Friday, November 10, 2017

Mary Wanless Clinic: Day 1

Despite my worries, I arrived at my clinic all of fifteen minutes behind schedule and with a full seven hours of sleep.  The hubby was done with his distillery showcase a little earlier than planned and I was able to get my own packing done before heading to bed.  By 8:45am, Theo and I hit the road.

I'm kind of glad I was running a bit late.  This was my first foray into Massachusetts with the trailer and the jaunt down 95 is no joke.  Especially not where there's construction and I had a bare few inches between my trailer and the concrete barricades.  YIKES.  The term Massholes is very appropriate for the drivers and Theo had a few less than ideal moments in his ride when I had to hit the brakes to avoid idiots whipping across three lanes of traffic (in a construction zone) to make their exit.  I'm so glad I did my trailer training in New Hampshire.  The interstates in Massachusetts are terrifying in a passenger car.  With a horse trailer?  I totally ordered a margarita at my hotel.

The clinic is a bit bigger this year.  More auditors, more people trailering in.  The parking is a bit nuts and I got some good practice backing in with the trailer.  I didn't manage to get into my assigned spot, but the lady I blocked in is also here until Sunday so it's all set.  We know each other, it's fine.  At least I turned around without help. 

The cold weather and high winds put a little extra pep into Theo's step.  He's in a tent stall this year and he spent about an hour figuring out that he wasn't going to die.  I'm glad I packed his turn out since he's not actually in a barn and it's down to 16* tonight with a wind chill.  His beautiful new Baker blanket is under his medium weight turn out with a neck rug.  Not that he minds, he has a beautiful young mare as his neighbor (he moved his hay to that side of his stall) and all the food he can stuff in his face.

For my ride, Mary remembered him once I said he was half Canadian.  She commented that he was much better at going forward than she remembered and complimented me on my insistence on him being correct.  He was also a very good doobie in the contact, keeping his neck long and his moments of resistance to a minimum.  I was genuinely proud to unleash his new trot in that fancy indoor ring, showing his progress.  Unfortunately, this means that all eyes were on the rider.  Clearly the horse was fine.

I came in with the goal of addressing my collapsed left side.  I've been riding like that for so long that I think I'm straight.  I'm not, so that means I don't know where the center is.  We started out with a check of my current status and I got another compliment for hanging on to what she'd asked me to do two years ago and sends her compliments to Trainer A for helping me hang on to the right things.  Woohoo, not having to start over!

When we started to address my asymmetry, my weight on my seat bones popped right to the front.  I tend to weight my right seat bone, but I'll ping pong around from side to side when turning.  That's incorrect, of course.  So she flagged me over and apologized because things were about to get crude.  I need to stay balanced and symmetrical over his spine.  Okay, yes, that makes sense.  The human pelvis tends to be rather wide and because of it's structure, kind of flops on either side.  I need to tighten up my pelvis, almost make it more narrow so it can stay tight and balanced over his spine.

I need to pull my asshole up into my buttcrack.

Yeah, that's a direct quote.  Followed by a discussion on whether a zipper, sutures, or super glue would be the best visual for me to think about tightening up my pelvis.  Theo voted for super glue.  No, seriously, she suggested super glue and he turned his head around and touched her arm.  So I'm . . . supergluing my butt cheeks together to keep from letting my asshole drop down and my pelvis get wide.

It's a strange, funny way of describing positive tension in the rider.  I'm taking control of my pelvis and putting my seat bones in the right place so they don't ping pong around and keep me off balance.  But suggesting that I should superglue my butt cheeks together is much funnier.

Tomorrow we'll start addressing the fact that I don't know where center is anymore with my upper body.  I can tell when I'm ping ponging in the seat and correct it.  I can't tell if I'm straight or not, and that's a problem.  I can't correct if I don't know where center is.  Mary said she has a plan, that she knows how to show me where center is, so I'm confident that I'll have new descriptors and exercises after tomorrow to take home.

Tonight I'm chilling in my hotel room, thawing out with the thermostat turned way up and recharging for tomorrow's adventure.


  1. Glad you're having a good time. That drive sounds awful.

  2. That's a phenomenally effective quote!

  3. I find Mary's analogies and "visualizing language" so helpful. Super glue it is lol. :D