Noticing When You’re Collapsing in the Saddle

Noticing When You’re Collapsing in the Saddle

Noticing When You’re Collapsing in the Saddle

You can feel it when your horse ‘hollows’, right?  And I bet you can also feel it when your horse ‘grows a hand’ and begins to carry himself. There is either a feeling of contraction or expansion.  Okay, so because we agree on that, it makes sense that your horse can probably feel the same thing… Right?

And yet, so many riders fail to consider the knock on effects that collapsing in the saddle cause.  How, just like when your horse hollows, your collapsing affects the whole ride. 

When No-One is Watching

What I have noticed after working with thousands of riders is that how most ride when alone and how they ride when being watched or judged, are different.  And yet, study any truly successful* rider and you will only see consistency.  What they do in the ring before the crowd is the same as what they do back home in the arena on a bog-standard Tuesday.

*I personally believe success can mean something different to every rider.  To me, success as a rider is to have a deep relationship with a horse built on trust, respect, quality-focused time, and intention. 

So back to you… How do you ride when no one is watching?  What do you do when you notice someone is paying attention.  Or when you pay someone to judge, coach, train, or instruct you.  Still not sure?  Okay, imagine I’m going to stand in the arena with you on your next ride.  What’s the first thought that goes through your head?  That is usually a good indicator of how you will ‘change’ based on who is watching.

Collapsing in the Saddle Depends On…

Now, that all being said, a lot of riders find themselves somewhere in the middle.  They carry themselves ‘mostly’, but when pressure is applied, things can quickly become, well, a little ‘slouchy’!

Take the transition from trot to canter for example.  Many riders will carry themselves correctly right until the very moment that they ask for the canter… Only to collapse through the transition itself.  And, as you probably know, this is a crucial time where both horse and rider really need to take responsibility for their own body.

I see pressure as being any point in the conversation where a ‘bigger’ question is asked. More is required, from both horse and rider.

Another area that many riders, if they are going to collapse in the saddle, will do so is a downwards transition.  Let’s say from trot to walk.  Or walk to a halt.  They put so much effort into their riding before the transition, only to let it all fall apart at the crucial part.

Let’s See If You’re Collapsing In the Saddle

I thought it would be fun for you to test yourself on all of this.  Give it a go and rate yourself, so to speak!   So, I’ve created this week’s episode of the Daily Strides Podcast with the intention of helping you do just that.

I am going to help you discover where you might collapsing through your body.  This episode is created for you to listen to as you ride.  Of course, if you don’t want to do that, you can listen before you ride and then apply the principles to your riding.

However, I believe to get the most from this episode, give it a listen as your ride your horse.

I would then love to hear back from you… You can either email me lorna [at] stridesforsuccess [dot] com, or DM me on Instagram @stridesforsuccess or message the Strides for Success Facebook Page.

Tell me your experiences and, more importantly, what you are going to do going forward to stop ‘hollowing out’ on your horse during those crucial moments :)

Happy Riding

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