3 comments on “Jump Reviews #5

  1. Very educational.
    I love the visual accompaniment to the picture. What, exactly . does it mean when you say, “… there is a slight roach in his back” because living in Florida having a roach on your back means something entirely different. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your question, Floridaborne, I hope the following will help explain the not only what it is, but why it’s not good to have!

    In the past a ‘roached back’ applied strictly to the horse. It meant that instead of a smooth dip behind the withers that sloped up to the top of the horse;s hindquarters or croup, there was a distinct hump in the back just behind where the saddle would normally sit and in front of the croup.

    In this case, it refers to the slight convex rather than concave curve in the RIDER’S back.

    In order to allow freedom of the rider’s neck and shoulders, as well as improve balance, all parts of the rider’s body should be independently balanced. When a rider develops bad habits, gets tired, or maybe even gets caught at a bad moment, the muscles across the small of the back have relaxed and allowed the spine to take on a more foetal position. In this case the back does not reflect the natural arch which would allow the shoulders to come up, the balance to be shifted more to the back and less over the shoulders of the horse, and the head to have freedom to lift and see. Instead, the shoulders are rounded down, there is a round look to the spine, the neck is lifted at a more acute and restricted position which, with the weight of the helmet puts pressure on the neck vertebrae, the shoulders are tilted down which limits the freedom of the arms, and the pelvis gets tucked under and forward causing that shift in the balance.

    This all happens because humans are structured to walk upright with the shoulders balanced over the hips and the ‘S’ curve of the spine gives support to that position while allowing the head to remain relativly free of jarring by putting some spring in the spine.

    This rider has a very slight ‘roach’ to the back but if you stand on the floor and try to match his position for a moment and get the feel of it with that slight roundness to the spine, then arch the back ever so slightly the other way you will find a distinctly different feel, more freedom in the shoulders and neck, and more space for the lungs. You will also find that when you un-tuck the pelvis it allows the hip angle to change and drops the hips closer to the saddle without interfering with the horse. You will also notice, if you hold the position for a minute, that it requires a lot of muscle. Most riders consider that they get plenty of exercise by riding the horse and don’t need specific exercises for themselves even though they work very hard to develop the musculature of their horse. However, both are part of the athletic team and can benefit from the development of the proper muscles to do the job.

    Please keep in mind that the roundness of this rider’s back is very slight compared to many and I only picked on it because everything else was so good.

    If you’re interested in some exercises to strengthen rider muscles a simple search on Google for ‘exercises for horse riders’ will probably bring up a list of sites you can visit for information.

    Liked by 1 person

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