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    A Connected Riding® Translation of the oft heard request to: ''Sit Up Straight''

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    February 28, 2018
    A Connected Riding® Translation 
    of the oft heard request to:
    "Sit Up 
    When instructors give the command to "Sit Up Straight" they are usually trying to correct a postural habit of the rider. This "correction" is happening from a temporary external muscular "fix" that for a short while will probably work. The "Arched Equator" is the result of being told to "Sit Up Straight" and she adds bracing and tension to her body to comply. The "Pocket Sitter" who hunches forward will temporarily appear to be more erect when she pulls her shoulders back and lifts her chest. However, in reality, she's just trading one postural dysfunction for another and won't be able to maintain it. If she adjusts her pelvis to the neutral position her body will fall into an erect posture naturally. Rebalancing internally into neutral posture would keep her body erect and the instructor happy. 
    Learning the sensation of finding neutral posture from within 
    provides lasting change.
    Checking for Neutral Posture & stability
    Photo 1. In this photo, Peggy is lightly pressing downward on the roller providing feedback of resistance to the rider's body to notice if she is in neutral posture or not. If she is in neutral she will feel solid in the saddle. If she is not she will automatically tense and brace against Peggy's downward pressure (equally opposing Peggy's force). Here, the rider found she was able to maintain her posture in neutral without effort or tension.
    Feeling the tension of a "heavy horse" 
    Photo 2. Here the rider puts her hands forward and down, and Peggy presses downward on the roller. The rider notices that the downward force creates tension and bracing in her back, shoulders, and arms. And, additionally, if the rider closes her legs on the saddle she will totally be pulled out of balance. She has lost her neutral posture by letting go of her arms and closing her legs. If she was riding a heavy horse in this position she would counter these forces by going behind the vertical, tensing her back and thighs and lifting her chest to counter balance the forces from the horse. 
    Rebalancing & rechecking for stability
    Photo 3. Here the rider is in neutral posture again with a slight torso rotation. She is also thinking "up" with her forearms as if she's trying to keep a pencil in the crease of her elbow joint. She is thinking "wide" through her knees instead of closing them, she is breathing into her lower back and softening in her sternum area. Now she is able to withstand the force of Peggy acting as a "heavy horse" pulling downward, and this rider is able to maintain the strength and stability of her position without using external muscular force.
    When the rider's body is in neutral posture she can receive the forces of gravity, the motion from the horse and maintain her own postural stability. Only then is she free to provide rebalancing support to the horse with each stride.
    Explore Peggy's book  "Connect with your Horse from the Ground Up" to find descriptions of these three types of riders, and take the quiz to determine your personal postural pattern. Click on the book cover to visit the store.

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    To watch the video of this demonstration on the Connected Riding® Youtube channel: 
    Click here.
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    Peggy Cummings, Owner
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