Tag Archives: posture

Riding Posture vs. Riding Mindset

kate d
Rider on Aspire training course learning about the amount of tension she has in her upper body and shoulders even when just lunging her horse. Increasing body awareness is fun and allows the rider to address their effectiveness not only in lesson environment but most of all, when they ride on their own or compete. Photo credit: Jon Smith

A really insightful comment left under my Riding Emotions.. post has made me think about expanding on the subject of riding posture vs rider’s mindset…The comment said:

What I’m learning more and more is that rider’s emotions quite often tie hand in hand with their posture and body language in the saddle. Improve their mindset, and their position improves- and sometimes even vice versa- as many frustrations can be caused by those pesky bad habits. Horses can no doubt read our minds- but they can for sure read our bodies. Position biomechanics, thought process, and resulting performance are all within the same dynamic process.

By Kathma of www.katmah.wordpress.com/training

Controlling the controllable 

You see, the reason I focus 80% of my teaching efforts on the rider and about 20% on the horse is that, from my experience and observations of thousands of grassroots riders out there, it is the second relation (improved posture = improved mindset = improved performance) that provides the key to sustainable improvement.

As discussed in the comments to the other post, every person comes to this sport/recreation with own set of prejudices, worries, beliefs etc and to address them well might not be possible. Posture or rider’s seat on the other hand, is what all good instructors can teach and control. Sometimes it takes a long time – many years – to achieve lasting postural changes in the saddle but I learnt to never underestimate what effective, balanced, sympathetic seat skill can do to rider’s confidence and emotional control in and out of the saddle…

Understanding movement

It is a well known fact that both adults and children learn best when having fun. It doesn’t have to be a laugh-out-loud type of fun but when something makes you smile, you are bound to remember how it made you feel…Riding training that focuses on improving understanding of the rider’s and horse’s movement rather than just “making moves happen” builds rider’s confidence almost imperceptibly.

posture collage
Understanding meaning of posture and crookedness in rider and horse…simple but very effective exercises that make you think and never forget 🙂 Riders at Aspire Grassroots clinics at Charlton Village Stables, London (left) and Lindrick Livery, North Yorks (right). Photo credits: Bella Giles Smith (left) and Pure Essence Photography (right)

Understanding posture

Could it really be that by sitting in a certain way we can become more confident riders? Could it be that simply the way we sit instils confidence and quality of movement in our horse? And if so, how much focus on our own training need we have alongside our focus on our horse’s way of going?

From my experience, I could describe the answers like this: if I sit on a horse and correct him by 80%, his rider can correct/improve themselves and the horse by 20% (not always in absence of trainer). However, if I establish a 20% correction in the rider, they themselves can achieve a much more positive mindset and the relative 80% improvement in the horse…(also when riding independently).

Do you teach grassroots (non-professional) riders? What are your experiences? How much attention do you pay to rider’s technical and feel abilities vs horse’s way of going? Are you a rider taking lessons? How much of your lesson content with your trainer(s) is focused on you and how much on your horse? Do you think it matters?

Click on image below to watch an interesting talk 🙂

body vs mind

The Aspire Weekend Challenge: Comments on Helen and Bella’s Video Blog. Improving sitting trot.

Hello Helen!

It’s a pleasure to help you and I hope you will find my thoughts useful. Congratulations on entering the challenge too 🙂 My reason for doing the bloggers challenge in this format is so we can all learn from each other. Analysing issues of different riders on different horses is very beneficial for instructors too so I include myself in learners department also.

Let’s have a look and try to help Helen and her lovely mare. I love Bella’s elevation in passagey trot, definitely a talent there! She looks in a great condition, very relaxed and content.

Helen entered Aspire’s monthly virtual coaching challenge on improving your riding and said: “I would be very grateful if you would take a look at some of this sitting trot, especially in the lateral movements. I know I tend to lose the independent, unilateral movement of my seat bones and block her as soon as I ask for sideways movement – too much else to think about and trying too hard! Bella and I have found a big trot together which feels wonderful! I feel if I lose some weight from my ‘top half’ I will be able to sit it better but keeping the big trot and performing lateral movements is definitely a challenge for me! Thank you very much for any help you can give poor Bella to get me up to scratch and worthy of her, and I really do mean that!” She added a video of the issue she would like to improve which you can find on her blog: http://bellaandrico.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/aspire-equestrian-virtual-training.html

PROBLEM ANALYSIS using still frames from the video

I see a few things that stop you from feeling balanced on Bella’s back in lateral work so we will look at those first and then move on to how to work on them. I suggest they are addressed first before moving onto more consistent ability to join Bella’s back motion in trot.

Helen and Bella 1
THREE ISSUES I WOULD SUGGEST WORKING ON BEFORE GETTING TO THE ACTUAL “SITTING MORE CONSISTENTLY” STAGE: UPPER BODY STABILITY AND SYMMETRY, BELLA’S NECK AND SHOULDER POSITION IN LEG-YIELD, YOUR INSIDE LEG POSITION

Continue reading The Aspire Weekend Challenge: Comments on Helen and Bella’s Video Blog. Improving sitting trot.