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Posts Tagged ‘centering exercises’

CoGCoE

The horse’s center of gravity is indicated by the clear circle. His center of energy and control is shown by the black circle.

As we ride, we hear a lot about getting our horses “off their forehands” or “off their shoulders”—and most of us engage in any number of schooling figures and half-halts with just this goal in mind. But without an inner sense of what it is we are doing for our horses when we shift the balance, playing with that center of gravity and center of energy and control, it’s all just circles and walk-halt-walk transitions. Here’s a quick and easy exercise from Sally Swift’s CENTERED RIDING 2: FURTHER EXPLORATION, to really hit the message home.

The horse’s center of gravity is the balance point of his body, and it is located in the girth area. His center of control and energy, however, is below his spine at the back of his loin, just below the lumbosacral joint. Similarly, our center of control and energy is in our lower back, just in front of our lumbosacral joint. Because we stand vertically, in contrast to the horizontal horse, our center of gravity is not near our shoulder blades but rather is in the same area as our center of control and energy. As a result, when we put our center of gravity over our feet for balance, we also find our center of control and energy in the same spot.

The location of the center of gravity in both rider and horse changes at times. When you are startled or frightened your center of gravity rises above its desired depth, as it does in times of tension, or apprehension. In either case it makes you less grounded. The center of gravity of a startled or actively engaged horse moves slightly back as he tips his pelvis down to bring his hind feet more nearly under his center of gravity.

You can get a sense of center of gravity vs. center of energy and control from the horse’s viewpoint with this short exercise:

1  Get down on your hands and knees. Find a balance with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hip joints.

2  Gently engage your center, and allowing your hip joints to slightly close and open, rock back a tiny bit and then back again to balance. Notice how this pelvic rocking motion tends to fill your lower back across the loin. This puts you in a position for balanced, fluid, forward motion.

3  Notice that your shoulders are also part of the rocking motion and since they are not carrying a lot of weight, they are free for forward movement. Shift your balance forward, putting your weight on your shoulders and hands, and you will no longer be able to move forward; your hands will seem to be stuck to the ground. This is how your horse feels when he is too much on his forehand.

 

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For more riding insight from the legendary Sally Swift, check out CENTERED RIDING 2: FURTHER EXPLORATION, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs, is a small, privately owned company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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Are you ready to live YOUR dream? A three-day women's retreat--with horses!--could be just what you need to start Your Life: Part Two.

TSB author Melinda Folse says that just about the time we blow out that midlife birthday candle, a little classic questioning begins:

What about all those things I always thought I would get to do “someday”?

Is it my turn yet? Is it “someday” now?

If not now, when? And if now, how?

Melinda, author of THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES, says that at midlife, “someday” is ours to name, and whatever old dreams that may have gathered dust on the back shelves of busy lives need only a breath of fresh clarity to find new and meaningful expression. With this in mind, and with the knowledge that horses can provide the link from the “here and now” to what’s just around the bend, as well as provide a healthy base from which friendship and kinship can blossom, Melinda has organized a fabulous new three-day women’s retreat at the luxurious Wildcatter Ranch Resort and Spa in Graham, Texas. This long weekend, April 13 thru the 15, offers a special opportunity to pull those dusty dreams of yours off the shelf and take another look. It will help spur new decisions to bring the unbridled joy of living your dream, whatever it may be, in what you’ll come to think of as Your Life: Part Two.

Make plans now to join a limited number of women invited to a pivotal weekend of renewing, reconnecting with, and revitalizing your goals for continued self-growth and limitless self-confidence. The Dust Off Your Dreams Retreat features a series of mini workshops, including:

Building self-awareness, confidence, and courage through equine-assisted learning (no horse experience required!)

Gaining clarity and direction through guided journaling, meditation, and centering exercises.

Increasing body awareness, strength, and flexibility through Pilates.

Improving your relationships in business and with friends and family through horses.

This life-changing weekend at the fabulous Wildcatter Ranch Resort and Spa will bring:

Clarity regarding which dreams are really yours, and which dreams you really want to pursue.

Confidence to remove the obstacles that keep getting in the way.

Concrete action steps to shape your first steps to making your dream come true.

Courage to declare that “someday” has finally arrived in your life.

Space is limited and the deadline to register is coming up! Visit www.dustoffyourdreamsretreats.com for more information on the retreat and to register.

And order your copy of Melinda’s bestselling book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

HERE’S WHAT THE NEW YORK TIMES HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE WILDCATTER IN THE FEBRUARY 18, 2012, TRAVEL SECTION:

“There’s a reason why guests fly in from Britain and the Netherlands to holiday at Wildcatter Ranch, 90 miles northwest of Fort Worth: It’s a cowboy-hat-wearing, yee-haw-worthy adventure. With 35 horses and more than 20 miles of trails, riding is the choice activity, though skeet shooting, spa treatments and A.T.V. trips — with stops for canoeing and archery — can also be scheduled. ‘And I’m not opposed to free help in the barn,’ Jay Brewer, the barn manager and a former bullfighter, said with a laugh. Horseback rides take guests through the property’s 1,500 acres, where riders spot armadillos and turkeys. Guests retire to cabins with tasteful Western décor, kick off muddy boots on the back porch and sink into rocking chairs to watch the sunset. Tip: The Buffalo and the Butterfield Stage cabins are the best rooms to book for log-framed or converted wagon beds.”

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