Remold body to work better

Topic for older horses and older riders
Tanga
Herd Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:32 am

Remold body to work better

Postby Tanga » Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:45 pm

I am older and have had many, many injuries as well as issues with congenitally having a bad back and joints. I used to be able to manage to ride fine despite it all, but that has changed. In the past few years I am especially trying to "fix" things that don't work so well.

If you followed the other threads, I think I finally got a good saddle (Albion for $350!!!) and really noticed my back doesn't hurt and I can sit where I need to in it.

Because of my other saddles, back, and height, I have an issue with head forward posture, and tend to lean forward in the saddle to relieve the pain, and also because I think I'm too heavy for horses, so want to lighten up on them.

I've been on years of trying to work on the head posture with constantly reminding myself to to pull the neck back and up (so I can get even more of a turtle neck ;) ) and exercise and massage to support that.

I can now go to the gym three times a week to a class with a chiropractor that does the best classes that are always challenging everything just a little more and changing that I think really helps. It helps me focus ob fixing the many injuries back to as normal as I can get ( ACL, rotator cuff, etc.) I'm down 20 lbs from two years ago and can't seem to get much more progress on getting that ten more off that would be ideal.

I think massage with exercise is key. About six years ago I made a deal with a masseuse and got two massages a week for $200 a month. After a year and a half of that, I finally got to the point where I could actually feel my lower back. Before that, I didn't realize I couldn't, and I would have bolts of pain go up the back regularly. Now I go two to four times a month, and I know how valuable it is. My lower back is hurting in new ways, which I think is good because it is now moving, so I think I am making progress in remodeling my back so I can take it under more and not hurt. (I naturally have a very curved spine and standing straight hurts.)

Has anyone had any success in really trying to change your body to work in a better way? We all need the strength and flexibility, but do you think we can change how it works when we are older? I walk leaning forward to relieve the pressure on my low back, but am trying to get to the point where I always stay straight up because I have corrected my lower back so it stays tucked under more and I have better alignment.

Abby Kogler
Herd Member
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:29 pm

Re: Remold body to work better

Postby Abby Kogler » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:26 pm

Yes! And the only thing I find that actually changes the body, as opposed to "just" relieving pain, is Feldenkrais. It is the most effective modality I have experienced for actually changing the way we move and function. I heard about it over twenty years ago from Barbara Stender when I was still in NC. I met Mary Debono when I moved back to CA in 2000. I went to a five day clinic with Mary for working on horses and by the end of that five days I was absolutely stunned, really, at what I had seen the work do. I started applying to my own horses and again, would not have believed the changes if I had not seen them with my own eyes. Since then I have worked with Mary endless hours with horses and also with my own body. As you can imagine the 8 surgeries and rehabs I have gone through with my foot issue have taken a toll on my hips, knees, back neck and shoulders. Feld work, both on my body and with the ATMS (Awareness Through Movement) work restores me to balance and symmetry every time. Its not massage, its not Reiki, its so unique and it works, works, works, Try it. There should be a Feldy somewhere in your area. If you cant find one, Mary has made some excellent DVDs of ATMS that you can get from her or get some ATM videos form the Feld institute.

For all her superficial weirdness, Linda Tellington Jones was a Feldenkrais practitioner

Tanga
Herd Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:32 am

Re: Remold body to work better

Postby Tanga » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:20 pm

Abby Kogler wrote:Yes! And the only thing I find that actually changes the body, as opposed to "just" relieving pain, is Feldenkrais.


Interesting, Abby. Just looking at it, it seems kind of what I am trying to do on my own. It's all about body awareness, mindfulness, balance and such? I actually also did some anxiety classes that helped me work on that, too. I will look into it.

What exactly does it help you get back to in your own body? What did you see in the horses?

My one mare always seems a bit crooked on one side, and I reminded myself to go back to the old stretching exercises for horses and thing about how stretching works for myself, so I try to remember before riding to stretch her head and neck from side to side in various ways until she evenly reacts. The first time she was a bit stiff. Since then she immediately gives in, closes her eyes, and starts licking. You know you've on the right track then!

Abby Kogler
Herd Member
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:29 pm

Re: Remold body to work better

Postby Abby Kogler » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:57 pm

They call it functional integration, or somatic education...not the Feldy people but other body workers. It wakes up and/or creates new neural pathways from muscle to brain. It uses non habitual movements/patterns to do so. I was so skeptical of it but saw Mary transform a horse in front of my eyes...after my 'Im Not Worthy moment I committed to studying with her and have ever since. It can help pain...my right akle, knee, and hip were really screaming after all the compensating of being non weight bearing on my left foot so many months. A couple of visits to Mary and its all good.

With horses I saw crazy changes, sometimes immediate as in wow they are no longer lame, sometimes longer. Necks got longer, shoulders got more sloped, strides got longer. I have legion stories of things I would not have believed. I chronicle some of it in photos. I do it as part of the rehab I do here. Clients say things like 'its like he is filling out his skin' or 'omyGod hes never walked like that' or 'he fluffed out!'...

When I lived in MA and taught at Smith I got to watch Robert Altman and I wasn't that far from Jack Meagher. I didn't think anything could get me out of my sports massage MO. I still use the techniques I learned. But I get the true actual body/movement changes with the Feld principles work. Its amazing.

goldhorse
Herd Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:20 am
Location: East Bay, Northern CA

Re: Remold body to work better

Postby goldhorse » Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:11 am

Abby, I want to thank you for pointing me in the direction of Feldenkrais and especially Somatics. WOW! I got instant relief from longstanding piriformis pain and it's been the best for opening up my hip flexors.

Abby Kogler
Herd Member
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:29 pm

Re: Remold body to work better

Postby Abby Kogler » Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:27 pm

Hey, you made my day!

It really life changing. Im so glad you were able to follow through!

Kirby's Keeper
Novice
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:42 pm

Re: Remold body to work better

Postby Kirby's Keeper » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:57 pm

@Abby Kogler Thanks for recommending Mary Debono and Feldekrais. I have directed my students to her website and the free videos she has. Lots of great information! I would love to get some training from her. I think that it blends well with the Bowen Therapy that I use to help people and horses. It never ceases to amaze me how small precise movements can profoundly influence the body in a very short time.

Cheers, Robyn
Proud member of the Ilks Club ;)


Return to “Senior Horses/Senior Riders”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest