Progress in Fixing my Slouching Back
When I started working a lot on my two-point in my new saddle I improved BUT my back muscles started hurting while I did it. After working religiously on my two-point position for five months my back muscles still hurt every time I get up in the two-point position. Obviously, I have to do something to strengthen these muscles but I could not figure anything out that worked within the limits caused by my Multiple Sclerosis, especially the exhaustion that comes from me trying to do any type of exercise routine. My new Pegasus Butterfly saddle also revealed that my whole body, torso, legs and hands twist to a left side forward and right side back position. Debbie reliably points out my many position faults, I correct them, but my position faults creep back in without constant correction. Therefore, while I was on the internet I kept on looking for anything that might help me correct my faults in the saddle.
Last year on the COTH forum, I read about the Equicube (http://www.equicube.net). It looked interesting, but I had to wait until I had extra money to get one. Finally that wonderful day arrived, I read everything on the net I could find on the Equicube, and I decided that, though it was pricey, it might be the answer to some of my problems in the saddle. I was particularly interested in what the Equicube site said about how using the Equicube can strengthen a rider’s back muscles as well as the core muscles that help support the back.
The first time I used it, in my lesson over a week ago, I was in a state of exhaustion resulting from running around to get to my son’s wedding several hundred miles away. I tried the Equicube and Debbie and I noticed that it got me using my back differently but I was too tired to use it for more than one minute, definitely not enough time to come to a conclusion about its efficacy. I did notice that I had to keep my face vertical or I started suffering from vertigo. This Wednesday, much more rested for my lesson, I tried it again. The Equicube has two slanted side handles, and the reins go beneath the handle on top of my fingers, the main difference with holding the reins is that my thumbs are on top of the handle instead of on top of the reins. I had to give my crop to Debbie since I could not handle it and hold the Equicube. After getting my rein length so I would not irritate Bingo’s mouth, I started riding with it.
The Equicube weighs 4.2 lbs. and the rider has to hold it above the horse’s withers. In order to support the Equicube off the horse’s withers I had to shift my back to a vertical position. After a minute Debbie started exclaiming on how I was FINALLY NOT SLOUCHING! My back was straighter and my shoulders were back. This is something I have been trying to correct for all the years that Debbie has been giving me lessons, but no matter what I tried I never got rid of my slouch completely. She also liked how my hands stayed in the right place and how quiet my hands were as I rode Bingo. After around a minute my arms were getting tired so I gave Debbie the Equicube, figuring that it would take me a long time to get my rather weak arms strong enough to hold it. Several minutes late two ladies who teach at Debbie’s stable came by leading two mares to their private field. Debbie started telling them about the amazing transformation of my back and I offered to use the Equicube again so that the ladies could see the difference. I walked past them without the Equicube, Debbie then gave me the Equicube and I walked past them again.
All three ladies, all who teach riding, exclaimed loudly and repeatedly about how much my back improved while I held the Equicube. I have never received so many complements about my back while I am in the saddle over the 46 years I have been riding seriously. The ladies immediately started naming the students who could benefit from using the cube. I gave my Equicube to the stable so that other riders could benefit from using it since I would be using it only a few minutes a week until I get stronger.
In order to support the weight of the Equicube without tiring my arm muscles I HAD TO lean back some, then by using my core muscles and keeping my upper arms by my ribcage it did not seem to weigh as much. I was able to keep contact with Bingo’s mouth without causing him any distress even though I could not use my fingers as I usually do. My hands stayed in the correct position, my back no longer slouched, and I memorized the feel so I could practice getting out of my slouch both in and out of the saddle. I realized the reason that I stay in a slouch is that when I get my back straight I start suffering from vertigo, however if I keep my face vertical the vertigo goes away. After I get out of the saddle my back bothers me some, but with the help of my Back on Track back wrap the pain goes away and does not come back until I try the Equicube or two-point again.
I think I have finally found something that I can use to correct my seat when I do not have a riding teacher around. Since I gave my first Equicube to Debbie’s stable, I will be getting another one soon so I can use it when I ride at Shannon’s stable. I now have a way to strengthen my arms, back and core muscles, keep my hands in their proper position, and help my stability in the saddle. I am sure that I will learn other ways that the Equicube helps my riding as I go on using it during my lessons and rides. It is well worth the $79 USD I spent on it as it promises to help me improve my riding by helping me overcome with problems with my seat that have plagued me for years.
Finally, I found something that WORKS!
Have a great ride!