Horsey Therapist

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

James Shaw and Milkweed

I spent the weekend in Massachusetts with my beloved Morgan mare, Fairlane Kacee, at a clinic with James Shaw who teaches Tai Chi for Equestrians. Fabulous. Fantastic. Changes in my body from two days of exercises on the ground and exercises in the saddle. I highly recommend him to everyone as I have yet to meet anyone whose strength and balance cannot be improved.

His website:

I was surprised by some of my imbalances.

I have been in the hay field again, finding new ways to pull milkweed with ever more ease and flow, incorporating ideas and experiences from the clinic with what I have learned from Aikido class and what I learn from living in my body.

Some lessons from this morning:

I found that I tended to grasp a plant, rotate my wrist to twist the plant, then sink back, bracing as I pulled using my weight rocked back.

Two hands cradling the stalk softly takes less effort than grabbing and pulling and is often more successful. New awareness about hands on reins: the different feels of grabbing versus grasping versus cradling.

Rotation during the uprooting adds to ease. Not just rotating my wrist after grasping the plant. Rotating my humorous bones, rotating my femurs, and rotating my lower back as I spiraled out, the plant coming with me.

The displaced bees accepted my suggestion to find nectar elsewhere in the field where I would not disturb them.

Milkweed growing in dry areas is harder to uproot.

My right side learns better biomechanics while working together with my left side.

My right shoulder doesn't hurt when I engage my back muscles for pulling, the muscles that hold the scapula and upper arm back, the ones that rotate the humorous.

If I never stopped to think about what I was doing, I would uproot milkweed with my left hand 90% of the time.

A plant uproots with greater ease when I am positioned so it is close to my center.

Having a learning focus made a rewarding adventure out of an otherwise tedious chore.


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