As a dressage rider you must be able to do three things: teach your horse to dance, master the art of subtlety and develop a deep and true bond with your horse through love, trust and respect.
People ask me ... "What is your sport?" To which I respond... "Equestrian". Some smile and say - "Thats not a sport, you're just sitting there!" Let me explain something... as a rider, whether your are a jockey, an eventer, a show jumper, a dressage rider, you are sitting on top of a live animal... A living thing that weighs 650kg with thoughts, emotions, hormones, desires, power, strength... You must 'sit' on this animal and teach it to dance, teach it to love, trust and respect you, teach it to listen and respond in a certain way through shifting millimetres in your saddle, shifting your left leg a centimetre behind the right leg, growing tall through your core and torso, sitting deeper in your saddle. Each "aid" or movement that you do means a different thing and tells the horse to change direction, speed, height. So to those who smile and say... "Thats not a sport, you're just sitting there!" I'm sorry to tell you but there's a bit more to it!
Do yourself a favour and take EIGHT minutes to appreciate the art, beauty and pure magic of a dancing horse. One of my all time favourite dressage combinations is Edward Gal - a rider from the Netherlands and his powerhouse of a black beauty "Moorlands Totilas" or "Toto" as his family and friends call him.
A few fun facts about Toto:
- Toto is a Dutch Warmblood stallion that stands at 17.1 hands or 175cm high
- His stud fee is €5,500 ($8,200 AUD)
- In his first year as a stud he earned €1.4 million ($2 million AUD)
- An embryo of his sold for €32,000 ($48,000 AUD)
- In 2010 it was rumoured that Toto was sold for between €9.5 million and €15 million (between $14 million and $22.3 million AUD)
Here is Edward Gal and Toto at the World Equestrian Games in 2010 scoring a near perfect 91.8% in their freestyle dressage test.
Why am I talking about horse riding and how is this at all relevant to what we do as physios? I'll tell you why... At Integrated Pelvic Physiotherapy we draw many similarities between the connectivity, balance and buoyancy that a horse and rider has with the ground and how a human connects with the ground. How you 'connect' to the ground will determine a lot of things - the amount of forces being absorbed into the body, where these forces are going and how you use these forces to move. Picture this stunning creature and the juxtaposition of its strength, power and weight versus how he prances, floats and glides seemingly effortlessly across the ground. Then I want you to picture someone in pain: slouched posture, sad depressed look on their face, bracing and locking down their body with every movement, limited mobility... They're heavy, they look uncomfortable, they look miserable.
The defining Integrated Pelvic Physiotherapy service
When someone comes into us in pain we do a range of things from massage, to mobilisation, education and posture correction but we then will move through core stability, strength, power and endurance. We work clients through 'connecting their core into the ground' and then the magic happens... They have less pain, they create space in their bodies that allows for effective shock absorption like a sponge or spring rather than being compacted and compressed, their quality of movement is improved, their pain is reduced, their facial expression is enlightened... their quality of life is doubled, tripled, quadrupled! The days of lying on a bed doing single plane, boring core exercises are over (or at least they're over in the Integrated Pelvic Physiotherapy world!). Come see us for your one on one consultation to learn how to activate your core and connect it, to enable your body to move better, to make way for less pain, to allow you to DANCE!
If you have any pain, or would like to improve your 'core', don't hesitate to contact us (07) 5441 4764 to make an appointment with either Robin, Alice or Mat.