Yes that’s a kangaroo watching me walk towards it. I noticed that I could use my Feel to get closer and closer to it on subsequent mornings.
Some of you may be tempted to ignore this walking thing as not being so important to your horsemanship.
But I suspect that would be a mistake.
What you get from this walking lesson has a HIGH impact on your riding, a HIGH impact on the physical and emotional way that your horse responds to your riding and a HIGH impact on your health.
I expect this Lesson to lead to two things:
1- Some healing in your pelvis and spine.
2- Help you to find, and start to make second nature, that effortlessly powerful posture that will have you riding like a centaur.
You can repeat this Lesson to help with some healing of your pelvis and spine if you have many layers of releasing to do with your walking (you can download the Audio Lesson file – see below).
This is one of the longer lessons of the course – around 20 minutes of healing and effective posture change to become a better rider. I think you are going to love the results! There’s also photo explanations in the written version of the audio
Click here for the alternate recording if you need it, of Feeling the walk of a good rider. This is a 21 minute audio.
Written Version of the Audio
It is sooo much easier to perfect our riding position away from our horse for at least a little while and this lesson, about getting a perfect posture while you are standing and walking gives you the opportunity to improve your riding position in every day movement.
So – welcome to walking the walk of a brilliant rider.
Listening inside ourselves – inner awareness – an awareness of what our body feels like, is a key to that short cut to being a great rider. Inner awareness allows a deeper connection with your horse, PLUS allows you to notice what is going on in your body so that you can figure out what to change.
That’s all going to become really clear as we go on.
In this standing and walking lesson I am going to help you find that place of conscious inner awareness, maybe for the first time.
Stand up for me right now – even while you are listening to this for the first time.
This whole audio is about FEELING, not about listening so don’t be shy – up you get, on your feet.
Now, take your attention to your breathing.
Notice what parts of your body are moving as you breathe.
Can you feel a movement in your chest as you breathe?
Can you feel your stomach move as you breathe?
What about your shoulders? Do you notice any up and down movement of your shoulders as you breathe?
Notice if you are breathing through your nose or your mouth.
Can you feel the feel of the air touching you inside as you pull the air in to your body?
Can you feel your heartbeat? And if you can’t feel that now, just imagine that you can…
Keep breathing and noticing everything about your breathing and as you do that, notice that listening inside yourself feeling, this inner awareness of what your body feels like.
Notice everything about this listening inside yourself feeling, this inner awareness.
Allow your attention to gently wander over your body, noticing everything about the way you feel.
Now notice the way that you are standing.
From head and neck to shoulders to back to lower back to legs and knees and feet – gently notice everything about what your body feels like and how you are standing.
Before we actually DO anything with this, I would like you to make a promise to yourself that if at any time during this moving quiet mind, that you feel a rush of yummy energy or a release, that you stop and ignore the rest of what I am saying and enjoy that feeling. Stay with it, notice everything about it, savour it, soak it in and know how special it is to enjoy everything about it.
You can always come back and do the audio again to get the other parts of your body.
Now, listening and paying attention deep inside yourself, lock your knees on purpose. Now slowly unlock them – it’s not a bend of the knee – just move them the tiniest bit into unlock and FEEL for what changes.
Now very slowly, very very slowly, lock them again and feel how crappy that feels.
Now slowly, very slowly, unlock them again and take a moment to feel whatever changes. Hmm interesting huh?
Now, keeping your attention inside yourself arch your back on purpose – notice how THAT feels to arch your back like that.
Now slide your tail bone closer to the ground and notice how that brings your back into softness.
Arch again VERY slowly and FEEL everything about that arched back. Now VERY slowly keeping all your focus on the feeling of it, slide your tail bone closer to the ground and notice everything that changes.
Notice your balance over your feet. Notice whether you are standing evenly weighted over your feet or whether you are standing more on the front of your feet or more on your heels.
This is a HUGE exaggeration of the forwards movement when you fold over, or float forwards from the crease.
Put the edge of your hands in the crease between your legs and your body. This is exaggerated on purpose this time – I want you to lean forwards over your hands, at the same time allowing your butt to stick out. Here’s a picture showing you what that looks like if I haven’t explained that well enough.
Come back upright again.
Notice the balance over your feet.
And listening inside again, noticing carefully what happens to the balance of your body over your feet, as you very slowly lean forwards again, allowing your butt to stick out.
Then very, very slowly come back up to straight again.
Now, notice everything about your shoulders, feel where they are in relation to the rest of your body.
Now hunch them forwards on purpose – come on, really hard – feel how that kind of folds you over and notice what happens to your back and your weight over your feet when you do that.
Now take your shoulders as far back as you can in the opposite way, sticking your chest out. Feel what that does to your back and the weight over your feet.
