How to Perfect your Riding Position
Throughout these six decades, we have learned a few things about horse riding and the proper etiquette for riding in competitions. The truth is that very few riders have a perfect position and you will see a variety of riding techniques every time you attend a show. Often a fault can become a habit which makes it harder to correct as time goes by. It is a worthwhile exercise spending a bit more time focusing on what is going wrong until the right way becomes your new normal.
Four Rider Issues with an Easy Fix
Here are four common issues riders struggle with and how you can fix them.
1. Don’t Look Down – While concentrating on what you are doing in the saddle it can be hard to remember to look ahead. Your head is roughly 10% of your body weight and looking down puts more weight on your horse’s forehand that makes it more difficult for them to maintain balance. One way to rectify this issue is tying a coloured bow or a red ribbon in your horse’s mane and every time you see the ribbon it means you are looking down; which reminds you to look ahead.
2. Sit Up – Tipping forward is sometimes caused by nerves, a poorly fitted saddle or a lack of core stability. You can improve your core by doing Pilates and yoga plus lunge lessons, short bursts of sitting trot and working without stirrups also helps. To adopt a more upright position, lift up through your ribcage and bring your shoulder blades closer together. A common trait of nervous riders is that they tip forward, which makes you less secure. If you suspect your saddle is tipping you forward, you need to get it checked by a professional fitter.
3. Bend Your Elbows – Straight arms result in an inconsistent contact with the horse’s mouth and in too much movement in the rider’s hands. We recommend aiming to create an L-shape with your arms so the upper one hangs vertically by your side and your lower arm points toward the horse’s mouth. Some useful exercises include keeping the correct position without holding reins, riding with the arms hanging loosely by your sides and circling backwards with the arms (one at a time).
4. Sit Straight – People who are stronger on one side of their body can also be crooked in the saddle. Having a series of lunge lessons is an effective way to resolve the issue. Keep your upper body tall to stop you collapsing through one hip and when you ride a turn, make sure you turn your upper body rather than leaning over to one side. Your saddle may also be causing this issue, so we would recommend getting that checked too.
While making sure you are in the best riding condition it is important not to forget about your horse’s health.
One of the best ways to keep them happy and comfortable is by investing in high-quality equine bedding from P.H Winterton.