Badass Full Body Workout

Beware:

This is an effective home workout! No pink dumbbells. No fru fru.

I am producing weekly workout videos on my YouTube channel to bring you EFFECTIVE at home workouts that produce stability, strength and power in athletes.

No BS.

And, yes, even if you are currently holding the status of “Couch Potato” you ARE an athlete. Humans are created to MOVE, you just need to get started!

My passion is helping empower women to lift heavy, run faster, swim further, and simply just achieve those long held goals that have become buried deep for way too long.

I will post the video below but please do read through the breakdown first!

A breakdown of the workout:

Exercise 1: Frog Kicks

The exercise specifically targets the gluteus medius (side of your butt), the muscle responsible for moving the leg sideways away from your body (termed abduction).

A strong glute medius is essential for power and balance. Activating this muscle prepares your body for the explosive side-to-side movements that are common to most sports. The gluteus medius also improves hip stability, which is critical for maintaining balance for my riders, and preventing knee and ankle injuries.

Tip: If you have chronic knee or back pain I highly recommend working on your glute medius! Especially if you spend a lot of time sitting, and therefore tightening the hip flexors, it is essential to spend time on activation exercises for the glutes!

Exercise 2: Kettlebell Swings

This is one of my favourite exercises for athletes and as someone with a lot of experience, and training, with kettlebells I am very partial to their total body benefits for strength and stability.

The kettlebell swing is exceptionally efficient on improving your strength, endurance, power, and coordination in an extremely short amount of time.

Another great benefit is that the kettlebell swing is extremely useful for building explosive strength and can easily substitute for plyometric movements, for those that are looking for lower impact ways to improve power.

These are also exceptional at developing the posterior chain, creating shoulder stability as well as core strength.

This is the Queen of all exercises BUT you must use a weight too heavy to simply lift to your shoulders. It must require you to push with your glutes and hips. If you can simply lift the weight:

  1. You are at an increased risk of injury in the shoulders.
  2. You are missing all of the benefits and simply doing an awkward front raise.

A form tip: Make sure you are using your back to hold your shoulders back and down. At no point should your back be rounded or your shoulders hanging from your rotator cuff. Think of gripping the kettlebell then activating your lats (behind your arm pits) by rotating your shoulders back. Visualize trying to break the kettlebell in half.

Exercise 3: Curtsy Lunge

I like to incorporate a lot of single leg exercises in training for my athletes. This helps to target imbalances and balance.

I find curtsey lunges to be incredibly effective at targeting your glute medius (outside of glute) as well as your inner and outer thigh. It is essential to target the full leg, rather than simply the glute max. This is a great exercise for that!

Make sure you maintain good form as this is an easy one to have poor form in.

Training Tip: Pause at the bottom of your lunge to remove any momentum from the push up. If you do not feel this in your glute medius I recommend incorporating glute activation exercises as a regular part of your routine. You simply can’t work a muscle your brain does not know exists! And yes, the connection can become so weak that you have to spend time going through the “boring” activation exercises to remind your brain you have an a$$!

Use it or lose it sister!

Exercise 4: Plank Row

There are so many benefit of this exercise I will summarize in 3 points:

  • Effectively teaches core stabilization by strengthening the abdominal muscles’ ability to resist spinal extension.
  • Activates the Oblique muscles more than a regular Plank by forcing you to balance yourself while rotating.
  • Incorporates upper body rotation and improves total body balance.

To make this harder you can add a pushup between reps! I left the pushup out as many people are internally rotated at the shoulders (hunched forward) and need more pulling movements than pushing.

Form Tip: Squeeze your glutes. Make sure your hips are neither too low or too high. Stabilize your spine during the rotation.

Exercise 5: Thrusters

This is another great full body exercise that is incredibly challenging on the whole body! Thrusters help improve coordination, muscular endurance, and balance. Not only do heavy thrusters help to build overall strength, it can be a useful exercise to teach strength-speed and improve overall athleticism.

Go heavy on this one. Like the kettlebell swing the power comes from the glutes and legs. Use momentum from standing to power the weight up.

Form tip: Make sure to stay in your heels and not let the weight pull you forward. As you begin to stand up squeeze the glutes to use them as power to accelerate the weight up and over your head.