Now very, very slowly, keeping your gentle attention inside yourself, notice everything about how you feel as you very very slowly slump your shoulders on purpose. Notice how that feels.
Now very very slowly, roll your shoulders back again and very very slowly, paying gentle attention inside yourself to everything that you are feeling, slide your shoulder blades down your back.
Now slowly take your shoulders back and stick your chest out on purpose and feel everything about how THAT feels up and down your body.
The fastest way to bring THAT back to normal is to very, very slowly, feeling all the way – slide your tail bone closer to the ground and just allow the shoulders to slowly drop back into position.
Feel where your head is in relation to the rest of your body – notice everything about that.
Now slowly stick your chin out and up in the air and notice what changes in other parts of your body when you do that.
Now very very slowly, roll your chin back down again and feel what happens to the other parts of your body as you roll your chin back down into looking straight ahead.
Now slowly tuck your chin down towards your chest and look down. Notice what happens to the rest of your body when you do that.
And… very, very slowly let your eyes lift your chin up and look straight ahead – noticing the effect of that small action on the rest of your body.
Now arch your back again and walk around the room. Notice how that impacts your joints and they feel as if you are banging on them. It makes you feel like you don’t want to do that too much anymore, hey?
Now stop for a second and slide your tail bone closer to the ground and walk again. Keep your attention deep inside yourself and notice what that feels like as you walk with your tail bone closer to the ground.
Notice if there is any slight jarring, impact feeling left on your joints.
Now, just gently lift your knees a little bit higher than you are used to and notice how that feels on your joints as you walk around.
You might need to slide your tail bone a little closer to the ground as you walk with your knees a little higher.
Pay gentle attention to everything that your body is feeling as you slide your tail bone closer to the ground and lift your knees just a little higher than you need to.
Notice the flex of your pelvis as you lift your knees a little higher than you need to. Pay gentle attention deep inside you to the flex of your pelvis as you walk around and lift your knees a little higher than you are used to. FEEL everything that you feel as you are doing that.
As you lift your knees a little higher than you need to, notice the slight feeling of strength that you can feel down your core muscles – that’s a column of muscles you will probably feel most just below your solar plexus.
We’re going to talk a lot more about them when we get to the riding seat position. And if you cannot feel that strength, that tightening up of your core yet, keep your listening inside yourself feeling and notice what you have to change as you walk around the room, what do you have to change to find that automatic tightening, that AUTOMATIC strength in your core muscles.
Those of you who have good tummy muscles will have to watch out that you DO NOT tighten these muscles on purpose, because then you will not be in quite the right place.
It is an EFFORTLESS tightening that happens just because you are in the right position.
The key to finding the right place is to move very… very… slowly and allow your body the time to give you the feedback of the right place.
Maybe you need to lift your eyes up and look straight ahead, maybe it’s slide your shoulder blades closer to the floor, maybe it’s roll your shoulders back, maybe you are stiffening yourself up by trying to hold that feeling of strength (it is a constantly moving, adjusting thing) – whatever. Just stay listening inside yourself gently and explore what you need to change to find it.
Lifting your knees a little higher is a very simple, healing thing that you can do when you are walking along every day – whenever you notice any jarring, whenever you feel any impact on your joints. Just lift up your knees a little, flex your knees a little and let them take out the impact that shouldn’t be there.
You will loosen up your pelvis a little more every time you do it. And between falling off horses and having children, most of us can do with some loosening up of our pelvis and spine!
So here is your mission to improve your riding, should you choose to accept it.
Listen inside as you walk along the street or in the field or along the corridors at work and allow your back to soften by sliding your tail bone closer to the ground and explore what parts of your body need to move gently to allow you to feel that strong natural and completely effortless, automatic tightening up of your core muscles and for your body to feel like this wonderful spring – that all the angles of your body work together to produce this smooth, springing action as you walk.
And if you can find a slight slope of the ground to practise this on – a slight slope of the ground will exaggerate all the feelings – it will make the strength of your core muscles when you find the right position stronger and more easy to notice, it will make the spring bigger to feel and when you are bracing or impacting on your joints you will notice THAT more too.
Remember instead of leaning backwards a little when you walk downhill, flex and engage your pelvis and lean FORWARDS, yes I did say forwards, and lift your knees higher than you have to, until you feel the tightening in your core muscles.
And when you are going UP hill – DO NOT lean forwards – engage your pelvis, tuck it under, lift your knees and let your legs and pelvis propel you effortlessly up the hill.
For those of you who want to ride the dance, this pelvis action will have a big part to play.
Walking with this self awareness gives you a double whammy of beautiful things – not only will it make you a better, stronger and more stable rider when we add this to a position in the saddle – but it is an incredibly healing thing to do.
You can come back to this audio too, over and over again if you need to, to work out other layers of sticky spots in your pelvis and spine for even more healing at the walk.