Stretching Truths

Hiliary came with me on Lesson #20 to take photos.  H is a Physical Therapy Assistant and whenever I complain about being sore after a lesson, she says things like:

“You should work your bi-deltoids and interior flexors more. And if you’re going to ride horses, you need to stretch out your maximal incisors of the upper tarsal. And don’t bounce.”

So before we left the house for Lesson #20, I asked her about stretching again. I wanted to behave responsibly.

Groan. Sigh. Groan again.

Hiliary got to our house a few minutes early and planted herself on the couch in the Semi-Fetal It’s Too Early For Conscious Thought position. I had been scrambling around the house, getting ready for my lesson, having already eaten two breakfasts, posted on the blog and downed four cups of coffee.  I had been up for three hours.

“C’mon H.  C’mon. Just show me a couple of things. Just five minutes…”

Hiliary pushed herself up off the couch and cupped her forehead in her hand.

“Oh… all right… all right.”

She spent the next ten minutes demonstrating basic stretching exercises, reminding me each time not to bounce.

I’m not sure why I bounce when I stretch. I think maybe it’s because it seems unnatural to me to take all the trouble getting into a position and then not do anything. Or maybe it was the four cups of coffee.

When we got to the barn, we resumed stretching. I tried to remember not to bounce and did my best to hold the position for an appropriate amount of time.

Karin saw what we were doing and, as instructors are wont to do, took advantage of the teaching moment.

“Here, use this.” Karin pointed to a mounting block near her barn desk. Then she demonstrated a different sequence of stretching, but no doubt going after those same interior bi-upper flexors Hiliary had been talking about. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Although, it’s never been entirely clear to me why you even need one.

Karin pulled out her balancing board. “Have you been using this?”

“As a matter of fact, I haven’t, Karin.”

“Didn’t you read the book I gave you?”  She was referring to Ride Right with Daniel Stewart.  Apparently balancing board exercises are in this book. How could I explain to her why Bubba to the Rescue took priority over Daniel Stewart?

“Yes, I’ve started it.”

“You’ve read a quarter of a page, probably.”

Actually, that was a little generous. I haven’t gotten past looking at the photos of the people yet. I get a little distracted, wondering who these people are and what’s happened to them since the picture was taken. I hope they’re all okay.

Anyway, we worked on the balance board for a bit. I sort of like it. Karin threw stuff at me while I was on there.

There was nothing systematic about any of this. Nothing like a list of things that I could use as a routine part of my program.  Maybe I’ll get that from Daniel Stewart’s book.

But I tell you what: it was enough. For the first time since I started riding last June, I was not sore after my lesson.  And I wasn’t sore the day after my lesson. Nor the day after the day after.

This stuff really works.

Next time, I’ll tell you about Lesson #20. It was a good one.

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4 thoughts on “Stretching Truths

  1. What is it with men and stretching?! They are so reluctant! I’m going to consult with Dave Barry (Author of ‘Dave Barry’s Guide to Guys’, THE definitive guide to understanding why guys are impossible to understand) on this!

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