Lead and follow. Connection. Balance.
Lead and follow. Connection. Balance.
Body position influences your horse whether standing still or moving. Correct posture is a basic skill ALL riders must master in order to progress up the riding tree. Unless you correctly position your own body, you cannot expect your horse to use its body correctly.
COMMON PROBLEMS IN THE SADDLE
If you could view yourself from the side when sitting in the saddle, a vertical plumb line should go through the middle of your ear, through the middle of your shoulder, hip and heel.
If your horse were to magically disappear, and your feet were on the ground, you should be to balance yourself - not land on your butt or fall forward on your face.
When in the saddle, glance down and if you see your foot then your leg is too far forward. You are in a chair seat, tail bone tucked under. This puts you behind your horse's motion.
On the other hand, many riders tip forward using the horse for balance. This puts the horse on their forehand. Your body motion is in front of your horse's motion.
One knee (or both) should not 'creep' up the saddle. This can result in rider hip pain for both you and your horse.
If you are crooked, so is your horse. If you experience pain when riding, your horse also is feeling the pain. They can feel a fly land on their back so your weight is very influential.
Your mid-section should be lifted and firm so that your pelvis and hips can move freely and independently from your torso, head, and hands.
With a straight spine and toned abdominals, your pelvis can tip up and forward to set the rhythm. Correct riding begins in YOUR core and sets the tempo for the horse, regardless of what gait.
Your shoulders must stay directly over your hips in order for you to be balanced over your horse and able to follow his movements.
You should feel equal pressure on each seat bone. Sitting like you are on a sofa is NOT CORRECT. You are putting too much pressure on the cantle of the saddle.
Conversely, riding too far forward causes your upper back and head to be too far in front of vertical. The horse must scramble to balance himself under your front end load. Correct seat position allows for correct horse influence.
Your torso should remain perpendicular to the ground, not tipping forward or back. Nor should you be heavier on one side than the other.
Why is it so difficult to sit correctly?
Think about how you sit and stand everyday. This is your go-to place.
Most of us slouch.
Why should sitting in a saddle be any different? Except the horse is moving.
Here is an article on how to assess your posture. click
You CAN change your posture and this will help you to ride better and make your horse happier.
For goodness sake, wear a helmet!
TIPS TO HELP
If Your Ride Too Far Forward
Possibly your chest muscles are stronger than your back muscles causing your spine to round forward.
Strengthen your lats, lower traps, teres and triceps muscles. Stretch your pecs. Roll your shoulders back and down. Also, pull your head back and lengthen your neck muscles.
If you have too much arch in your lumbar area, possibly your hip flexors are too tight.
If You Ride Too Far Back
Possibly your abdominal and lumbar muscles are too weak to properly hold your torso upright.
You may be sitting on your tailbone putting too much weight on your horse's thoraco-lumbar area - on top of the kidneys. Your horse will be back sore.
Work on strengthening your core and glute muscles and practice sitting squarely on your seat bones.
It is often difficult to know if you are sitting crooked in the saddle. One of your shoulders may be higher than the other, or your torso may be rotated pr collapsed on one side. This creates problems for your horse like having difficulty getting the right lead. One-sided stiffness blocks the horse from being able to bend through his rib cage.
On the ground, check your stirrup length. If one is longer than the other, you are riding crooked. Consider how much continuous load must be present on the stirrup leather, to stretch it out.
PurePosture can help you sit correctly in the saddle allowing you to follow the motion. This one-of-a-kind device aligns the spine, increases flexibility and helps solve neck and back pain. It is ease to use, safe and fast. Most important, its effective. Check it out today!