Exercise 6: Dolphin

The plank requires no introduction. It is one of the best core stability exercise and is my favourite since it does not require any bending of the spine. Our spines truly only have so many bends prior to having issues with bulging disks so I limit the amount of crunches for my athletes.

For this exercise make sure you lift your hips using your lower abs. If you struggle with a mind to body connection with your lower abs start with dead bugs and work up from there.

Form tip: Make sure to push up into your shoulders. Your shoulder blades should not stick out of your back. This is called Winged Scapula and signifies no stability in the shoulders or back. To truly benefit from the plank you must activate your body from head to toe!

Exercise 6: Twisters

Similar to the plank this is creating stability through the spine, however we are adding in rotation. This is a great way to develop strong obliques and stability through the core.

Form tip: Make sure to keep the core engaged the whole time. At no point should there be “slack”. This is also a great way to engage the lower abs.

There you have it my friends!

Complete the routine for 3-4 sets. Limit rest in between exercises to 15-30 seconds. 1 minute rest between sets. If you go heavy on the weights, which you should you little badass you, you can increase the rest to 2 minutes between sets.

*Make sure to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Ensure use of proper form and never work through pain.

Grab your kettlebell, dumbbells, water and lets go!

And, friends, if you have any videos you would LOVE to see let it be heard! I am talking on form, injuries, workouts, nutrition, mindset. The choice is yours. Let’s build this YouTube to be the MECCA of sound fitness and health advice. You in?

Good!

Mindset for the Competitive Equestrian

What separates elite athletes from the rest?

Talent?

Many talented athletes never lived up to their potential.

Technical skills?

All the technical skills in the world will not help if you are unable to perform those skills in the heat of competition.

Natural athleticism?

There are many examples in sports where less athletic athletes became elite, and physically gifted athletes failed to succeed.

So what is the special ingredient that produces elite athletic performances?

The biggest contributor to elite performances is mindset after all the training and talent is baked in.

Mindset is your mental outlook and how it helps or hinders your performance in competition.

So, let’s talk about mindset for the equestrian athlete.

Have you ever felt nerves or anxiety while competing? When I was younger I literally could not eat the morning of a show. Saying I had butterflies, or jitters, was an understatement! I was even known at the show grounds for getting so worked up I was sick to my stomach the mornings of the show!

For most people pre show, or pre class, nerves are a common occurrence. Often we don’t even realize how much those nerves are holding us back or how CRUCIAL mindset is for our success. Further, a lot of us pull it together at the last minute without even realizing how much better we could have done if we were properly prepared mentally.

Telling yourself to “just relax” does not work. It won’t even work coming from your mother, trainer or long time friend. A winning mindset needs to be prepared well before unloading your horse at the show or walking towards the dressage ring.

I am going to summarize the top 5 mindset skills that I feel are required to be a successful athlete. This is not an exhaustive list and, of course, there are other skills as well. This list comes from my own education, experience and training in Psychology as well as NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) as well as a long time working with athletes in my coaching programs!

  1. Choose and maintain a positive attitude.
  2. Use positive self-talk.
  3. Use positive mental imagery.
  4. Manage anxiety effectively.
  5. Maintain concentration.

Skills 1: Successful athletes choose and Maintain a Positive Attitude

Successful athletes:

  • Realize that attitude is a choice then choose an attitude that is predominantly positive.
  • View their sport as an opportunity to compete against themselves and learn from their successes and failures.
    • This allows you to focus on what you can control, which is your own attitude, performance and progress. This gives YOU the power to succeed instead of worrying about factors outside of your control, such as what Sally and her horse are bringing to the ring that day.
  • Have a coach-able attitude and do not say things like “I know that already” or “I have already tried that”. Successful athletes are open to feedback and welcome advice on how to improve.
  • Respect their sport, other participants, coaches, officials, and themselves.

Skill 2: Use positive self-talk.

