Muscle Memory = Brain Memory

Today became WoSW due to a busy work schedule on Wednesday.  I think I mentioned the book I’m reading about how to ride back friendly – both for the horse and us humans.  The book does not recommend holding onto the bucking strap or pommel of the saddle to pull us into the saddle to learn to sit the trot because the action of pulling creates tension.  Instead, the author recommends pushing your knuckles into the withers or the front of the saddle to push yourself into the saddle.  I had experimented with this before and it made a huge difference but today for some reason, it made an even bigger difference.  All of a sudden my hips opened up and my upper body got stiller and I was SITTING THE TROT!!!

I have no idea why this time things clicked.  Was it the way I held my hands?  Were my muscles more tired than normal? Was I thinking differently?  Did I eat something I usually didn’t?  Were the stars aligned?  Why did something I’ve done many times before have a different effect this time?  Muscle memory can be both a bad and good thing depending on what we have our muscles remember (good habits or bad ones).  But either way, it’s very difficult to change and involves both our muscles and our brains.

I continued riding sitting trot without stirrups until I started having trouble regaining ‘that feeling’ when I lost it.  If I had continued to ride after loosing the feeling, I would have just been reinforcing a ‘bad habit’ instead of retraining my subconscious self with this new way of doing things.  I’m hoping I solidified at least a little bit of that feeling, so that the next time I try it, I can repeat the performance.  But I read that it takes 10,000 times of doing something before you can be proficient at it.  Wow, I have a long way to go!

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