Understanding your frame and how you use it to influence your horses way of going; all starts with you.
Horse Scout Blogger has spent many happy moments trotting round the sitting room and to help you understand how you function will help you understand how your horse functions too.
Attending Yoga or Pilates or learning the Alexander Technique will give you good control of your body and help you become more aware of how you move and the relationship between easy movement and maximising your strong core and large muscle masses to your advantage.
The following are all ways of approaching your training and competitive riding with an understanding of how you function within your frame. This gives you a very clear overview of how a horse also functions. Your top half is the torso, shoulders, forelegs and head of your horse. Your pelvis down to the ground are your horses hindquarters and hind legs. As you do these exercises walk and move like a human but be “horse” in your head. Imagine the bulk of the horse but move like a human.
1. Relax and look up.
Central to all effective riding. If you are relaxed and working “In the moment” so will your horse be.
If you look up and forwards, so will your horse.
2. To Ride Forward On Straight Lines
Become conscious of how you walk. As you move forwards (not counting window shopping by the way!) where do you look. If you are looking at the floor, look up. Think about how you are walking. Are you using your core muscles? Are you moving from your hip? Are you utilising your largest group of muscles: your Gluteus muscles in your legs and seat. Do you limbs move in a relaxed way? Are you moving purposefully? Are your shoulders relaxed and facing in the direction in which you are looking/travelling? …So many questions!
3. Prepare For Transitions
Change your speed
Change your stride walk briskly, what changes? Walk slowly, again be conscious of your stance and the use of your frame.
Can you analyse what you do before you change pace?
Do you use the energy you produce as you place your foot on the floor to elevate your knee action.
Do you fall forwards when you stop quickly.
Learning to dance can really help with control and energises your approach to pace and energy.
4. Prepare For Turns
Change direction – what happened as you turned – what happened before you turned
Do you shift your weight away or over your pivotal leg.
Turn quickly and turn slowly, Think about where you place your weight and which groups of muscles you use to achieve a well executed turn and the difference in an unbalanced one.
5. Ride Good Circles
Walk in a circle, Take note of your body angles, weight distribution and the direction that you are looking and the direction of your shoulders.
6. Bend Correctly
What happens if you go in a circle with all your weight over your outside leg and your shoulders against the direction of travel? Correct yourself and feel the difference.
The more aware you are of how a body functions the more you will understand how your body influences the pace, balance, elevation, suppleness and power in your horses way of going. Try riding some horse movements without your horse. Imagine you are your horse and try lateral movements. What do you have to do with your body to achieve the correct cadence, direction and execution of the movement.
P.S. you can do this is the privacy of your home or be really adventurous and start a trend at your local equestrian centre/livery yard or even in Sainsbury’s…you never know it might be the next big thing like Bio Mechanics or Horse Fit!