Successful athletes:

  • Work through stressful situations using positive self-talk. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to do well in a sport if your negative thoughts are telling you otherwise.
    • I recommend my athletes begin with writing down their most common self limiting beliefs, such as “I am not good enough to do well” , “I could never beat the girls with the fancy warmbloods”, “I always mess up my dressage test” and reframe it into positive self talk, such as:
      • ” I perform well in tough competitions”
      • ” I am prepared and unstoppable”
      • “I am a great athlete and my horse is ready”
      • “My horse and I always perform our best”
      • “I am a badass and I am ready”
      • Post these new beliefs everywhere and anywhere you need to until they become your default thought process!
  • Tip: To generate a strong sense of self-belief, an athlete cannot worry about feeling arrogant. To be the best you can be you must believe you are the best. There is no shame in being arrogant inside one’s own head. In fact, it is a critical element to achieving success.
  • Use self-talk to regulate thoughts, feelings and behaviors during competition. When you feel negativity or anxiety creeping it reframe it with positive self talk. Positive self talk will also help an athlete overcome setbacks during competition.

Skill 3: Use Positive Mental Imagery

Successful athletes:

  • Use positive mental imagery to focus on the desired outcome. There is no more powerful mental tool than mental imagery and it can have a huge impact on your sports performance.
    • Imagery is used by virtually all great athletes and research has shown that, when combined with actual practice, improves performance more than practice alone.
  • Visualize themselves winning in great detail. They include multiple senses such as the sound of the horse breathing, the sound landing from a jump, feeling the warmth of the sun, the feel of the horses coat, etc.
    • You should duplicate the sights, sounds, physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions that you would experience in an actual competition. 
    • Tip: Create and use mental images that are detailed, specific, and realistic.
    • For those that struggle with visualization I recommend beginning with guided meditation to learn how to focus your mind.
  • Use imagery during competition to prepare for action and recover from errors and poor performances. Maybe you “messed up” in your dressage test. These skills will help you brush it off so it does not negatively impact the rest of your competition.

Skill 4: Manage anxiety effectively.

Successful athletes:

  • Accept some anxiety as part of sport. Pre competition jitters are not only normal but help increase performance.
    • Accept, rather than fight, the nervous energy you feel. Don’t misinterpret it by thinking that it is fear. That adrenaline rush you feel is normal and it is part of your body’s natural preparation for the competition. Notice it, but don’t focus on it.
  • Realize that some degree of anxiety can help them perform well. This is important so athletes do not allow jitters to develop into a spiral of stress and negativity.
  • Recognize ways to deal with stress and anxiety in their day to day life. This could be yoga, meditation, walks in nature, breathing techniques, etc.
  • TIP: If you connect a state with a behaviour, for example, deep breathing with your eyes closed to a quiet mind or fist pumping to pump yourself up you can INSTANTLY change your state at the competition. This, of course, must be a neural connection that is solidified well before the competition. The outcome needs to be connecting a desired state with a certain behaviour. This can be seen with elite athletes that have pre show rituals!
An example on how there is an optimal amount of arousal (“stress”) to reach a peak level of performance.

Skill 5: Maintain concentration

Successful athletes:

  • Have learned how to maintain focus and resist distractions, whether they come from the environment or from within themselves.
  • Are able to regain their focus when concentration is lost during competition. You see this with viral videos of loose horses running through a test and the rider staying focused. While the horse is often the one credited it is more so the RIDERS concentration that keeps the horse focused and relaxed. Horses feed off of our emotions and the more relaxed and focused you are the more relaxed and focused they are.
  • Have learned how to play in the “here-and-now”, without regard to either past or anticipated future events. If they are unhappy with their last dressage test successful athletes move on and focus on the current moment and the current test. Allowing the past or future to dictate emotions will cause anxiety and lower your performance.

In summary…

Effective athletes train their mind as they train their body, or, to relate to horses effective equestrian athletes train their mind as they train their horses! Keep in mind that research has consistently proven that athletes who possess a growth mindset, and believed their performance could be improved simply through effort significantly outperformed those who believed that their talent was fixed.

I hope you enjoyed this article and it challenged you to think about how your mindset may be effecting your performance!

Free equestrian community:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/426232728129685/

My YouTube Fitness and Mindset Channel, make sure to subscribe to stay up to date!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3QQdWscURZYByuNLHF5f-g

xo

Ashley

Work the booty to improve your position

If you are unstable in the saddle, or lack balance, what is the FIRST thing someone tells you?

Strengthen your core.

