussie understatements.
For those who have damaged their bodies in falls and accidents or even the tightnesses that come from old emotional upsets – whatever the cause, these stuck spots will gradually change and you will get more and more flexibility in your spine and the rest of your skeleton – that will wow you as to how good it feels.
Your first few scans will probably be deliberately detailed and take a minute or two. But after you have practised this a few times, you can use your inner awareness of your body, your listening inside yourself to just go for the FEEL of the soapy bones rather than doing the whole scan.
And from there it is a just a step to living with your skeleton in this happy place.
And when you live with your skeleton in this happy place, it is automatic to have it when you are on your horse – it will be second nature and easy. And oh my goodness, your horse will love you for it!
So right now, yes right now, sitting at the computer, listen inside yourself. Go into that place of inner awareness by noticing your breathing, or noticing your heartbeat or noticing the energy moving through your body – whichever or whatever works best for you to draw you deep inside yourself.
Just do a quick scan of your body and notice how you feel right now…
Now scan your body again starting at your jaw. Imagine that your jaw hinge could flex in all different directions, softly and easily. Notice how that feels.
Now the atlas bone – the spinal bone that your head rests on, just imagine that it could move up and down and swivel from side to side – moving through all the planes and angles that are available to it.
Now work your way down your spine, checking each spinal bone, imagining that each of them can flex through their full range of movement.
You are not moving your bones – you are imagining that they can move – which makes them available for movement.
As you work your way down your spine, through your pelvis and legs and knees and ankles and toes – keep listening inside yourself doing that.
Feel the flush of energy, notice all the tiny sensations that are the movement of energy around your body. Um…mmmm
And when you have worked your way down to your toes – come back up your body to your shoulders and work your way down your arms to every joint in your fingers too.
Put your fingers gently on the edge of your desk in front of you and imagine that all the joints in your fingers could move. Listening inside yourself. Wow, can you feel the energy of that?
Now hold your hands as if you are holding reins, elbows gently falling beside your body and just imagine that every joint in your hands and arms and shoulders could move, smoothly and easily.
You can ride and ride well using your stomach muscles for strength – and most people do – but when your skeleton is in alignment on a horse and all your joints are available for movement then the stability in your riding position is effortless and your horse absolutely loves it!
So go have some fun practicing this every day – all day, everywhere you go, just noticing that all the bones in your body are available for movement.
If you’re riding every day and you’re happy about that, then slide for those of you who are riding their horse. This lesson enables you to take your new seat out to your horse in a baby step that is very powerful for positive change.