Leg release, opening the hip joint.
Often we are not aware of tension in our body, especially in our pelvis and our hips. You do your best to follow the movement of the horse, but to move smoothly with the movement of the horse is a challenge for many riders. This is often the result of tension in hip joint. The pelvis should be able to absorb all the movements of the horse, as shock absorber. That means that the pelvis should be able to move freely in all directions and that the hip joints are loose.
The hip joint consists of two parts: a ‘hollow area’ in the pelvis, and the upper part of the femur or the femoral head. When I notice during a lesson that a rider has tension in the hips I often do a leg release, after which the leg seems longer. There are many exercises to ‘open’ the hip joint (we do them together in the workshop Body Awareness for riders). This is one of them that you can do easily at home or at the barn of your horse 😉
Let your leg ‘hang out’
Place a stool or something else where you can stand on close to the wall. Stand on the stool with one leg and let the other leg hang down between you and the wall. Support your hand or shoulder against the wall and make sure you keep your pelvis level. Do not ‘lock’ the standig leg but keep the knee slightly bent. Pull your navel a bit inwards, let your leg ‘hang out’ and let gravity pull your leg to the earth. Stay for a minute and then make a very small movement with the hanging leg like a pendulum, from front to back. You will feel as if your femur will drop millimeter by millimeter from the hip downward all by itself. Then change your leg.
On the picture I ask my horse for support while standing on a tree trunk and let one leg ‘hang out’.
If you have a physical problem, always consult a therapist before doing the exercises. Never cross a treshold of pain. Lucie Klaassen can not be held liable for any damage resulting from any inaccuracies and / or omissions in this publication.