Yes, the abs are important.  Most people have lost the ability to move from their “center”, therefore teaching someone how to work the core, not just do crunches, is VERY important.

However, there is one major muscle group that has proven time and time again that they are actually more important to functional movement than the abdominals: the GLUTES

The glutes consist of 3 major muscles:

  1. The gluteus maximus, which does external rotation and extension of the hip joint (moving the leg backwards).
  2. The gluteus minimus, which does abduction of the hip (moving the leg away from the body).
  3. The gluteus medius, which also does abduction of the hip (moving the leg away from the body).

As you can see these muscles are important mover and stabilizers of the hip joint.  The glutes assist us in walking, sitting, standing, climbing stairs, getting out of bed, and LITERALLY every lower body movement.

The problem these days, is that we SIT on the glutes all day long, rendering them weak and useless.  Without the proper use of the glutes, the hamstrings and lower back muscles end up taking over far more work than they should.  The abdominals are strong and can support a weak lower back, but if the lower back keeps having to compensate for sleepy glutes, then the abs will never be able to keep up. This will result in poor posture, back pain and a less than ideal position in the saddle.

Trying to ride without strong, active glutes is akin to trying to build a house without a foundation.

So how does this relate to you?

Without strong glutes your lower back and hamstrings will take over as primary movers. This provides a very unstable base of support for your upper body, which can show as bracing in the upper body and tension in the reins, as well as an unstable lower leg. You will also find riders with weak glutes clinging with their legs as they have no stability through the pelvis.

Weak glutes also leads to poor posture, as the abs are only able to compensate to a point. This is where the dreaded “shoulders back” battle begins. You will also see this manifested in riders that can’t seem to sit up straight and always tend to lean forward. The weak glutes lead to tight hip flexors and a weak upper body making it nearly impossible to sit up straight. This isn’t something that can be fixed in the saddle.

Think of the pelvis, and hips, as the foundation of a house. Without a strong foundation everything is weak and unstable. This applies to your riding as well.

Without a strong pelvis, which is stabilized by your glutes, you are going to lack the ability to maintain a proper position, which leads to unclear aids, poor posture, imbalances in your body due to compensation and a whole host of other issues, just like a bad foundation does for a house.

And here is the truth: Your imbalances become your horses imbalances which become your horses lameness.

Further, by allowing your lower back and hamstrings to take over while riding you are setting yourself up for back pain, knee pain and ankle pain as you compensate for the weakness.

Often I hear “I am just old, I get knee pain when I ride”.

And while degenerative conditions, such as arthritis, can lead to pain strengthening the proper muscles, and lengthening the tight tissue, is one of the best ways to not only combat chronic pain but prevent future pain.

But riders are soooo busy!

Now, I know riders are busy between working to pay for the horses and actually riding but it is crucial to make time for your own fitness, out of the saddle. And, no, mucking stalls doesn’t count.

Sinead Halpin said it best, in her recent article Making Time for Fitness Outside the Saddle with Sinead Halpin for useventing.com:

“If you’re competitive, if you don’t want to have chronic low-grade pain, if you want to be kind to your horse by riding well, you will find it important to find an exercise routine that works to keep you supple and strong,” Halpin concluded. “Just do it. I have 23 horses on the farm, an 8-month-old, and a mortgage to pay without a major sponsor and I find the time, so just do it.”

Riding will feed into your imbalances. If you are weak on the left, and therefore lean into the right you will lean more into the right stirrup as you get more exhausted in the saddle. Especially out on cross country it becomes dangerous to have a riders imbalances being magnified when the horse, as well, may be getting tired.

If you sit at a desk all day and therefore have weak glutes and tight shoulders, causing you to slouch into a chair seat in the saddle no amount of yelling “Shoulders back” and no amount of custom saddles will fix YOUR issues.

Further, if you continue to get on the horse with the same issues it doesn’t matter how much money you dump into their massage, Back on Track, Chiropractic, acupuncture, etc. YOU will continue to cause the same imbalances in the horse until it causes a lameness. And then, well, your horse is out of the game until the injury has healed, if it can be.

A blank slate.

We are all adults right? I can be a straight shooter?

You are an athlete. Start training like it! Not only does improving as a rider depend on it but your horse depends on you to show up as YOUR best self everyday.

