In 1733 F.R. de la Guérinière lamented that to bring out the beauty of our horse we need “an air of ease and freedom… a controlled yet supple posture...depth of seat” but riders weren’t working to achieve it.
And today? Despite knowledge of biomechanics and physiology elegance and control on a moving horse eludes many of us, Some riders don’t take the time to work on themselves. Others strengthen and stretch, yet they still struggle. Many think they just ride that way, they think they can’t improve. Some blame their horse for their struggles. Why?
At any age we can improve the way we move, balance, and sense our world. Every motion a person makes is a bundle of interconnected movements, thoughts, senses, and emotions. All of these elements can be improved, and it’s easier than you think.
To get better at a sport, top athletes address the whole. They practice the sport, they visualize themselves doing it well, they improve their awareness of their body and senses, they separate emotions from actions; they approach their sport holistically. In movement essential for good riding is the triad of:
and supple control.
What is skeletal balance? It’s the balance we all have that allows our skeleton to do the work of holding us up so our muscles are ready, without tension, to go to work. Imagine an ice skater, By balancing through her bones she can glide and spin on slippery ice, without loosing balance. When we are balanced through our skeleton we can use our muscles efficiently to both go with and influence our horse.
Core efficiency? Imagine the ice skater leaping into the air. She powerfully engages her core muscles, springs from her legs, and gracefully rises, with no extra effort. Good coordination of the muscles of the stomach, back, pelvic floor, and diaphragm gives power and control to movement, without wasting energy. On a horse it maintains our up right posture and allows us to have easy, supple control of our arms and legs.
And supple control? When we are strong and supple we can move with ease and freedom even while engaging our muscles powerfully. The ice skater exhibits this as she glides on one leg with arms gracefully lifted. When the skater’s partner lifts her with graceful, controlled movements they are both exhibiting skeletal balance, core efficiency, and supple control. On a horse we have it when our hands are steady and able to follow the horse’s motion and give aids and when our legs give aids without disrupting our seat.
So, how do you obtain these habits of movement that lead to graceful partnership with your horse? How do you know when you have it? You address your whole self. Often programs focus on problems, not on the whole moving, thinking, sensing, feeling person.
Begin by remembering that many of your movement patterns are not you, they are your habits. Because your brain seeks balance and coordination, it wants to change poor habits. People may try to convince you that you can’t become a better rider. You are who you are, an amateur, or you wouldn’t be stuck at 1st level. They say you don’t ride enough, you’re too old, or “feel” can’t be developed. In reality? What you believe about how you move has a lot to do with how you actually move. You can improve strength, flexibility, and balance at any stage in life. My clinics and workshops help you develop balance, efficient use of muscles, and control.
And feel? Feel is your sense of your environment (the horse) and your reactions to it, and yes, it can be honed. It is your ability to respond to sensory information from the horse. Response to sensory information can improve when you develop and improve your awareness of where you are in space, your movement, and balance.
Today, begin to visualize yourself balanced through your skeleton, with well coordinated core muscles, and supple control.
In my Sit The Trot! clinics you will learn to sense yourself and your horse, to improve your response. You’ll develop your skeletal balance, discover true core efficiency, coordination and control of your body. You’ll learn to sit deeply, in a supple posture with freedom to use your arms and legs for light precise aids. My clinics help you bring out the beauty and brilliance in your horse and in yourself. Contact me for more info SitTheTrot.com