As I Become Stronger

In one way the last two weeks have been frustrating, the horses are STILL NQR. Debbie has me ride Bingo while he wears his BOT exercise boots, then after the ride she applies DMSO and wraps his leg, all in the hopes that his new wind puff improves. I mostly walked with him, and when Debbie asked me to trot him so she could check and see if his croup was even, I stayed up in two-point so she could get a clearer picture. She is trying to get him better so she can use him for her riding summer camp the week after next, though, of course, if he is not sound she will let him stay in the paddock while the other horses work.

So I have been doing a lot of walking. Since the heat and humidity are increasing relentlessly I guess that is all right.

After carrying the Equicube around for a minute or three once or twice a week I knew that I had to do more to get myself stronger with my core, back and arms. I finally saved enough money up so I could order myself one to work out with at home while getting Debbie two more Equicubes so she has them for her summer camp riders. When they came and I started working with the Equicube at home (I mimic what I do for a “rider's push-up” while holding the Equicube in my hands), I realized that I had gotten stronger over the last 16 months, because now I can easily carry the Equicube around. When I got my first Equicube I was just too weak to carry it around much less work out while holding it, that was one reason I let Debbie have it since I know I have to get fit SLOWLY so as not to trigger another MS exacerbation.

But now I am strong enough to hold it out in front of me without resting it on something, which is great progress for me, for at the beginning I had a big problem keeping the Equicube off the horses' withers.

I know that the Equicube works to get my core stronger, but I just cannot feel what my body is doing to get my back straighter, if Debbie had not told me that my back was straighter I would have had no idea that it was working at all. After all those years of trying to force my body into a good position on horseback, all of a sudden, just by carrying the Equicube for a little bit, my position in the saddle has been transformed as my back straightens out. Debbie is happy, when she sees me slouch in the saddle now all she has to do is give me the Equicube, have me carry it for a few minutes, and my back straightens all by itself.

The Equicube is a “gadget” that I would recommend to all riders. I could have gone through thousands of hours of lessons and riding and not get the results that I get now, a straighter back, shoulders back, stabilized hands, and I am sure that all sorts of good things are happening with my core muscles. One problem for riders is their “homework” rides that are outside of lessons, without an instructor correcting posture mistakes when they happen, riders end up developing the wrong muscles for good riding. Carrying the Equicube works whether there is an instructor in the ring or not. Practicing is important for learning a skill, but if a person practices a wrong posture it can hinder getting better. This has been a problem for me my whole riding life, and I am so very, very, very glad to finally find something that makes me use my body properly while riding.

Have a great ride!

Jackie Cochran

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