To help you get started I am developing a YouTube channel with free workouts for riders looking to get fit. Here is a quick booty blast to help kick off your new fitness plan!

For more videos and tips make sure to follow me on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/the.equestrians.advantage

Or join the FREE The Equestrians Advantage community at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/426232728129685/

As a former sport horse vet tech,eventer and certified personal trainer I am passionate about starting a movement towards rider fitness OUT of the saddle to improve not only the riders, well, riding, but to also improve soundness in the horse.

I hope you found this helpful!

Ashley

Why a raccoon can teach you life lessons.

Today I was asked if I could be any wild animal which would I choose.

To many peoples surprise I picked a raccoon. You may be thinking “WHAT!? Of all the animals you choose a raccoon?!”

Yes. And you know why?

Raccoons are adaptive. Spent millions developing raccoon proof garbage bins? Give the raccoon a few hours to figure out how to outsmart the road block. Build a subdivision in her habitat? She will figure out how to use your structures to thrive.

There is no obstacle too great and no invention too advanced to outsmart the determined, persistent and intelligent raccoon.

Raccoons are like the toddlers and youth of the human world. A toddler falls COUNTLESS times learning to walk but they don’t throw up their arms and give up because there are too many obstacles in their path. They keep trying until victory is theirs.

When learning to speak toddlers and children don’t stop learning. They intently watch the world around them and soak up information like a sponge, learning words from their environment (whether ideal words or not).

Youth unapologetically pick up figure skating or gymnastics and fall to their knees. Over. And over. But they get back up and try again. As a youth I crashed to the ground on my skates, trying new complicated spins and jumps, more times than I can count.

But I kept going. I knew my goal and I forged forward without blinking an eye.

Be a raccoon. Find the inner child that NEVER GAVE UP.

As adults we seem to become so wrapped up in the opinions of others, and fear of failure, that we would rather be miserable than try to reach new goals and dreams.

“You want to dump $10,000 into starting a new business?!” you can just FEEL the judgemental comments from friends and family.

“You are trying a NEW diet?!” you can predict the harsh tones as you try one more time at reaching your weight loss goals.

“I knew she would fail”, wait, that one is coming from your inner mean girl BEFORE you even start!

Now, let me say this loud and clear for the people in the back:

WHO CARES.

First, people don’t care as much as your ego has led you to believe.

Second, others opinions of you and what you do are none of your business.

If you fail? News flash. Whatever your goal is you WILL fail. Over and over. Get over it now.

If Sally from Facebook doesn’t like what you are doing with your life? Who cares. It isn’t her life.

If you fall? Great, you will learn what does and doesn’t work, just like the young girl does trying a new jump on the balance beam.

Dream big.

Stop caring so much about failure and what others think….

And start caring more about the quality of your short life.

Stop caring what you inner mean girl says and get out there and

Start proving her WRONG.

A raccoon doesn’t apologize for out thinking the special garbage bin you bought in under an hour.

A child doesn’t apologize for trying 100 times to get their first step.

The 10 year old doesn’t care what you think when she falls off the balance beam after trying for the 20th time to land a new flip.

Friend, STOP APOLOGIZING. To yourself and others. Just go out there and start living.

Xo,

Ashley

Equestrian Problems

I overheard someone complaining about their cats $50 per month medication.

$50. Per month.

Now, I am not saying anything bad about cats. If my husband wasn’t so allergic I would be the crazy cat lady!

But this got me wondering how absolutely out of touch riders are with reality! So, from my beautiful unicorn, I wrote my top 5 equestrian problems!

1) I have horses scattered across Ontario. When was the last time you lived 2 hours from one of your baby cats and 45 minutes from your large retired fat cat and small mini cat.

Well, photo angle makes the mini look like a maxi.

Cuteness beats logic every time!

Prior to baby I had visited Niagara Falls about as many times as I can count on one hand, in my 33 years, and I limit visits to family due to kilometers and “wear and tear” on my car. Baby Loki is 3 weeks old and I have made the 2 hour drive 3 times.

Sorry not sorry. Cars can be replaced.

