Horses only do what we ask them to do.
Horses do not know our agenda, or what it means
to carry us in balance. The horse only
reacts to our actions, our weight and our balance.
In the TV reality series "Amazing Race" contestants
had to ride horses in Argentina. A woman didn't know how to ride
and was swaying all over the place in the saddle. Her horse
tried to catch her, moving under her left and right, which of course
unseated this woman so badly she started falling, caught her horse
with reins, and caused him to rear. The woman fell down
and everybody thought that the horse was acting up. This is an
extreme case of a horse's reaction to our lack of balance. However,
to some extent, this happens to all of us. We lose our balance,
we give confusing aids, we use reins to keep us in the saddle
and we expect our horses to deal with all that and to figure out
what we want. The most amazing thing is that horses do figure out
what we ask them to do. Unfortunately for them, they do this very well leaving
us to believe that we are in control and know what we are doing.
I don't like the phrase "to sit" when I talk about rider on a horse.
To sit is to relax, to give up your weight and balance.
This is the last thing you want to do on a horse - to give up your
balance, to become loose and floppy. We are not passengers
on our horses. We do not relax and follow their movement. In this partnership,
we must play a leading role.
A horse can give us a movement, an energy
but we have to shape the movement, we have to direct the energy.
Consider these important facts about a rider's posture:
- 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.
for more detailed explanation and pictures.
- We often
hear that riders should relax and absorb the movement of their horses through the
middle. Read these
and decide for yourself if this is a correct way to approach riding.
- Most of the
horse's movement must be absorbed by our hip joints. If the hips are locked,
all the movements of the horse's back get transfered to our spine. Click here
There is almost no talk about the role of the thighs in riding. Few fragments of
information here and there. The only exception is Mary Wanless'
"Ride With Your Mind"
approach. The way of using our thighs in riding was my biggest discovery of all. After I
understood that concept everything else just fell into place by itself.
for a complete story.
all have it. It begins with the position of fetus in the womb and continues through
out our life (right/left handedness,
habits, active or sedentary life style, posture etc.). When you know your imbalances,
you can work toward minimizing their effects on your riding.
Irina Yastrebova, Riding Instructor and