Photo 1. Good posture either on the ground or
on the horse starts with a good alignment. A vertical line dropped down
from the ear goes through the shoulder, hip and heel. The shoulders are
relaxed and down, the pelvis is in a neutral (vertical) position, and the
legs are under us. When the body is in good alignment, we need a minimum
effort to stay or sit upright. Because we have to keep our balance
on the moving horse (which is a task in itself), we do not want to do
any extra work.
Photo 2. Pelvis should be in a neutral (vertical)
position. If you
look at the bottom part of the pelvis, there is a flattened area
between the front (pubic bone) and back (seatbones) parts. It has a boat-like
shape. When we are in a saddle
and the saddle fits us well, we sit on this flattened part of the pelvis.
A well-fitted saddle is very important. Look how the bottom of the pelvic bone
rises slightly in front, very much like our saddles do.
Photo 3. A chair seat is a very common mistake. It starts with
the pelvis rotated backwards. As a result, the rider
sits mostly on the back part of the pelvis, on the seatbones. If you
like to round your lower back and
rotate your pelvis backwards when you sit in a chair, you are likely to have that problem
in the saddle.
Photo 4. A fork seat is another common mistake.
It starts with the pelvis rotated forward. The rider sits mostly on the
front of the pelvis (pubic bone). If you like to rotate your pelvis
forward and arch your lower back
when you sit (this is especially common in women)
you may sit that way on a horse.
Both of these situations create
instability, discomfort and extra muscle work to keep you upright and
in the saddle.
Maintaining the neutral position of a pelvic bone is not as easy as
it sounds. Click here
which will teach you to recognize the neutral position.
To stabilize the pelvis in the neutral
position on the ground or on a moving horse
you will need core (abdominal) strength
To keep our own balance we have to have a base of support
under our center of gravity. Imagine you are sitting on the edge of a
hard chair ready to stand up at any moment. Where would your feet be,
in front of you or under you? Likewise, to be balanced on
the horse you need to have your feet under you. You may argue that the saddle
is your base of support and you do not need your legs under you.
The saddle is moving and is not a very good base of support. If you stick your legs
too much forward you will be completely at
the mercy of your horse's movement, like a dead weight. If you put them too much back
you will simply topple forward and
sit on your crotch (which is uncomfortable by itself), and again at
the mercy of your horse's movement. Having the
legs under you is also neccessary to efficiently use thigh muscles during riding.
I explain this on the Thighs
Be careful not to push into the stirrups, it will
inevitably bring your lower leg forward and you into a chair seat.
Do not actively lower your heels because you will lock your ankle
joints and push the legs forward even if you are trying not to.
Irina Yastrebova, Riding Instructor and