Questions to Help You Reveal Your Torso Twist and Other Alignment Problems


Are you right or left handed? Which way do you habitually throw the contents of a shovel or pitchfork – to the right or to the left? This will give you a hint of which way you are twisted through your torso. Now, which circle is easier and which harder for you and your horse to ride? Which canter lead is easier or harder for you to get and to ride? Is there a connection among these things for you? Tell me what your answers are. 🙂

When standing next to a counter or a table and you think you’re standing square to it, look down your body and notice if your hips are equidistant to the edge of the counter top or table top.  Check your feet.  Are they equidistant to the edge?  Do the toes point in the same (straight forward) direction or are they pointed in or out?  Are they they same?  Are they in line with the hips – are they offset the same as the hips or in the other direction?  Look at your thighs – what about them.  Try to get an idea about your chest.  You should be able to tell if your chest is equidistant to the edge of the counter top.

Be aware that you could have several twists going on:  the feet, thighs, hips, lower rib cage, upper rib cage, and shoulders all could be going different directions.  Then there’s your head.  Which way is it twisted?  Look in the mirror or have a friend look at you.  Imagine a plumb line in front of your face.  Does it bisect your forehead, nose, mouth, chin, and the V in your neck where your clavicles (collarbones) come together?

When sitting, which way do you cross your legs at the knee – right over left or left over right?  Do you sit on one foot? Do you realize what this does to your riding?  Both of these maneuvers hike one hip higher than the other.  Can you guess or figure out which hip is going to be higher?  What does this do to your riding?  If you sit on your left foot, that’s going to hike your right hip.  Can you feel your right sitz bone when you ride or do you have trouble with that?  Does your horse have trouble with turning right or doing left-lead canter departs if your right hip is high?

Which leg do you like to stand on and which one do you rest?  What does this do to your hips?  Are they level when you do this?

Do you habitually lean on one elbow versus the other?  How do you hold the phone?  With which hand?  Does your head tilt?  Do you try to hold the phone with your shoulder?  What does this do to your overall balance?  What’s trying to compensate?  What collapses and what stretches?  How do all these things affect your riding?

Do you carry a purse or laptop on one shoulder?  Do you hike that shoulder up or cave in on that side (away from the weight) to hold the strap on?  How does this imbalance affect your ribcage?  Your pelvis?  Your riding?

If you clasp your hands, which thumb is on top?  What happens if you switch all your fingers so the other thumb is on top?


About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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9 Responses to Questions to Help You Reveal Your Torso Twist and Other Alignment Problems

  1. I love this post – Not a “rider”, but I’ve been steadily shrinking for the last 10 years and KNOW I have poor posture and standing habits. Been trying to remember to sit up straight – but old habits are hard to break…any tips for breaking the old “slouch” habit?

    • Thank you for the kind comments. You might find what you’re looking for in the article entitled “Straighten Up!” The most concise answer is to lift your breast bone as often as possible – like every ten seconds! Seriously, if you sit a lot, say, at the computer, set a timer for five, ten, or fifteen minutes. Every time it goes off, straighten up and reset the timer. Even if you only do with four times an hour, that’s better than zero!

      One of the things that helped me, was seeing a photo of myself slouching! Ugh! I decided to fix my posture right away. So you might try pinning up a photo of yourself slouching and setting a goal of standing and sitting taller and straighter for the next week or month. Then take another photo to compare. That way you can see your progress. I hope that helps! Thanks again.

  2. This made me think a lot. I got a massage this week and my tightest, achiest muscles were in my hips. I have been stretching them, consciously, ever since but I think your article may be pointing to another solution. I don’t ride horses AND the information is still high quality!

    I am glad I found you today through the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

  3. What a great article Laurie. I’ve been focusing on all these things trying to put my body back into alignment. I don’t go to pilates right now, but thank goodness for chiropractors. I love that you are doing remote training.

    • Julia, thanks for kind comments. Chiropractors are great! I don’t think I could live without them. Good luck to you on regaining spinal alignment and good health! 🙂

  4. Interesting. I think about posture and stress on the body and stretching, but never thought about the things I do naturally that may need to be compensated for.

    • It is interesting, isn’t it? The things we take for granted and not realizing the consequences. We all develop one-sidedness, but eventually that takes its toll.

      Good luck to you in finding better balance, posture, and health.

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