Almost daily, I ride my bicycle 27 miles round trip to be with my horses. After attending Peggy's Oct clinic I decided to apply some of her horsemanship principles to riding a bicycle. What happened blew me away.
First, I started breathing into my lower back and allowed it relax. Pedaling became an unusual technique, I pretended to be pulling my feet from a boot on the upward cycle and merely relaxed my legs on the down cycle. I played with my center of gravity to find a dynamic that took weight off of my arms and hands, keeping my wrists soft but straight. Then I pretended with my upper body that I was walking through water. This gently opened and raised my chest and lowered my shoulders.
Then something amazing happened. My spine, on its own, telescoped! My neck and back released and went forward and up. It was an incredibly euphoric experience, it felt wonderful. So, I thought, is this what a horse feels when the spine is free?
There were other benefits. My legs were very free and I could go faster with less effort. When I arrived at my horses' pasture my neck, shoulders and back were relaxed which is not that typical as a bicycle rider.
Importantly, I was in a good place to interact with my horses. They noticed the difference. Apache is an older mustang with an abusive past. I do not ride him. He can be stand-offish. One day Apache and I were standing in the pasture in pouring rain. He wasn't too interested in the cheek press but instead just gave his head into my hands and made steady eye contact. This connection was so surprising and heartfelt that I didn't know what to do except to tell him that I loved him to the moon and back.