2) I basically pay a mortgage payment to two different barns to keep the horses. That doesn’t include feet, vet, chiropractic, massage, nothing! Oh ya, and because Monty (fat retired cat) has back arthritis he is currently wearing $700 worth of blankets.

$700.

MY jacket isn’t even worth that much. And my husband went 2 winters WITHOUT a winter jacket so Monty could get more Back on Track blankets for his sore back!

Oh, and the $50 meds? How about $160 in Omeprazole for 30 days for your sensitive Sally’s belly. And that isn’t even the brand name Omeprazole. I don’t want to be the cause of heart problems, from shock, in my non horse friends so let’s continue on!

Monty living his best life.

3) I quit my job as an equine vet tech and got a job in a busy call centre to afford my horses.

Will this work?

And the “greatest” part about horses is that they will just keep filling the new budgets. It is never ending.

Got a higher paying job? Awesome, because your horse put its leg through a fence and needs stitches (true story from Christmas Day at 4:30pm 2017).

Opened a savings account? Stop kidding yourself and skip the sad truth of putting the money in just to take it back out. Just send the money straight to the tack store for the new custom saddle.

Bonus? Better call the chiropractor for the horse and someone to clip your Yak of a pony.

It. Never. Ends.

Now my savings account sits at $0.02.

But my recent promotion means they have new space to expand into!

4) Not one of my horses have a job. I have 3 horses and I am not able to ride one!

Monty was my eventer but was retired at 8 after years of on and off soundness issues. Turns out my future superstar has severe osteoarthritis in his spine. My mini, Oreo, was bought as his companion for shows and now is living his best life as a feral retired pony!

And my new born dream foal is living his best life in baby heaven!

Hopefully one day baby Loki will be my eventing super star otherwise I am collecting “broken” horses!

5) Vacations? Weekends away?

Old vacationing pics will have to do!

Vacations are unknown words to the Equestrian! Equestrians are too broke for vacations and weekends are for horse shows!

My poor husband and I have a cottage we rarely use because he can’t drag me away from the horses long enough!

Why go out of town when you can go to horse shows?

Regardless….

For all the stress, money and time horses cost.

For the ascinine vet bills that build up on your secret credit card.

The heartbreak over an 8 year old with so much potential having to be retired.

The constant worry over temperature and if your horse is too hot or too cold.

Wondering if you are doing all the things right and helping your horse live their best life.

Wearing clothes with holes in them so you can put the money into board at the best facility you can find (and the sleepless nights finding it).

For the missed vacations, weekends in the barn instead of on a beach and the partners that wonder wtf they got themselves into.

For all the craziness….

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Owning a horse is expensive. More expensive than your cat or dog. Or 10 cats and dogs. And sometimes they don’t pay attention to you ( I guess sort of like a big cat)….

Eff off lady, I only love my mom.

But is it ever worth it.

Once you are horse girl you will die a horse girl.

It is like a virus that pumps through your veins.

And you will lay down your last penny, your last breath, for your horse.

I would legitimately do sketchy things to make sure my horses only had the best. Selling organs in Mexico is a viable option, right?

So while we may be a bit crazy, and insanity ensues on the reg, it is worth every second and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Xo

Ashley

Posture for the rider

Instructors, here is the truth about yelling “Shoulders back” at your riders. It doesn’t work. And it isn’t that it doesn’t work because the rider is ignoring you or isn’t trying. It doesn’t work because tightness in the riders body is CAUSING the shoulders to be internally rotated and weakness in the abs is further building on this problem.

This is not something that can be fixed in the saddle.

What causes a hunched position

Clients come from a variety of backgrounds BUT the one thing many have in common is the fact that they do either a lot of time sitting at a desk (student, office worker) OR they do a lot of time driving. Both of these positions cause tightness in the front of the shoulder and chest, also known as the internal rotators.

The more someone sits with their shoulders rounded forward the tighter the internal rotators get, however this isn’t the end of the problem! This position also causes the back muscles to weaken and lengthen. The very muscles that would maintain a tall position and shoulders back.

This position further impacts the rider with a weak core, tight hip flexors and weak glutes. For the purpose of today we are focusing on shoulders.

Here is a graphic for the problems hunched shoulders create:

What does this mean for the horse?

