Covid Muscle Memory Loss

I started back this week after two months off from riding. At the age of 70 that isn’t an inconsequential amount of time. I’ve been keeping fit with Eldergym online classes and brisk one hour walks with my husband and our little dog every afternoon. So how did it go this week? My endurance fitness is good and I didn’t have any body parts that complained. But there was one crucial thing missing. I had lost part of my seat.

If you are not a rider you may be wondering what I am talking about but for riders the seat important. For dressage riders it is essential that you ride with an independent seat.This means you are not using your hands on the reins to balance or gripping with your thighs to stay on the horse.

Wednesday I was doing some work, to prepare for my Friday lesson, and did a medium trot across the diagonal. Biasini has been well tuned up by my coach Belinda Trussell, as soon as I asked for that medium trot he responded with a nice elevated trot. “This is nice,” I thought. Then after I had passed X in the center of the arena things fell apart. “Good Lord! I’m bouncing! Bouncing!” I realized that I had lost the open hips needed to be able to move with Biasini in his bigger trot. He does have a lovely big trot but it is not hard to sit to. It was not his fault I was bouncing. I knew exactly what I would have to do to get my hips looser and more open.

Riding without stirrups. I think I knew that even before I got back to riding. It was inevitable really.

At the start of my Friday lesson I told Belinda I needed to do some no stirrups work. I did specify that about five minutes would be good. Once we were warmed up we started no stirrups at sitting trot. Mercifully Belinda did not make me do it for too long. It felt like half an hour but it was probably only 7 minutes.

I took my stirrups back and we worked on reviewing basics. At the end of the lesson Belinda told me I had not lost ground during my Covid time off. I was picking up right where I had left off. That made me feel that the Eldergym and the walking had helped. The only thing my body had forgotten was how to keep my seat with flexibility.

I shall be doing no stirrups work every ride from now on.

22 Comments Add yours

  1. I remember bouncing and felt I had a trampoline rather than a saddle!! No stirrups also was the working cure. Your post brought back memories. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks for your comment. It is always good to know I’m not alone.😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tina Schell says:

    I’m sure it will come back to you sooner than you think Anne. Good for you for recognizing it so immediately and knowing what you needed to do to fix it. Keep at it, you’ll be 100% before you know it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I hope so Tina..Thanks for the encouragement!

      Like

  3. I’ve ridden in the past but not nearly at your level, Anne. Your whole lower body must be in fantastic shape despite our current Covid exercise plan. Walking daily isn’t enough for me either, and just these few weeks of not much strength training on my part is showing in upper arm flab! I’m sure Biasini was happy to see you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think he was happy to see me
      I was certainly happy to see him!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. aghisla says:

    I admire your positive attitude! You are able to see the next step and get support. Keep us posted with updates about your riding, and I’m curious to hear Biasini’s impressions too πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you so much. I appreciate your comment and I will post updates. Biasini will be speaking too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Emma Cownie says:

    I never knew what “seat” was. You have my sympathy, losing yours.I am glad to see you are well on the way to getting it back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Haha! Yes the rider’s seat. In dressage,since we are sitting all the time ,it is pretty important. I hope your injury is better and you can get out a bit more.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. David says:

    Back on the saddle, you must be in seventh heaven. I trust it won’t take you long to get back into the swing of things.

    My daughters had done a video podcast for the other members of the riding club (the home barn) about staying in shape through exercise during the stay-at-home period. They also did a separate podcast about staying with whatever nutritional program they may be doing. The whole point is when they return to riding, they wouldn’t be out of shape or carrying extra weight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That is very sensible of them. I have not gained any weight and my stamina is good but my hips have tightened up
      I have had both hips replaced so they are not as flexible. However if I did not have new hip joints I would be in a wheel chair and not riding at all. So it’s a small price to pay. A couple of weeks with no stirrups work every ride and it will be good.

      Like

  7. That says something to me, no matter about the age, life always starts new πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I find that riding is something that keeps me younger than my age.😁

      Like

  8. No stirrup November in May….woohoo!!!!
    Welcome Back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      November can be a cold month in Ontario so not the best time for no stirrups. But warm weather helps me be looser. Thanks for commenting!πŸ˜ƒ

      Like

  9. You are back ..that is the important part…the muscle memory will return.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it will. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. dprastka says:

    Good job staying as fit as you could during the stay at home!! Yes, there is just so much you can do but you’ll get your seat back fast!! Reading you had a lesson is like a breath of fresh air! A little bit of normal is coming back, albite slowly!! Happy riding! With and without stirrups! πŸ₯°πŸŽπŸ΄β€οΈ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Diana. It has done me good to be able to ride this past week. And the lesson with Belinda reminded me of what a taskmaster she is! Whew! But I am honored that she thinks I am worth the effort to push me to be better.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Going back to β€œnormal” πŸŽπŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  12. cagedunn says:

    Nothing can do that seat for you except riding. We don’t walk with open hips (maybe cowboys do) so it’s the first thing to suffer.
    Good luck and I’m glad you’re back in the seat.

    Liked by 1 person

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