Why most of the riding world doesn't know about the psoas muscles.
Most experienced riders use their psoas muscles without being aware of it. It has been my observation that for advanced riders, conscious awareness of where these muscles are and how they function can lead to further refinement not possible through unconscious use. The following exercise shows how we unconsciously process information.
Read the following text:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE RE-
SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC
STUDY COMBINED WITH THE
EXPERIENCE OF YEARS
Count the number of F’s in the above text before reading further. How many F’s did you count?
Most people initially count three F’s. One each in finished, files and scientific.
However, there are actually a total of six F’s. The brain unconsciously processes the word of so most of us do not see the three additional F’s. We can read and understand the meaning of the text, yet we are not conscious of the F’s. This is what I call unconscious competence.
The same phenomenon happens with riding instructors and experienced riders when they describe how they use their bodies to ride, since most are using their psoas muscles unconsciously. When they make statements such as; sit deep in the saddle, keep your heels down, or sit up straight, they are specifically describing what they do with their own bodies, but they actually use their bodies differently than their students.
It is important for inexperienced riders to practice using their bodies correctly both on and off the horse. The correct use of novice riders’ bodies will facilitate the speed at which they progress. This can also save unnecessary stress on the horses they ride.