When you have hunched shoulders your core is weak, forcing you to sit on the back of your pelvis. Sitting in your chair right now sit up tall with a strong core then allow your shoulders to hump forward and stop any contraction in your core. Do you notice how you go from sitting evenly on your pelvis to the back of your pelvis? Your body literally folds forward from pelvis to shoulders.

Now, sit up tall again, core tight. Force your shoulders back by pushing your chest forward. If you have naturally tight internal rotators right now your chest will naturally pop forward to accommodate the shoulders being forced back. Notice how your lower back arches and you shift to the FRONT of your pelvis? THIS is what happens when you tell a client “Shoulders back” and they force them back with tight internal rotators.

Here is a graphic to illustrate what I just described:

We require a neutral seat to not only have a strong and balanced position but to also properly influence the horse with clear aids. Imagine how FRUSTRATED your horse is when you are giving unclear aids and they are trying to interpret what you want!

Riders, and coaches, if the shoulders are being forced back, causing an exaggerated arch in the lower back this is the position you are in:

Forcing the shoulders back, despite the tight chest and weak core is causing extreme rounding of the lower back. Notice how this position is also forcing the legs forward and the rider is unable to properly get the heels down, so the toes point out. Without fixing the root cause you are only causing issues downstream of the “issue” you have fixed.

Further, notice how the horse has dropped his back and lacks impulsion. This is the immediate effect of sitting on the front of your pelvis. Your horse will drop their back and be unable to push from behind. You will lack impulsion and the ability to give clear aids from this position.

By correcting the body tightness and weakness you see an immediate improvement in the rider and horse:

Where to go from here

To start you must stretch the tight tissue and strengthen the weak tissue. I highly recommend beginning with yoga, particularly Yin Yoga. The long holds of 1-2 minutes not only properly release the muscles but also the connective tissue.

Next you need to identify your weak areas are strengthen them. Make sure to do 2 back exercises for every 1 pushing (push up for example) exercise.

I offer a fantastic 80 day program to my riding clients that helps to address postural imbalances and weakness. This program is an essential base to have for a balanced and strong position.

It is no longer acceptable to say “This is just how I am!”. The horse depends on us treating ourselves as the athletes we are. Postural imbalances in us can also lead to lameness issues in our horses.

For more information on the programs I offer to riders please feel free to fill out the form below:

Happy Wednesday friends!

Ashley

I choose to be powerful beyond measure

I would like you to take a moment for reflection. What are the main thoughts that are on repeat in your mind throughout the day. What stories do you tell yourself, and how are those stories limiting your true potential.

Starting today I want you to make the conscious effort to eliminate the following low vibe phrases from your vocabulary:

I want.
I should.
I wish.
I can’t.
I’m trying.
I don’t know.

These words take the power AWAY from you, when you are actually powerful beyond measure. These thoughts, and words, will stop you from taking risks on the things you really want in life. And, the worst part is none of them are true.

Now that you have eliminated those words from your vocabulary I need you to make the conscious effort to fill your vocabulary with the following high vibe phrases today:

🗝️I choose.
🗝️I can.
🗝️I enjoy.
🗝️I create.
🗝️I love.
🗝️I am a badass.
🗝️The answers are on their way.

What you may not yet realize is that what comes out of your mouth comes into your life, so choose your words, and thoughts, wisely.

At this point I often hear “but I am so unhappy in my job, I can’t be positive” or “I can’t lose the weight no matter what I do…”.

These are all your perceptions of reality. Made up stories you tell yourself.

Even if you HATE your full time job and it brings tears to your eyes, and your soul wilts, at the thought of even going in CHOOSE power words. Take your power back.

I CHOOSE to go into work because it funds my personal business I am building.

I LOVE that (employer) is the main financial supporter of my business.

It is also your CHOICE to hate your situation and do nothing about it, whether it is your job, weight, relationship, etc. The reality is NOT that you cannot be successful. The reality is not that you cannot lose the weight.

The reality IS you are choosing not to do the behaviours that will lead to success.

You are CHOOSING to stay miserable or you are CHOOSING to be happy.

Whether you believe it or not you ALWAYS have a choice.

I want nothing more than to leave an impact on this world by creating badass women that realize they have no limits and truly go for it.

Xo

Ashley