How much do you think a horse’s back moves?
If you have never done it before, grab hold of a small-ish horse (one you can walk next to with your hands placed on his/her back on each side of the spine). Get someone to lead the horse whilst you walk next to it with your hands placed on muscles exactly where the rider would sit (not far behind the wither). How much movement is there? Is it a forward movement? Is it a side – to – side movement? Up – and – down?
If you had a go please let me know 🙂
Next put your hand nearest to the horse flat on his/her spine as you both walk. How much are the vertebraes moving? would you say the movements could be described in mm or cm/inch?
Now it’s time to move towards the hips of the horse (only do this with a suitable horse that is used to being touched all over). Put your hand just on top of your horse’s point of hip (above the protruding part of the hip bone) – is horse’s pelvis moving more or less than his/her back?
You might conclude, that there is very little motion in actual back of the horse and much more in his/her pelvis. Your job as a rider is to replicate this in your own body.
The more athletic the horse is the more stable he is able to make his spine (through the use of deep abdominal muscles) and more controlled movements he is able to execute (through superior balance). As a rider, you work on eliminating the wobble through your upper body, on stabilising your own spine whilst allowing for great elasticity through your hip joints.
How can you start learning the feel for stability?