Firstly, we should understand that everything we do on a horse is similar to what we do on the ground. We can move forwards, backwards, sideways, stop, run and skip (our version of the horses canter). We should be able to apply what we naturally do on the ground when we are mounted, provided we have good posture and a correct, classical, seat.
Riders should be encouraged to understand their own balance, discovering the benefits of good posture; for preservation, absorption of movement, more control over thier own body which conserves energy and uses the body effectively. Realising the benefits on the ground will help the rider to apply these when mounted, to benefit themselves and their horse. A rider in good posture and balance will encourage a horse in good posture and will be able to influence balance. Riding in an incorrect position will have a damaging effect on the rider’s body and the horses; it will affect the horse’s way of going and their willingness to work.
Consider what our body and posture has to cope with when on the ground and also when on the horse. We not only have to support ourselves and our athletic movement, we also need to be able to effectively absorb the horse’s movement up through our seat and spine. An incorrect position will lead to an unbalanced, insecure, ineffective rider with back problems and an unhappy, unwilling, hollow horse with back pain.
Focussing on ourselves on the ground, we can begin to discover how we use our own bodies. Do we walk from our knees or do we use our hips to walk? Which way do we find it harder to walk a circle? Do we walk with rounded shoulders, looking down at the floor or do we walk proudly? All these, no matter how subtle, will influence how you are able to effectively communicate with your horse in the saddle. Through taking the time to understand your own body on the ground, you can begin to improve what you find difficult, stretch muscles that have become restricted, improve posture and reduce aches and injury to your body. Movement will become freer, easier, discovering greater control over your own body so you are able to aid and influence your horse effectively, working in harmony together.
Through exploring movements on the ground and creating a better body awareness, you will begin to collect a ‘library of feels’ to transpose into the saddle. Everything will become clearer and easier to perform for both you and your horse. Your knowledge and understanding of movements will be greatly enhanced because you have taken the time to study them on the ground first.
I hold workshops local to me and dates can be found on my events page. If you are interested in attending or holding an unmounted workshop, please contact me. I am also happy to hold one to one or small group workshops where they can be more focussed to the individual – ideal for those winter days where riding isn’t possible!